Neil Harding Says Something Sensible Shocker!

Yes, really:

David Cameron has today moved the Tories back onto their familiar core territory with a pledge to cut the number of pensioners in the country.

He said \’while there is nothing wrong with pensioners per se. – we do need to cut the net increase\’. He said \’it is recognised they are by far the biggest drain on housing, energy, the NHS and other core public services\’.

Cameron is proposing a cull of numbers to the dismay of Labour, which has called the cull \’unethical\’.

Indeed, it would be a very good idea indeed to cut the number of pensioners. The way we should do it is by raising the pension age. The State pension was, at the outset, a system of social insurance. It was insurance against outliving your weatlh. As such it was set at roughly the expected lifespan. Everyone paid in and roughly half got the pension and roughly half didn\’t. That\’s what insurance means, that you protect yourself against an unexpected event.

The old age pension now is social assurance. Expected life spans are 12-20 (depends whether you\’re male or female) years longer than the pension age. So everyone expects to get it. This is no longer insurance, as we all expect to live to such ages.

The answer is thus to return the system to what it was: the pension age becomes the average age of death of that age cohort (although for practical reasons you\’d actually make it the average life span of the previous age cohort).

The very basic idea here has indeed seeped into the political consciousness, as the pension age is at least being talked about as something to raise.

Unfortunately, Neil meant his comments as satire. Pity really, isn\’t it, that he\’s only sensible when he thinks he\’s making a joke?

5 comments on “Neil Harding Says Something Sensible Shocker!

  1. Proposing an increase in the pension age is probably more electorally damaging than actually proposing a cull. As it happens I think you are right that the pension age will have to rise – whether that is a good thing or not, I am not sure. Well off people get the most payments from pensions (because they live longer), it is unlikely parties will want to damage their ‘middle England’ vote. I recall the pension age is set to rise to 68 in the future anyway, is that correct?

    Tim adds: Correct, to 68….although it ought to be more like 73 for men and 76 for women.

  2. One of the problems with increasing the pension age (and I agree with Neil – it’s a brave move politically, because old people all vote, and all want their taxpayer-funded handouts) is that modern old people spend longer being, well, old.

    It is not uncommon for people to be sufficiently infirm not to be able to hold down a job at age 65, and to have not died until 85 or 90. Diddling the pension age doesn’t solve the fundamental problem here – we’ve increased the average lifespan without really increasing the average healthy-enough-to-work span to match.

  3. Pingback: Raising the pension age: Hurrah!

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