We have seen many plays in the past and present, where some are so short sighted on getting their own margins set, that they seem to be in short supply of common sense. Where is this coming from?
I remember issues evolving in 1997 that politicians did not heed the words of people in the know when it comes to the issues of retirement. It was stated within the corridors of those who work there that the retirement funds were not getting enough money to build the buffers needed for that generation to enter retirement. Those words were ignored by those who could do something about that.
It was not until the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics warned of the upcoming dangers of shortages in retirement funds a year later. (Source: http://www.cbs.nl/nl-NL/menu/themas/arbeid-sociale-zekerheid/publicaties/artikelen/archief/1998/1998-0129-wm1.htm ) This specific article warns the reader that the amount of people going into retirement up to 2015 will drastically increase as this will be the time frame where the baby boomers will go into retirement. Other documents gave the same warning. There was even additional warning that the group that follows was a lot smaller, as such the then current non-retiring population would not be growing the retirement funds to the degree it needs to grow. The consequence would be that the funds would grow dry really fast.
In addition, this was all before the crashes of 2004, so the reality was even grimmer then most thought it to be. That reality became truth as the retirement funds started to pay less in 2011. Whatever the reason that got voiced by those involved, in the end it was about an increasing lack of retirement buffers. Now, today (OK, yesterday), advertisements by groups like the FNV (Dutch Union of workers) is warning people about the dangers to retirements. Why?
Political parties are now in the mindset to lower retirement payments by people. They are hoping that fewer costs mean more income into the streets. Also, as retirement payments are not taxable, lowering the tax deductibility will result in more taxation entering the coffers of government. So, there is now a clear impression that certain people in government are really willing to betray those who need retirement later on and base that risk on the ‘I need to look good now’ option.
Am I exaggerating? Is it about their view, their look? That is a fair question, yet messing around with long term pension building, not just the basic fear that people might end up with no more than 55% of their retirement funds is a dangerous act. This is not even taking into consideration dangers of additional future bank and investment failings where the buffers are currently still way too small and too much danger is placed upon funds that needs to feed a generation is just short sighted and completely unwarranted and therefor unacceptable.
What is the opposite side? Well, if we pay a little too much now, then we do get into a field where pensions will be a true safety net, especially in ages where all costs keep on rising and rising. The AOW (Government paid pensions) will remain a true safety net and could be a future foundation of safety. All that should not now or ever be endangered by unproven and assumed options for revitalising the economy. This looks like an upcoming excuse where the statistics of a better economy in 2014 (a claim that is nowhere near any level of certainty) should not be fed with long term securities. I personally see that any politician signing of on this one is to be held liable. There is the crux; they will not care as it is all about the now! Can we allow politicians to remain in office as they overspend for such a long time, not being able to balance their accounts and now are willing to endanger the next generation?
This is not just about the Dutch system. We should investigate these issues as they are likely to emerge in the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Italy and other nations. These nations are all in a state of deficit and as such, politicians in those nations would also seek a way to look good. Playing poker with the retirement funds of a next generation is an unacceptable gamble which should publicly be stated as null and void.
It is very tempting for the young, restless and party generation to not care about those issues now, but those who are not in a field where they are assured of long above average paying employment will soon thereafter learn the hard way that they are looking towards working another 15 years just to make the bare minimum.
If a politician has one clear responsibility, then it is not about getting by now, but to create safety, stability and security for the future. We are used to the short-sightedness of ‘Excel managers’ managing the needs to their next commission with a lack of long term vision, we should not allow politicians to do the same to the future of so many.