Now that my various major work crises are out of the way for another calendar year, I will hopefully have more time to spend on this blog.
Right now, two things leap out regarding Intergenerational Equity.
The first is John Hutton’s call today for raising the pension age to 68.
I have to say, I’m with Hutton on this.Â The choice really is as stark as raise the retirement age, or force our children to pay the price.Â Personally, I’m prepared to accept that there is some give and take on this.
Unfortunately – and unsurprisingly – Labour’s paymasters, the Trade Unions do not share this view.Â Indeed, the Labour Conference actually voted down proposals to raise the retirement age back in September.
Malcolm Sage from the GMB union, led the opposition to “any suggestion that the state pension age should rise before health inequalities in the UK are eradicated and improved longevity is equally shared by all.”
Well, actually, the proposal is to phase in raising the retirement age over 40 years.Â Is he seriously suggesting that longevity won’t be significantly higher across the UK in 40 years?
Barry Camfield, from the TGWU, added to the criticism: “We want to abandon this threat to voiceless children today that they will have to wait until 68 for their pension and I nor my union are prepared to mortgage and sell out children in years to come. We stand up now for those children.”
No, you’re selling out those children by forcing them to pay massive extra taxes just so you can squeeze a bigger pension out of them.Â Trust me, mate, they don’t want your “help”.
Speaking of Tossers, the Tories have launched this new viral marketing ad, which must work because I’m linking to it.
On the one hand, it is true that many people are lured by cheap credit into buying tat they don’t need.Â That’s all fine and dandy, and obviously these people should be discouraged.Â But if you think that is the be-all and end-all of the current credit culture we have, you are sorely mistaken.
Take me for example.Â I resisted getting a credit card for as long as possible.Â Eventually I succumbed because of a combination of an employer shitting me about, and the fact that no bank would lend me a responsible loan until I had “improved my credit rating” – i.e. got myself a credit card.Â Later, when I sought to consolidate my loan, the same company wouldn’t help, forcing me to get a loan somewhere else.
I’m not claiming to be entirely blameless here, I freely admit to making mistakes, but I’m really not that profligate.Â Most of my debt mountain was accrued during particular crises when I needed credit at short notice.Â And it was accrued using credit cards with high interest rates because no-one would give me a cheaper loan.
The bottom line is, a lot of the current credit crisis is rooted in the fact that young people are being clobbered by a combination of student debt and exorbitant house prices.Â The Tories have precisely nothing to say about either issues.Â Until they do, they should watch who they go around calling tossers.