Older Germans have been made expensive promises that they have relied on in planning the rest of their lives. And they have the electoral weight, for now, to ensure that they will be kept. This will likely be the beginning, not the end, of reforms to make those viable.Demographically, I am technically a Baby Boomer, although I was born at the very end of the era. The first wave of boomers are now turning 70, while I am in my (somewhat) early 50s. I've never assumed I would be able to retire early and I expect to be working for nearly 20 more years. Still, I fully expect it to be tougher for those who are younger than me, especially the Millennials. So does Mead:
Similar efforts will play out all over the Western world, where Blue Model retirement programs are running into both cold, hard arithmetic and the heat of a debate between two big generations, the boomers who’ve planned for retirement on a Blue Model basis and the Millennials who are expected to pay for it. Here in the U.S., in an election where both candidates fully embrace the Blue Model social programs, including social security, such generational issues are on the back-burner—for now. But given these realities, it probably won’t be too long before the fight over retirement will be back with a vengeance.
And when you look at the German deal as a paradigm—for someone will propose something like it—you can understand how American millennials would be angry. Millennials are being explicitly asked to work longer so that their parents can retire at unrealistically young ages: when 65 became the standard retirement age across the Western world, in the mid-20th century, it was much closer to the age of death than it is today. According to the World Bank, German life expectancy at birth was 69 in 1960 and is 80 today; in the U.S. those numbers are 70 and 79 respectively. The older generation, of course, rejected any attempts to change this in the past, essentially writing themselves larger and larger retirement checks as they came to live longer and longer.Of course they would. Most people would. It's an entitlement, doncha know. But the beauty part is that a lot of us won't be stepping aside, either:
And now the bill is coming due. To add insult to injury, as these reforms are gradually implemented, older, senior managers will continue to work for more years, rather than clearing room at the top by retiring. So if you’re a millennial, you’ll be working longer, at less pay and at a lower position, to fund benefits for the older generation that, realistically, probably won’t be viable for their own. Some deal.This is true. I have no intent of stepping aside from my position. Even if I wanted to, it wouldn't be an option. The bills keep coming in and while we save for retirement, I'd surely love to be saving more than is possible at the moment. On the bright side, my student loan bills are long since paid off; young people these days are generally starting around 20K or more in the hole by the time they get their bachelor's degree. Meanwhile, the party's on at The Villages and Del Webb and such.
The status quo is not going to last. We need to be talking about these issues, but instead we're discussing an orange guy's deportment. We are not a serious nation.