Friday, October 26, 2012

The ruling class assault on pensions

My latest for The Guardian:

Retired people should work for their pensions, says Lord Bichard. The fact that pensioners already have worked for their pension, by definition, doesn't detain him. Pensioners are a "negative burden" on the state, who need to be "incentivised" into doing jobs that young people could do for a wage.
The interesting thing about Bichard is that he isn't some rabid Tory. He is a cross-bench peer, a technocratic former senior civil servant who worked closely with the last Labour government. His suggestion was raised in the context of discussions between politicians, bureaucrats and Bank of England experts on the state's response to demographic change.
And while his specific proposals may have been off-centre, they point to a consensus among policy-making elites. In general, the consensus is that British capitalism will find its way out of crisis and restore global competitiveness by squeezing more work out of the labour force. In terms of pensions, the consensus is that people will have to work longer, for less.