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Oh, dear
In particular, [the consultation] aims to address the following issues:

  • Ensuring adequate incomes in retirement and making sure pension systems are sustainable in the long term
A public pension system based on sovereign outlays is the easiest way to solve this problem.
  • Achieving the right balance between work and retirement and facilitating a longer active life
Neither here nor there, though there's the fact that under many European pension systems, receiving a pension is incompatible with doing any productive work. I think the social function of pensions should be given a good round of thinking. Maybe pensions should not be tied to age but basically for incapacity for work of greater or lesser degree? The current stigmatization of people on disability benefit needs to end, by the way. And it's not totally unrelated to this policy drive to "facilitate a longer active life".
  • Removing obstacles to people who work in different EU countries and to the internal market for retirement products
Please don't mix the issue of people working across borders having trouble collecting pensions (supranational fiscal unification, anyone?) with the "market for retirement products". A dignified income for everyone, retired or not, is not a (finalcial!?) product looking for a freer market.
  • Making pensions safer in the wake of the recent economic crisis, both now and in the longer term
Easy, don't make people's pension dependent on the vagaries of the market. Don't force people to take on a private pension because the public provision is deliberately inadequate. This is a political issue, obviously.
  • Making sure pensions are more transparent so that people can take informed decisions about their own retirement income
This is contradictory. A system where, say, people are guaranteed a particular percentage of median income as their state pension would by definition be "not transparent" or hard to forecast. But precise forecasts are necessary for financial planning of private pensions. But private pensions leave people at the mercy of the vagaries of the capital markets. And state pensions are, we're tendentiously told, unsustainable.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 09:01:40 AM EST

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