This column on the fiscal insanity we call “Greece” posits their choice Sunday: “catastrophe or absolute catastrophe.” By the time you read this, that choice will have been made. But the Greek drama will not have ended. It may not even have reached the end of the beginning.
The problem with the column, as with so many others, lies in not defining “retirees” and “pensioners,” thus painting for its readers an incomplete – and biased – view of reality. The picture painted is of men and women too old to be able to work, who have put in a lifetime of toil and who should be kept comfortable in the remaining few years.
No one wants to see the elderly living in the streets and eating cat food – but that isn’t the case here.
Workers in Greece retire at age 57 (officially, for working mothers it’s as young as 50, for others it seems to be between 58-61, while Greek commenters online note that they have been retired since “age 50”), then expect others – the children they are not having, German or American taxpayers – to keep them in middle class lifestyles until they die at an average age of 81, or for another 24 years.
If a Greek began working at age 22, and retired at age 58, s/he would have been working for 36 years. Then s/he wants to retire for 24 years, living off others for 2/5 – 40% – of their adult life.
And they wonder why they are broke.
That’s infantile – but it’s the infantilism that has resulted from American taxpayers paying for the defense of the entire West since 1945, and of the voter demand for a Western Welfare State that has run out of EVERYONE else’s money.
When Greece changes retirement to 65-67-69 (German consideration), and retirees live off of their own savings or 401K-like instruments, get back to me.
Greece: it’s time to grow up.