Cradle to the Grave

Yesterday an item on the 6am news added to the feeling that life often seems to imitate art. It was a report that cited that ‘60% of  high earners would like to keep working past retirement age.’

Well, duh. I would like the option of working past retirement age, given that I count writing as work, as well as my passion.

But I don’t want to have to hold down a second job, or have to get up at some ungodly hour in the cold and dark, which are less likely to be faced by those in the higher-earner tax bands.

But what really depressed me was the motivation for the headline. Why didn’t the news item tell us how many low earners want to work past retirement age? Because that’s what that headline was really about — yet another attack by lobby groups working for those interested in lifting retirement age, and targeting the voiceless.

It feels as if there are wave after wave of attacks on the lower paid, the vulnerable and the other miscellaneous have-nots, led by primary influencers promulgating the idea that we should work longer and longer for less and less salary; it starts with how unfair it is that people retire, and once it has been established that people can work past retirement age, then the next step is to ensure that people must work longer.

Following on from the shamefully slanted headlines about how public sector employees are paid more than the private sector* it feels at the moment as if there is a media blitz against anyone but the most affluent, while the real architects of our current financial situation behave with impunity.

Our system is supposed to take care of us from the cradle to the grave — the difference will be how long we have to work in the run up to the latter. It’s an idea that fuelled Pete Shah’s fury in the opening to Damage Time as his retirement age is raised at three weeks notice to seventy-fiveYes, the pensions issue needs addressing. But not in the way it is being done.  Or we’ll have another life imitating art scenario, but of massive civil unrest — not just in the UK, but in the US, where the penions time-bomb is even bigger.

Right, I’m going to put my soapbox away.

* based on a survey comparing only full-time employees; most public sector workers are part-time, while the full-time ones tend to be consultants, specialists, etc.

One Response to “Cradle to the Grave”

  1. Rob says:

    As a public sector worker I strongly object to these reports stating that we get paid more than those working in the private sector. My wage is far lower than the supposed average salary in my area.

    Nice post Colin.

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• September 28th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 1