Software Nerd

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Greece's early retirement evasion

One recent news item about Greece speaks about the early retirement ages in some professions. The law allows for early retirement if one works in a dangerous profession. Women in these professions can retire at 50, men at 55, and start to draw their pensions.

Stop here and think what professions may qualify. Coal miners are one such group. Another is bomb-disposal folk. Then there are odd ones: like "musicians playing wind instruments, who must contend with gastric reflux as they puff and blow." But, the plot thickens... over the years, various unions in Greece have fought to have their professions moved to this early-retirement category. So, they have the spectacle of hair-dressing being deemed worthy of an early retirement. I kid you not. And the craziest one I've heard: radio and television presenters (at risk from microbes on microphones!)

Greece has ended up with 14% of their workforce in this category, and consequently nearly the lowest average retirement age in all of Europe. A voting population in a democracy is obviously responsible when there is such blatant evasion of reality. Who do they think is going to pay their debts, if so many of them retire early? Once upon a time, they'd have printed more Drachmas, but they went and joined the Euro, which does not allow them to print willy-nilly. So, lacking the inflationist's ability to rob his creditors, they need to create or to get real wealth. And, for this, they turn to the Germans.

NPR did a story about this a few days ago, and they spoke a new hostility in Greece toward Germany. The country that screwed up, are being hostile to the country that can bail them out. Some of the more radical Greek radio shows are playing Hitler speeches and talking of a new form of Nazism that does not use tanks, but money. It is a despicable sight to see those who need charity spit in the face of those from whom they demand it as a right.

It is sad to see this happen in the land of Aristotle. I suppose it proves that greatness is not in one's genes.