28 April 2012

Selective laying bare

State-funded pensions will cost £5 trillion, today's Daily Mail informs us.

Laid bare for first time, £180,000 burden facing every British family
(headline, 28 April 2012)

But why is this being ‘laid bare’ for the first time, one wonders, and not any of the other burdens facing the British taxpayer? Such as, for example, the cost of social workers to take babies away from their families and shuffle them around from one foster family to another? The cost of paying foster families ‘child maintenance’ for having kidnapped children living with them? The cost of providing free ‘education’ for every child born to immigrant parents and other categories of parents?

The object, one supposes, is to justify new forms of taxation; the population of people of pensionable age, being one with average IQ above that for the population as a whole, is the ideal target to be blamed for the ever-rising costs of ‘social services’, and to be made to pay as much as possible in the way of extra tax. Presumably pensioners, especially those who are not public employees (doctors, teachers, social workers, etc) are to be as impoverished as possible by the time they die. Otherwise they may leave houses and other assets to their offspring, who are also likely to have above-average IQs. Heredity may be unmentionable in polite society (David Willetts), but there is some sensitivity to the fact that high-IQ parents may have high-IQ offspring. Even before they die, high-IQ parents may give positive assistance to their high-IQ offspring, if their financial resources, in the way of both income and capital, exceed their most basic needs.

If my father had had a normal pension at the end of his teaching career, he would have been able to give me financial support at a level which, in view of my lack of an academic salary or of income support, would have been appreciable and have at least slightly eased the pressures of constriction which were oppressing my attempts to remedy my position as an outcast. This was the position into which I had been thrown at the end of the ruined ‘education’, although it was universally assumed that I had turned my back on a university career voluntarily. ‘Oh, I thought you got what you wanted,’ my aunt gasped half a century later, having apparently assumed that whatever I found to do in exile must have been something that I wanted to do so much that I would prefer doing it in destitution and degradation, rather than having a high-flying university career.

The question of ethics with regard to pension policy is one of the issues on which critical analyses could be being published by Oxford Forum if it were provided with adequate funding to do so.