Social security trap

The only thing the government’s proposals on social security reform, announced late yesterday, attempt to alleviate is its own political angst. The proposals definitely fall short of serving economic growth. Nor do they safeguard the much-awaited long-term restructuring of the nation’s pension system. The government’s proposals lack clarity and transparency. It is indicative that the General Accounting Office refused to countersign the provisions. An act unthinkable for a modern state, but the State’s «treasurer» has said that the burden on the budget – that is, the taxpayers’ burden – has not been made clear. The economy minister’s refusal to provide the data, demanded by employers, workers and the unions in order to weigh their positions, was unacceptable, even suspicious, given that only pro-PASOK unionists endorsed the deal. The State’s pledge to fund the Social Security Foundation (IKA) with 1 percent of GDP would be a positive move, were it accompanied by a real liberalization of auxiliary funds. The decision of a future merger sustains the unequal treatment as it concerns only poor auxiliary funds. It is obvious that 1 percent can only cover a portion of the huge public debt. But why does Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis not create reserve capital in order to accelerate the repayment of debts – for which PASOK is mostly responsible anyway? What is certain is that the present government will bequeath persistent problems to the next one. Are government officials sure that they will not be called upon to make difficult decisions in the future, or are they merely trying to sway voters? Similarly, it seems certain that, as regards the dilemma between a stronger economy or larger pensions, Christodoulakis and GSEE head Christos Polyzogopoulos have both turned their backs on the future by putting the burden on the shoulders of next generations.