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Raise retirement age? Sure!
Good morning from Berlin,
The remarkable increase in life expectancy is one of the greatest achievements of the last century.
The success story continues in this century.
In the European Union, in the last 20 years, life expectancy for men has risen from 74.3 to 77.2 and for women from 80.9 to 82.9.
As a result, the time we spend without work in old age has increased significantly.
Here are figures from the OECD, the intergovernmental organisation with 38 member countries:
In 1970, men in the OECD countries had 12.0 years on average after their exit from the labour market, while they could expect to spend 19.5 years in retirement by 2020.
Women’s life expectancy at labour market exit was markedly higher to start, resting at 16.0 years on average in the OECD in 1970. This rose to 23.8 years in 2020. The gap between men and women has also slightly grown.
Despite these pleasing numbers, there is nothing to be gained in political debates by arguing about the need for an increase in the retirement age.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron only dares to raise the retirement age because he cannot be re-elected after two terms in office. And in Germany, no party shows the courage to debate the topic. The growing shortage of workers alone would be reason enough to discuss it.
Probably politicians don't dare for good reasons. There are no votes to win on this issue. However, the train of thought is as simple as it is understandable: If we live longer and longer, then part of this longer lifespan has to be "used" for a longer working life. Because work finances old age. So if the working life remains the same and the retirement age increases steadily, the financing of old age becomes imbalanced.
Is it really impossible to find a majority of voters to support these reasonable sentences?