[ExI] pensions

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Wed Sep 5 16:03:47 UTC 2007

At 07:48 PM 9/5/2007 +1000, Stathis wrote:

>The social security system in Australia is relatively simple: everyone
>gets the aged pension if they pass a means test, and it's the same
>amount regardless of how much or how little they have worked;
>similarly with the disability pension and unemployment benefits. The
>spouse does not get the partner's pension if he dies.

When I wrote THE SPIKE, I made some comments about pensions and life 
extension that baffled or infuriated Americans readers (an editor 
should have noticed and pulled me up) because somehow I'd assumed the 
Aussie paradigm was a widespread default. It had escaped my parochial 
notice that for USians the govt-provided pension is a form of 
state-backed individual savings account, with (of course) no means 
test, rather than an egalitarian safety-net share of consolidated 
revenue that could be incrementally reduced as your personal wealth 
made it unnecessary for your survival in old age. This is so drastic 
a difference that I don't know if the same word should be applied to 
both. (It's a bit like "public school" meaning expensive posh 
uppercrust education in the UK and often rubbishy prole govt schools 
in some other countries.)

Damien Broderick

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