[ExI] pensions

Emlyn emlynoregan at gmail.com
Thu Sep 6 03:03:21 UTC 2007

On 06/09/07, spike <spike66 at comcast.net> wrote:
> > bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Damien Broderick
> ...
> >
> > 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...
> >
> > ... 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... Damien Broderick
> Ja I confess I was puzzled by this, but didn't press the issue, since THE
> SPIKE is a book about future tech, not government pensions.  The social
> security system in the US was set up during a time of intense debate on
> welfare.  We have a sizeable population in the states who would fall dead of
> starvation face first in a shallow grave before accepting a dime of welfare.
> The social security system was set up not as a welfare program but rather as
> a forced savings for old age.  Consequently it has no means test for
> collecting benefits; in that system any means test is specifically
> forbidden.  Politicians have occasionally suggested a means test.  Result:
> they have been thrown from office unceremoniously.
> Damien your comment above is understated sorta.  Even the term
> "govt-provided pension" makes me squirm a bit.  True, the government sends
> the checks, but we the people sprovide that money, our own money, earned
> when we were younger, dumber and poorer than we are when we retire
> (ideally).
> To each according to her ability, from each as little as possible.
> spike

We actually have a dual system in Australia; government provided
pension + superannuation.

Super is a lot like the pension you describe above. Working stiffs
such as myself contribute money (well, in fact the government forces
employers to contribute 9% of salary to employees super funds, which
of course is in fact a burden born by both employee and employer), and
past a certain age (or some such - rules are Byzantine), you can get
your super as a lump sum or annuity.

The govt provided pension is pretty low I think, and functions as a
fallback; if you don't have the personal wealth to provide for
yourself, the government provides a safety net pension.



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