by Sebastian Younan
The Australian political arena is currently in the midst of a long and drawn out debate consuming newspaper headlines and television commentary. The debate concerns the proposed changes to the national retirement age. Australia’s Treasurer Joe Hockey has indicated that the retirement age, to be handed down in next month’s budget, will be raised from 67 years old to 70 years old – starting in 2023. The proposal has created both friend and foe as all sides of the political landscape opine. Interestingly though, for all the talk that has been going on – and there has been an earful – it can all be summarised as largely non-speak as all sides seem to be agreeing with each other on principle.
Though this move is being spun as a requirement of a population which is living longer, the more economically savvy would probably realise that the Treasurer is representing a treasury which in fact has no treasure (so they will most likely mortgage the unborn with greater and greater deficits). The tragedy of this debate is not what is being said, but rather what is not being asked. This publication will ask, what will not, and answer, what should be:
1. Should there be a government supported retirement pension?
No. A government cannot guarantee a pension any more than it can guarantee the weather. In providing pension support, the government must expropriate the resources of those who are still working to support those who don’t. This is a fact, as a government is incapable of producing. By expropriating the resources of another, the government invariably violates property rights. This is a contradictory function of government. How can the government defend individual rights and simultaneously violate property rights? The answer is it cannot. One destroys the other.
2. But how do you provide a pension for those during senescence?
Like any other material good, an individual must be freely able to pursue the value they require. Retirement like any other good must be earned. No one can guarantee a lifestyle. Retirement requires one to forgo immediate consumption for the future.
3. But is it right to force those who are currently receiving a pension back out of retirement?
No. For those who are currently in a government supported retirement the government should continue to support those individuals. This is because they have been taxed in the past under the pretence that they will be able to access this support in the future. The government must uphold its obligation to those dependent upon the system (and those close to being so) but allow younger generations to leave the system.
4. Leave the system? What does this mean practically?
This means allowing individuals to be able to support themselves by their own effort. This would entail reducing government taxes and services whilst repealing most forms of regulation and government control.
5. That would be revolutionary and cause great distress, would there be anything else?
It is true that this would cause great change as individual autonomy is respected, but it would transform the society from one of dependence to one of mutually beneficial cooperation. The real distress will occur is the current trend of further control and deteriorating liberty continues.
The final requirement would require freely circulating gold and silver coinage, which is to abandon legal tender laws. This is no small or easy task. Yet the monetary system is in terrible treat of implosion under its tower of irredeemable paper. The rediscovery of a gold standard must take place with an introduction of gold bonds trading side by side with government bonds. That should allow private pension funds an opportunity to bring solvency to their funds.
6. Why are gold bonds necessary?
They are necessary as, besides those dependent upon government retirement, many individuals, believing that they were being responsible for themselves, have invested their retirement savings into funds which are themselves heavily dependent upon government bonds (consider the 30 year T bond with its declining yield as pension funds today rush in for whatever yield they can find, further flattening the yield). By allowing gold bonds to trade side by side with government bonds, these funds will be given the opportunity to rebalance their portfolios.
7. Why can’t the government merely balance the budget like it has done in the past and still continue providing pension support?
The ability to balance the budget, especially for the US government, is almost impossible as the irredeemable monetary system is predicated upon the expansion of greater and greater debt. Balancing the budget will not solve the medium to long term instability of the monetary system.
8. So without having a revolution, what can the concerned individual do to prepare for their twilight years?
Owning gold and silver as part of one’s money holding is wise. The less debt one accumulates is optimal especially as the economy slides towards deflation.
Yet one should actively inform friends and colleagues about the merit of a free society. Consider writing to your Member of Parliament or congressman expressing you concerning with the tyranny of the state. It is never too late to do the right thing.
It is most likely that the retirement pension age will be raised to 70 years old. You will hear both political sides cry wolf but you will not hear any defend the individual. In a free society the government would have no interest in the private affairs of its citizen’s retirement. To observe how far one has drifted, consider how both sides of politics believes that you are their property to dispose of.