I hear from a learned friend that the ticking timebomb in what could eventually become a financial crisis - pending the E.C.B. authorisation to issue more Euros into its capitalisation - could probably be the high amounts of pension they are obliged to pay to pensioners, who are living longer.
Perhaps now it may be good idea to conduct a survey and find out from pensioners what they believe would be adequate amount of pension, and how much more than the basic State pension could be a cut-off point that the majority would be prepared to accept. This of course would require extensive legislation and consultation, and the agreements could be on a voluntary basis with each individual pensioner. Not everyone's needs are the same, depending on their pastimes and hobbies, how many children and grandchildren they have, and how much they spend on presents and gifts, or whether the money could be put to better use.
One strand of thinking is that the pension amounts (both from public and private entities) is quite high, and often exorbitantly or unaffordably so. Another is that quite often the pensioners do not need nor utilize the full amounts of the pensions, letting them build up. The remedy from this may help tidy up the amounts of debt that companies and governments have accumulated, and help nations to balance their books.
Borrowing on the open market to give to pensions what they don't use is like Dad borrowing from the bank and giving presents to kids, which they probably don't use.
I guess this debate would be very controversial, but in the cold light of day most pensioners may agree that the strands of thinking are correct (or not) and what alternates need considering. But I believe this is an area worth looking at, to find some solutions to what is quietly accumulating as the impending Pensions Crisis. Pensions payout obligations seem to be a huge worry for a lot of companies and government departments, and guise as they may, these are future liabilities which will have to be met along the future. I am sure some company accountants can see what I am saying on their balance sheets, and there is no magic wand to wish the liabilities away.
The only hope I think would be debate on this subject, and restructuring of the pensions (the amounts payable per month) and what legislation may be a framework for voluntary negotiations with individuals.
Just something I thought I would offer as food for thought, as I munched something over the conversation with my learned friend at the Church today. I would be glad to hear your views.