How Do You Solve a Problem Like the Pension Crisis?

For my entire adult life, I have repeatedly had it hammered into me that the country I am from is facing a massive crisis due to huge pension liabilities building up in developed nations. From a time when it took 10 working people to fund one pensioner, we are now down below 2 working people per pensioner in some Western nations.

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These liabilities take many forms. For example, people in all of these countries were encouraged (read : forced) to pay into government schemes that promised to fund their old age and that promised land of loads of time to spend gardening, seeing the grandchildren, or going on cruises when you ceased working. Except…well, the governments took the money but in the case of the UK, for some reason forget to actually start up the fund to invest the money into. I would suspect other countries did the same, but you can update me via email on that below. No matter, the ledger entry liability where the government (through future taxpayers) must pay those pensions to the retirees and also fund their other welfare and healthcare needs still exists. When it comes to ledger entries and simple accounting, there’s no doubt that pensioners are a liability, IF we measure life in such simplistic terms. Fortunately, any non-sociopathic human doesn’t. for the sociopaths, it’s worth noting that 48-49 is the peak age for economic activity in human life – after that the trajectory is forever downwards.

What’s not often mentioned, however is how much capital these pensioners themselves saved up themselves to pay for their retirement. A huge percentage of world equity markets and the cash lying dormant in bank accounts, awaiting circulation, is owned by these very people being lamented for their inconsideration of daring to stay alive beyond their economic sell-by date. Yes, those very people who spent every month of their 30-40 year working lives, investing their excess capital above living expenses into funds, naively believing it’ll some day provide for their retirement. I can understand the level of trust then, but it’s harder to share now. However, another byproduct of this is that these are the very people who have dramatically high levels of trust in the existing system and that government will look after them. Therein lies another key factor of the recipe described at the end, for, you may have noticed a common denominator by now that all of these liabilities are extinguished, if only you can get the people themselves to die off. More on that later.

As an early example of the legalised wealth transfer from these retirees (hell, I will be one myself quite soon, if all goes to plan*), in 2012, the United Kingdom took ownership of the Royal Mail Pension scheme. Now, as you can probably imagine, this pension scheme has had many, many years to accumulate capital and invest it and so it did. By 2012, these assets had grown to £30bn, a huge sum. No matter, with the prevailing calculations in place, this pension fund was deemed to be in deficit compared to it’s liabilities. It’s probably worth pointing out at this point that it’s nice to be able to gently nudge a pension fund into being deficient on it’s liabilities, when you implement laws that force it to invest a fixed percentage of it’s assets in government bonds paying 0.1%, instead of being able to freely invest in dividend-paying safe stocks, or even hold the ultimate safe haven asset, Gold, and watch that appreciate. Well, okay, maybe appreciate in fiat currency, since Gold can only ever stand still priced in itself. The government solution to this was to offer the Royal Mail an opportunity for the government to take the assets, all £30bn of them, and in return offer nothing, but to pay the future unfunded liabilities of those pensioners who once worked for Royal Mail. As an early example of taking something now, in return for an unfunded future promise, it was wonderful. expect more of this to occur in future.

On a similar vein, I almost called this post “Last Coal Miner standing”, for there is one huge pension fund out there with assets way in excess of liabilities and which defaults back to the government once the last recipient expires. The Coal Miners’ Pension Fund. For the main reasons that coal miners, due to the nature of the work, tend not to live as long in retirement, as I know to our historic familial cost and that coal mining is a supposedly a declining industry (demand is still huge though, but you can engineer a decline, can’t you?).

The Coal miner’s pension fund actually did something dramatically clever way back in the 1980s. Identifying that investment trusts often trade way below the net value of their assets (NAV), they spotted Globe investment trust, the UK’s biggest at this time, was trading on a huge 30%+ discount to NAV and decided the best and cheapest way to increase the assets of the fund was to buy this trust and incorporate it into the fund. A wonderful move, whoever did it deserves the highest praise and I bet it was someone who sat outside the city circle, who genuinely had the best interests of the pension fund members in mind. Fast forward 40 years and sadly, the government doubtless has their eyes on this fund big-time and I am concerned how long that huge pool of money, paid in by hundreds of thousands, if not millions of men, will remain out of the clutches of the elite. See this kind of thing as the asset side of the equation, that they prefer not to tell you about, when they tell you about pensioners, with all their knowledge and wisdom, being liabilities. The same goes for firefighters, teachers and whoever else out there spent their working life trusting some pension to cater for them in retirement. You may well be disappointed.

Of course, it’s completely disgusting and represents theft on the most massive scale. So, that raises the question – what’s the best way to deal with it? Well, in an ideal world you might…nope, it’s pointless, that ideal world does not exist at all. The solution, I fear is somewhat simpler.

  1. Spend years convincing old people they are a liability and that they are dinosaurs who unnecessarily consume resources and contribute to global warming through CO2.
  2. Try to engineer an age divide, where the old are presented to the young as the people who stole your assets and who, by virtue of the happier times in which they lived, are somehow responsible for you not having a job and struggling in life.
  3. Introduce a new virus, then tell those trusting old people who still believe the state will provide that their best protection is an injection, as insurance against never feeling the full symptoms of this virus. Yes, that truly is all it promises – that you won’t get the symptoms quite so bad.

Things not to tell them include :- that the injection is experimental until 2023 and that you are part of the human experimental pool, or that the leading French Nobel prize winning virus expert believes you may well have just reduced your life expectancy to two years.

Pension crisis solved and best of all, the pensioners themselves agreed to it.

*It won’t, whatever else happens in life, the “plan”, as I imagined it, will not occur. You will own nothing and you will be happy. Or else.

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