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posted by [personal profile] towith at 05:31am on 26/09/2011
Whilst working in the bar I overheard two gentlemen discussing the raise in the retirement age. One gentleman bemoaned the supporters of the raise by saying "They only care about money". This is a somewhat common complaint, so it is certainly worth exploring.

What is money? Money is not simply the pieces of paper in your pocket, money encompasses a massive range of concepts. One of the most important of these concepts is money as a means of communication. Money or more accurately prices, communicate supply and demand. If the supply of an item/service is low and the demand for that item/service is high, the price will become high.

Let us assume then that the state retirement fund is poorly managed and it's stocks are being constantly pilfered to fill gaps in other services. It is a shocking concept but let us continue. The pension funds will therefore have to be taken directly from the tax coffers, which means that today's taxpayers/workers are paying directly for today's retirees. If the supply of workers then exceeds the demand of the retirees, we have no problem. If however we live in an aging population, the demand of retirees might exceed the supply of workers.

At this point we have several options. We may cut or scrap the retirement fund, which may mean most retirees will have to return to work. Or we can raise the retirement age and only a few retirees will have to return to work. Personally I would scrap the retirement fund for anyone retiring after 2030. Unless a devastating crisis decimates the fabric of society, we will continue to live long lives, making an ill-managed state pension absolutely untenable in the long term. Announcing plans to scrap it now would simply be more honest and allow people to make alternative plans.

You could ask why the state couldn't manage its duties more professionally, but that is a whole different post entirely. In short, it is the same reason why a man can become elected on a hope/reform platform and then authorise the assassination of one of his own citizens. Politics is about perceptions, not facts.
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posted by [identity profile] at 10:50am on 26/09/2011
In short, it is the same reason why a man can become elected on a hope/reform platform and then authorise the assassination of one of his own citizens. Politics is about perceptions, not facts.

I shall not argue about the pensions mismanagement or, for that matter, PFI, which I also think was pretty disgusting: however, I'm interested in this statement. Who was assassinated, and who ordered it?


posted by [identity profile] at 12:03am on 27/09/2011
The case of President Obama and Anwar al-Awlaki? He hasn't been assassinated just yet, though not for the lack of trying. It really is a deliciously morbid story. Obama placed a US citizen on the CIA's targeted killing list. The father of the man took the case to the ACLU and it was then quickly dropped due of course to the executive branch not wanting to discuss the issue. The main defence for the assassination appears to be that he is a military and not a political target. Without a day in court however, that distinction is as worthless as any piece of sophistry.


posted by [identity profile] at 07:08am on 27/09/2011
Thanks for the info. This is not good. A chap should have his day in court, at least.

Not impressed. [Tips hat.]


posted by [identity profile] at 03:05pm on 30/09/2011
Update: Obama got his man. Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in a drone strike today.

Perception ( Vs. Reality (
posted by [identity profile] at 03:37pm on 30/09/2011
I do find it odd that many folk in the US were prepared to finance the IRA, and disseminate political propaganda about their 'struggle', and would not have dreamed of allowing a suspected IRA member to be assassinated without trail, and yet they are happy to do that to a US citizen - someone born in the USA.

It is a bit ripe, really. However, I suppose the US government has succumbed to a realpolitik view of things, and are prepared to get their man no matter what: no matter the nature of due process, constitutional rights of the individual, or the notion of innocence until guilt is legally proven.

Puts the US in the same position as the Brits really. Expedient demises are something at which we have been traditionally almost as good as the Russians and Israelis. No doubt the Americans will catch up with the rest of us now.

This is why folk like me like to call attention to the various miscarriages of justice that are apparent to those that follow such things. Sometimes, even due process doesn't get it right: vide all the various unsafe convictions we've had over here. Most polities are susceptible to a bit of constructive propagandised scapegoating.

I remain unconvinced, for example, that al Megrahi was the perpetrator behind the Lockerbie bombing. I think some of the details of why he was in the frame may be becoming public soon with the events in Libya. But we shall see.

Mind you, I do reckon that Anwar al-Awlaki was a significant (and guilty) leader of a terrorist group. But my coarse-reckoned opinion ain't a court of law.
posted by [identity profile] at 01:39am on 02/10/2011
Very good points.

I'm positive that he was a terrorist leader, which to me is even more reason to do this by the book. We just showed everyone in the Middle East that our brand of justice involves death squads and drone strikes. Instead of deconstructing al-Awlaki's world-view in an open courtroom, we've turned him into a martyr.



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