Never mind having a minimum age for voting -- which really should be much higher than it is now, say maybe 21 at the very least -- pretty soon we're going to have to introduce a maximum age for voting. I can't see any other way of avoiding the coming age riots of 2025 (when the youth of the western world will commemorate the Watts race riots of 1965 by going on the rampage to demand equality) than by stopping the old from voting. Otherwise the inevitable, inexorable steamroller of the dismal science will guarantee intergenerational conflict. The problem is simply that neither politicians nor journalists nor voters can understand the basic facts.
Politics is not about economics tutorials. Political journalists can’t or won’t understand anything more than a soundbite, so giving them a lengthy lecture about economics makes as much sense as reciting poetry to a pig.[From Stumbling and Mumbling: Expertise in politics]
Now that may be a little unfair to all journalists. For example: hereditary celebrity and Oxford graduate Stephanie Flanders, the millionaire BBC Economics Editor and former girlfriend of new Labour leader Miliband, E., went to one of the most expensive private schools in the country (St. Paul's) and so can clearly understand economics tutorials. And she noted recently that
Here's the stark reality: employment in the UK has risen by 296,000 since the start of 2010, and 75% of those jobs - or 222,000 - have gone to people over 50. Just under 44% of the jobs have gone to the 3% of workers over 65. For comparison, the number of 16-17 year olds in work has fallen by nearly 8% over the same period[From BBC - Stephanomics: Jobs for the boys - and the over 65s]
But not all journalists have this excellent grounding and a great many of them know perfectly well that even if they did understand the economics, it wouldn't make any difference to what they might report.
As someone once said, in politics, if you have to explain you’ve lost the debate.[From Stumbling and Mumbling: Expertise in politics]
Well, that's just a sad, but true, signpost on the road to disaster that we seem unable to turn off. Why does this matter?
At the last election, over 55s accounted for more than 10 million votes cast - 40% of the total. In 24 constituencies, they accounted for more than half the votes cast (and there will be more constituencies like them when we next go to the polls).[From Nick Cohen: Loth as I am to give Joan Bakewell a kicking... | Comment is free | The Observer]
You won't see an article in the Daily Mail arguing that old people should start paying back some of the largesse that the Joan Bakewell generation acquired through political capture, but the truth is that as they come to dominate the political environment so it will become impossible take even the slightest steps to redress the balance. Meanwhile doctors are thinking of going on strike because they want to continue to retire at 60 while the rest of us work until we drop.
the true cost of these pensions ranges from 34.7 per cent of salary for a male teacher, up to 71.8 per cent for a policewoman. No wonder the Government Actuary’s Department calculates that taxpayers will have to find a total of £770bn in future to deliver unfunded pensions already promised to public sector workers.[From Arresting cost of police pensions – and five steps to boost yours – Telegraph Blogs]
This is why I am telling my kids to leave the country before the civil war between the unemployed or highly-taxed young and the retired old begins.