Should Children Vote?

The rising cost of entitlements will test inter-generational harmony.img_6331

In the week following the Brexit vote, a recurrent complaint from the losing side was that a majority of older people voted to leave while a majority of younger people voted to remain. In the eyes of the complainers, this rendered the leave outcome less legitimate because younger people have more years of life ahead of them and therefore would allegedly suffer more than old people from a decision to leave the European Union. So much for the wisdom of old age knowing what is best. And so much for the principle of one person one vote, regardless of age, gender or race or whatever.

Instead of disenfranchising a group of older voters, we may consider allowing children some representation in our voting system. In the United States, the voting age is 18 which means that there are approximately 74 million US citizens aged under 18 who do not have the right to vote. That is a sizable 23% of the entire population who will all be adults by 2034 and who may not in the future take kindly to the long-duration budget commitments that were made in their absence. Read more

Accenture: Majority of People Globally are Worried About Post-Retirement Finances

ACCENTURE, the global consultancy, has issued a REPORT and 15-country survey on people’s attitudes toward their post-retirement finances.  Among its key findings:

  • A majority of people globally are worried about outliving their money at retirement
  • Only about one in six people are confident their current level of savings is sufficient to cover post-retirement financial needs
  • More than half don’t know how to prepare for retirement
  • Nearly half turn to friends and family for retirement advice, ahead of life insurers and banks

New York; July 25, 2012 – More than four out of five people (82 percent) are worried about their financial situation after retirement and almost nine in ten people (89 percent) say it is important for them to start saving now, according to a global Accenture (NYSE: ACN) survey of more than 8,000 people from 15 countries.

The survey also reveals that more than half (53 percent) of the respondents believe they lack the necessary information to prepare for retirement and the financial capacity (57 percent of respondents) to invest in private pension. READ MORE.

California Voters Approve Pension Cuts

IAN LOVETT WRITES IN THE NEW YORK TIMES:

LOS ANGELES — As Wisconsin residents voted on Tuesday not to recall Gov. Scott Walker — who has become an enemy of labor unions nationwide — two California cities dealt blows of their own to organized labor.

In San Diego and San Jose, voters overwhelmingly approved ballot initiatives designed to help balance ailing municipal budgets by cutting retirement benefits for city workers.

Around 70 percent of San Jose voters favored the pension measure, while 66 percent of San Diego residents supported a similar measure.

“This is really important to our taxpayers,” Mayor Chuck Reed of San Jose, said Tuesday night. “We’ll get control over these skyrocketing retirement costs and be able to provide the services they are paying for.” READ MORE.

New York Times: US Public Pensions are Underfunded

MARY WILLIAMS WALSH AND DANNY HAKIM WRITE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES:

Few investors are more bullish these days than public pension funds.

While Americans are typically earning less than 1 percent interest on their savings accounts and watching their 401(k) balances yo-yo along with the stock market, most public pension funds are still betting they will earn annual returns of 7 to 8 percent over the long haul, a practice that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg recently called “indefensible.”

Now public pension funds across the country are facing a painful reckoning. Their projections look increasingly out of touch in today’s low-interest environment, and pressure is mounting to be more realistic. But lowering their investment assumptions, even slightly, means turning for more cash to local taxpayers — who pay part of the cost of public pensions through property and other taxes. READ MORE.