A GRIM FISCAL FAIRY TALE
Once upon a time, people worked until they died. But the longer people lived, the more infirmities impacted older people, and the concept of stopping work came into play. So these folks labored all their lives, put some money away in a safe place, like a bank, where someone else would watch over an manage their money until they needed it. Then one day, they found out that the banks have gambled and lost on real estate, and their money was gone. There was no government to bail anyone out. So the people had to try to go back to work, became beggars and destitute or died. The government thought this was unfair to those older folks who had worked so hard, but through absolutely no fault of their own, had lost everything. So the government decided that it would “tax” people a portion of their income, and put it into a retirement system. People could retire at 65, and of course they were only expected to live another r3 or 4 years. There were 16 people laying in for every person taking out. And the government told the banks that they could not gamble with people’s hard earned savings, passed legislation and created an insurance pool to backstop losses by criminal or unethical activity. All was good and the people were happy.
As time went on some things changed. For one, people lived more than 3 or 4 years. The population retirees increased, and the ratio dropped to 1:10 and then to 1:6 ration of retirees:workers, but the “tax” did not go up, but investments were made that increased the pool. It was called good management. The government also encouraged people to save money by deferring taxes, which they did, and the banks used it to make money. All good as long as the investors gambled well. They gambled so well, they were able to talk the government into undoing the anti-gambling rules from the past, so their pool to invest was twice as much. And the markets grew and the portfolios grew and the people were happy.
And then it came to pass that the banks again gambled on real estates, and created complicated investment tools to hide the risk, but the risk was exposed and half the money was gone overnight. And the retired were wondering about jobs again. But there were no jobs. And the employed now had fewer jobs. So less people paid into the system. And the people were sad. And mad because they thought they were being protected from the gambling of the past. They did not understand.
And the government could supply no answers because they had changed the rules and they knew the people would be unhappy, so the government felt there was no choice, so they borrowed money, and bailed out the banks. And some people were happy. And some people were concerned about all that debt. And some people wondered why it was that history could repeat itself and put society at risk. And some people asked why people who did bad things were not punished.
And none of these questions has been answered. Good thing that these fairy tales don’t depict anything real right?