Defined benefits plans are increasingly an anachronism in the modern workplace, but Big Labor obstinately refuses to get with the times. More sobering for the children for whom the teachers' unions purport to speak, the U.K. faces a future that is "old and broke." An analysis by the pro-free-market think tank Reform released here this week shows that Britain faces a demographic "timebomb" of an estimated 1.4 million seniors over 65 in the next five years -- adding a tax burden of ?32billion for pensions and nearly ?40billion for healthcare by 2041 (not adjusted for inflation).
The report's authors make conclusions that sound eerily familiar to entitlement-reformers across the pond: "The biggest challenge in encouraging action is that people think that dealing with the problem can be put off. Often population aging is seen as a problem for 2040 or 2050, which is well beyond the attention span of many policy makers and media commentators. But the fiscal effects will be felt much earlier than that. The case for moving quickly is also not just a fiscal one. Any changes will create a group of people who lose out in the transition. Putting off reform will increase the costs of change and make the group of transitional losers larger."
Left-wing teachers around the world spend many hours lecturing their students about the need for a "sustainable environment." Too bad they don't practice what they teach when it comes to their own unsustainable demands.