Huge pensions for retired government workers can be found from small municipalities to national governments on both sides of the Atlantic. There is a reason. For elected officials, pensions are virtually the ideal thing to spend money on, politically speaking. Many kinds of spending of the taxpayers' money win votes from the recipients. But...
That ensured a winner, and reparations from Germany, to repay the Brits and French so the massive war loans could be repaid to the House of Morgan and others. The big moneyed industrialists and central bankers couldn't resist the urge to violate neutrality laws and make a bundle off the war. Only, just like the banks in 2008, when their bad bets started heading south, they rustled up an emergency and got themselves a bailout. Using the taxpayer's money and the blood of American boys. Study the money and the history of the newspapers, for starters. There's a reason they don't teach that in state-run schools.
A nation's choice between spending on military defense and spending on civilian goods has often been posed as "guns versus butter." But understanding the choices of many nations' political leaders might be helped by examining the contrast between their runaway spending on pensions while skimping on military defense.
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