Los peligros del poder gris

Con el poco común acuerdo de los demócratas, la administración Bush está proponiendo un aumento sustancial en los beneficios para el adulto mayor. Las reformas que ha propuesto pueden costar a los contribuyentes estadounidenses más que la rebaja masiva de impuestos de 2001 e implican una redistribución significativa desde los jóvenes a los viejos de EEUU. Pero mientras muchos observadores hicieron notar los riesgos de las rebajas impositivas de Bush y los cada vez mayores déficits que les siguieron, pocos parecen preocupados por el ahondamiento del déficit que implicará este regalo a los más viejos.

Lo que está pasando en EEUU no es sino una prueba más del vasto poder que ejercen los mayores en nuestras sociedades. Algo similar ha estado ocurriendo en toda Europa, en donde la generosidad de los planes de pensiones sostenidos por el estado ya no es sustentable, pero reformar el sistema es casi una imposibilidad política.

El aumento del poder político de los pensionados es el resultado de una multiplicidad de factores. El primero es simplemente que en todas las sociedades industriales la gente está viviendo vidas más largas y con menos niños. Si esto se combina con las generosas reglas de jubilación diseñadas en los años 70, cuando los hijos de la posguerra estaban a punto de unirse al mercado laboral y el estado de bienestar parecía libre de restricciones presupuestarias, tenemos un sentido del tener derecho a recibir estos beneficios con el que nadie se quiere entrometer.

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