Monday, July 06, 2015

Demographics is destiny: Greek edition

Here's Jim Geraghty: "I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts."
Take a good look, young people. This is where quasi-socialism, with unaffordably generous pension programs and early retirement, runaway borrowing and spending, and a kleptocratic unenforced system of tax collection leaves you: helpless, penniless, and crying in the streets.
Geraghty points out that about 75% of Greeks go on pensions by age 61, which puts a tremendous strain on the government:
Greece is still near the top, though it’s not so far from the eurozone average. Moreover, Greece’s high spending is largely the result of bad demographics: 20% of Greeks are over age 65, one of the highest percentages in the eurozone.
So there a lot of not-so-old pensioners in Greece.  Who is going to pay for this?  As Mark Steyn notes, not Greeks:
The United States has a fertility rate of around 2.1 — or just over two kids per couple. Greece, as I pointed out in America Alone, has one of the lowest fertility rates on the planet - 1.3 children per couple, which places it in the "lowest-low" demographic category from which no society has recovered and, according to the UN, 178th out of 195 countries. In practical terms, it means 100 grandparents have 42 grandkids – ie, the family tree is upside down.
As Steyn concludes: "how likely is it that the debts run up by 100 people will be paid off by 42?"  It's not and a responsible government would have trimmed sails a long time ago.  But, as we know from American entitlement reform (or lack thereof), it's much easier to keep the checks printing and pass the debt on to future generations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Greece - the latest socialist paradise to discover what happens when you run out of other people's money.