Monday, June 5, 2017

Another Greek Pension Crisis?

This is a bilingual comment so bear with me. Dimitri Katsayianni of Capital.gr reports, Σύνταξη πριν τα 55 για έναν στους τέσσερις νέους συνταξιούχους δημοσίου:
Το 23% όσων δημοσίων υπαλλήλων πήραν σύνταξη το Φεβρουάριο ήταν έως 55 ετών, σύμφωνα με όσα αποκαλύπτει η τελευταία έκθεση του πληροφοριακού συστήματος "Ήλιος" για το μήνα Φεβρουάριο.

Συγκεκριμένα 167 άτομα επί συνόλου 701 (δηλαδή σχεδόν ένας στους τέσσερις) που πήραν σύνταξη από το Δημόσιο κατά τον εν λόγω μήνα, ήταν ηλικίας 51 -55 ετών.

Μάλιστα, η μέση σύνταξη αυτής της ηλικιακής κατηγορίας των νέων συνταξιούχων του Δημοσίου ανήλθε στα 1.139 ευρώ.

Καμία άλλη ηλικιακή κατηγορία νέων συνταξιούχων του Δημοσίου, αλλά ούτε και άλλου ασφαλιστικού ταμείου δεν έλαβε τόσο νωρίς, μία τόσο μεγάλη σύνταξη, τον περασμένο Φεβρουάριο, όπως φαίνεται από στοιχεία του συστήματος "Ήλιος". Το γεγονός αυτό προκαλεί εντύπωση, δεδομένου ότι από τον Οκτώβριο του 2015 προβλέπεται για όλους τους ασφαλισμένους (δημόσιου και ιδιωτικού τομέα) σταδιακή αύξηση στα ηλικιακά όρια συνταξιοδότησης μέχρι το 2021.

Σε τελείως αντίθετη κατεύθυνση από εκείνη του Δημοσίου κινούνται τα στοιχεία για τους συνταξιούχους του ΟΑΕΕ, του ΟΓΑ, του ΕΤΑΑ , αλλά και του ΙΚΑ. Σε κανένα από τα παραπάνω ταμεία, δεν εντοπίζονται οι αναλογικά περισσότεροι νέοι συνταξιούχοι στην ηλικιακή κατηγορία των 51-55 ετών (όπως συμβαίνει στο Δημόσιο) , ενώ σε καμία ηλικιακή κατηγορία δεν εντοπίζεται μέση σύνταξη άνω των 850 ευρώ (έναντι 925 ευρώ που είναι η μέση σύνταξη στο Δημόσιο) .

Οι περισσότεροι νεότεροι …νέοι συνταξιούχοι εντοπίζονται στο Δημόσιο

Πιο συγκεκριμένα οι περισσότεροι νέοι συνταξιούχοι εντοπίζονται στον ΟΑΕΕ, τον ΟΓΑ, τον ΕΤΑΑ και το ΙΚΑ, εντοπίζονται σε ηλικίες άνω των 61 ετών (61 -65, 66-70), ενώ οι συντάξεις τις οποίες παίρνουν οι ανά ταμείο πολυπληθέστερες ηλικιακές κατηγορίες ξεκινούν από τα 503 ευρώ (ΟΑΕΕ) και φτάνουν κατά μέγιστο στα 850 ευρώ (ΕΤΑΑ).

Αναλυτικότερα:
· Το 23% των νέων συνταξιούχων του Δημοσίου πήρε μέση σύνταξη 1139 ευρώ σε ηλικία 51 -55 ετών .

· Το 35% των νέων συνταξιούχων του ΙΚΑ (μισθωτοί ιδιωτικού τομέα) πήρε μέση σύνταξη 677 ευρώ σε ηλικία 61-65 ετών.

· Το 39% των νέων συνταξιούχων του ΕΤΑΑ (μηχανικοί, γιατροί, δικηγόροι) πήρε μέση σύνταξη 850 ευρώ σε ηλικία 61 -65 ετών.

· Το 29% των νέων συνταξιούχων του ΟΑΕΕ (έμποροι, βιοτέχνες, αυτοκινητιστές) πήρε μέση σύνταξη 503 ευρώ σε ηλικία 66-70 ετών.

· Το 63% των νέων συνταξιούχων του ΟΓΑ (αγρότες, κτηνοτρόφοι) πήρε μέση σύνταξη 384 ευρώ σε ηλικία 66 -70 ετών.

Υψηλότερη όλων η μέση νέα σύνταξη του Δημοσίου

Εξάλλου οι μέσες αποδοχές των νέων συνταξιούχων του Δημοσίου είναι ξεκάθαρα οι μεγαλύτερες σε σχέση με τις μέσες αποδοχές των άλλων νέων συνταξιούχων. Του λόγου το αληθές :

· Η μέση σύνταξη των νέων συνταξιούχων του Δημοσίου ανήλθε στα 925 ευρώ

· Η μέση σύνταξη των νέων συνταξιούχων του ΕΤΑΑ (μηχανικοί, γιατροί, δικηγόροι) ανήλθε στα 715 ευρώ

· Η μέση σύνταξη των νέων συνταξιούχων του ΙΚΑ (μισθωτοί ιδιωτικού τομέα) ανήλθε στα 595 ευρώ.

· Η μέση σύνταξη των νέων συνταξιούχων του ΟΑΕΕ (έμποροι, βιοτέχνες) ανήλθε στα 500 ευρώ.

· Η μέση σύνταξη των νέων συνταξιούχων των συγχωνευθέντων ταμείων στο ΙΚΑ ανήλθε στα 480 ευρώ.

· Η μέση σύνταξη των νέων συνταξιούχων του ΟΓΑ (αγρότες, κτηνοτρόφοι) ανήλθε στα 345 ευρώ.
I'm going to be lazy here and use Google translate and add some touch-ups so those of you who don't read Greek get the gist of the article:
23% of the civil servants who received a pension in February were up to 55 years old, according to the latest report of the February Information System "Sun".

Specifically, 167 people out of a total of 701 (ie almost one in four) who received a pension from the public sector in that month, were aged 51-55.

Indeed, the average pension of this age class of new public-sector pensioners amounted to EUR 1,139.

No other age category of new pensioners in the public sector, but also of another insurance fund, did not get so early, such a large pension, last February, as shown by elements of the Sun system. This is all the more impressive, as from October 2015 a gradual increase in the age-old retirement age is foreseen for all insured (public and private sector) by 2021.

The figures for the pensioners of the OAEE, the OGA, the EBRD and IKA are moving in  complete opposite dirction. In neither of the above funds are there proportionally more young pensioners in the 51-55 age group (as is the case in the public sector), while in any age group there is no average pension higher than EUR 850 (compared to EUR 925 which is the average pension in the public sector).

Most younger ... new retirees are found in the State

More specifically, most new pensioners in the OAEE, the OGA, the EBRD and the IKA are aged 61 and over (61-65, 66-70), and the pensions received by the most populous age categories are starting from EUR 503 (OAEE) and reach a maximum of EUR 850 (EBRD).

In more detail:
  • 23% of the new public-sector pensioners received an average pension of 1139 euros between the ages of 51 and 55.
  •  35% of IKA's new pensioners (private sector employees) received an average pension of 677 euros aged 61-65.
  • 39% of the EBRD's new pensioners (engineers, doctors, lawyers) received an average pension of EUR 850 between the ages of 61 and 65.
  • 29% of new OAEE pensioners (traders, craftsmen, motorists) received an average pension of 503 euros at the age of 66-70.
  • 63% of OGA's new pensioners (farmers, breeders) received an average pension of EUR 384 between the ages of 66 and 70.
Highest average earnings in new public-sector pensions

In addition, the average earnings of new public-sector pensioners are clearly the highest in relation to the average earnings of other young pensioners. The reasons are the following:
  • The average pension for new public-sector pensioners amounted to 925 euros.
  • The average pension for the new EBRD pensioners (engineers, doctors, lawyers) amounted to 715 euros.
  • The average pension for the new IKA pensioners (private sector employees) amounted to 595 euros.
  • The average pension of the new OAEE pensioners (traders, craftsmen) amounted to 500 euros.
  • The average pension of the new pensioners of the merged funds to IKA amounted to 480 euros.
  • The average pension for the new OGA pensioners (farmers, breeders) amounted to 345 euros.
A friend of mine sent me this article and shared these thoughts:
This gives you an idea what happens when a government goes into crisis. This article lists how pensions have changed since the crisis and the stark differences between the public sector and everybody else in Greece.

What I saw (and continue to see in Greece) has cemented my views that government's power should be severely curtailed. Unfortunately, government has a hard time understanding that they serve the people (not the other way around).

What I find amazing is how the Greek people continue to accept this. I guess that practically every family has someone in the civil service so the cancer has spread everywhere (probably by design) and no one has the courage to speak out.

This is also why Greece will never exit the crisis.

By the way, SYRIZA has hired over 40,000 civil servants since being elected and grown the civil service by 6%.
Another friend of mine in Greece shared his thoughts too:
SYRIZA is trying to establish its own mechanism by hiring 40,000 new civil servants, the same way the three big parties ( PASOK, ND and KKE ) did for the last 50 years.

See why things in Greece never change... it's their way of thinking!!!

Elections will be held in 2019, not earlier.....
My friends and I share the same conservative economic views. We aren't against the public sector but we fundamentally believe in the primacy of the private sector and see that nothing has changed in Greece. In fact, it's gotten worse since Tsipras got into power.

Greece is still a mess. The Greek economy unexpectedly expanded in the the first quarter, up 0.4% and reversing an estimate that had showed it slipped back into recession, but nothng has fundamentally changed in Greece and these paltry gains won't continue.

Astute Greeks from all over the world know what Greece needs. The problem is these much-needed reforms will never happen as long as SYRIZA is in power.

Alexis Tsipras and his cronies are doing the exact same thing that successive Greek governments have done over the years, expand the public sector to buy votes and hold power. And this despite the Greek crisis that has brought the country to its knees.

Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos said a deal on a £6.4billion bailout and debt relief package at the next meeting on June 15 was urgent, stating: "There are no excuses for not getting this overall deal that the Greek economy so desperately needs in its efforts to access the markets.” Greece had “done its part”, he said, after implementing crippling austerity on the nation earlier this month, which has caused riots and protests in Athens.

I find that laughable given that SYRIZA has been busy expanding the public sector every chance it gets, and taxing everyone to death to fund this expansion.

The other part of the story, which equally irritates me, is Germany and its infamous finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, who foolishly still thinks there should be no debt relief whatsoever under any circumstances and that Greece can devalue its way back to prosperity (it can't).

In fact, when one takes a hard look at the Eurozone, there is no question that Germany has gained the most and remains its biggest problem.

Will France's newly elected leader, Emmanuel Macron, convince the Germans that things have to change in Europe or else the union will devolve into chaos?

I don't know, I remain highly skeptical that things will change in Europe. The old French expression "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" comes to mind (“the more it changes, the more it's the same thing”).

But one person Emmanuel Macron can and should consult with as he tackles economic reforms in France and the Eurozone is Roland Lescure, the former CIO of the Caisse who quit a $2 million job to help him run France.

I'm not sure Macron and Lescure can take on Merkel and Schaeuble but they sure can give them a lot of food for thought.

In the meantime, there is another potential Greek crisis to deal with. And that's a walk in the park compared to Italy and Spain which have some serious banking issues to contend with.

One thing Greece needs to do is radically reform its entire pension system by amalgamating all these pension funds into one large state fund and more importantly, introduce world class governance (like we did in Canada) to separate operations of this new pension fund from any government interference.

In fact, many other Eurozone countries need to introduce these reforms, not just Greece. Better governance, more transparency, more accountability and a shared-risk model are what is needed to bolster these pension systems for the long run.

Don't hold your breath, especially when it comes to reforms in Greece, plus ça change...

Below, Al Jazeera reports on how Eurozone finance ministers have failed to agree on debt relief for Greece with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and did not release new loans to Athens, but came close enough in talks to aim for both deals at their next meeting on June 15.

Get ready, I have a feeling the Greek debt boomerang is coming back this summer (I really hope not).

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