jona: Kame with his shirt off (JE - KAME)
Does it count as work when it's LJing about pensions?

I have just about had it with idiotic, pseudo-leftist, sentimental, manipulative articles on sad, impoverished pensioners in reputable German broadsheets.

Today's article was on

The cast of characters:

-- Female pensioner, worked for ten years, was a housewife for ten years, worked another fifteen part-time. Did not save privately.
-- Male pensioner, was employed for a few years, became self-employed for the rest of his career. Did not take out a private pension or savings plan.

Their state pensions suck. This, no doubt, sucks a lot for them. It sucks in all sorts of ways. However, this state of suck is really not the fault of the German pension system. And yet the whole thing is bathed in this 'isn't it terrible, and where is the system? why isn't anybody doing anything about this?' undertone

It's really kind of endemic to newspaper articles about pensions that they get their causes and effect all fuzzy and wrong, and lather their image of the poor pensioners with a nice froth of moral indignation that is usually addressed entirely to the wrong culprit. This particular article, the prompt of today's little rant, takes the stupid to yet another level, in how it insidiously ties this guy's loneliness to the problem of pensioner poverty (when the article itself states the main reason for his loneliness as being based on a bad divorce). It's technically supposed to be an article about what it's like to be a poor pensioner in a very expensive city, which I think is a topic worth exploring, as I'm sure there's a difference between whether you're trying to live at social assistance level in Munich and Stuttgart, or in Leipzig and Berlin. But instead it's all about how bad these guys' state pensions suck, and it's really only one offender in many I've read now in my career as a Pensions Person (tm). I suspect it's just really easy and tempting to go 'POOR PENSIONER BAD. PENSION FAIL. BAD SOCIETY.', and who gives a crap about tackling these issues with any sort of nuance?

Do I think we should talk about pensioner poverty and what's going to happen in a few years, if the state pension level keeps declining? Yes. Do I think we should talk about the way it's often women who end up with really sucky pension provisions? YES.

Do I think you can explicitly and implicitly blame the state pension system for not providing enough for people who largely opted out of it? No.

You know, you don't (or shouldn't, in my not so humble opinion) build policy, especially pensions policy, based on what the smartest, most self-sufficient, most reasonable citizens will do. Because these are not your citizens. You build your pensions policy for the apathetic citizens, the citizens who are 25-years-old and will of course never turn into old people, the citizens who don't know how interest rates work, and the citizens whose eyes glaze over when they hear the word 'pensions'. Because these are the citizens you've actually got.


No government can build a pensions policy that provides generous, status-maintaining pensions out of no contributions. And if you think you can, you have failed the basic common sense test. While I have a lot of sympathy for people who miscalculated, or were a little stupid, or naive, or unlucky, or just not as lucky as they'd thought, or got screwed by the job market, and who can't really turn the cart around at age 65 -- because that is really the biggest problem with pensions, there are no do-overs -- I have NO PATIENCE ANYMORE with the journalists who take on just that perspective when they write about it, who pretend that it's somehow outrageous that ten years of full pension contributions don't give you 35 years of a full pension, and who contradict themselves in their own stupid articles because the image of the pity poor pensioner who was let down by the evil system is just that irresistible.

Because they are not helping.
jona: (geänderte verkehrsführung)
So I was out for a late-night walk, as is my habit especially at temperatures when post-10 is the only time you really want to be outside. And then there was this cat.

Now, the village, being a village, is full of cats. Half of them are suicidal car-lurkers who just wait to run across the street the second you drive up to them; I guess it's a pretty boring village for cats too.

But anyway, I was walking along one of the darker streets, and suddenly there was this cat, making rather pitiful noises. Pitiful loud noises, as I could hear it through KAT-TUN and noise-reduction earphones, so much that I stopped to see if the cat was all right. It was just sitting there (lurking behind a car, of course), until the first moment I touched it, when it started going round and round my legs and bumping into my knees and just brushing against me rather aggressively, and only stopping when I petted it. I couldn't decide if this was I am sooo looonely heeeelp or ha ha ahhaha ha going to give that sucker human all my flies or oops I have a brain tumor and can only walk in a circle, honestly.

At one point I picked it up, because, um, I had trouble interpreting the language of the aggressive circling, mmkay? And then I put it down again because, well, it's a strange cat and has claws and I only had a t-shirt on, and then it seemed really miffed to be put down.

And when I started walking away after like ten minutes of this, it followed me. For about the length of four houses, and it was kind of freaky and I was feeling like a very bad person for walking away.

But eventually it went back to what I think was the lurk-car, so my current theory is that it's a yard cat that would rather be a house cat and is just sulking and sharing her sulk with everyone who walks past.

And now I'm sneezy and getting allergic red patches in the bend of my arms. >.<

Also I am not sitting here and thinking about cats in thunderstorms. No.


Jun. 10th, 2011 11:02 am
jona: (Default)
Today I decided it's Take your cute new red shoes to work Day, and to wear a summer dress I bought last summer and only wore... once, I think, or never.

It is really cute, and flowy, and weather appropriate. It also likes to twist around in a way where 'a bit of cleavage' turns into 'hello thar I can see the top line of your bra'. >:| Welcome, Day of Tugging.

Why could I not notice this before leaving the house? I am oppressed by my dress.
jona: (ikea man)
Dear Google,


Okay, so I can't spell Ljubljana, but when I google for "[socialnetwork] fee", PLEASE STOP GIVING ME ELEVENTY HITS FOR "[socialnetwork] FREE".

Zer is diffrentz, okay?

jona: Yamapi is moping. (JE - mope)
I don't think I've ever been as furious with the German media. Like, EVER. Or at least the leftie parts of it that I usually prefer to read because I'm quite up for some friendly, on-your-sleeve bias. But the way some of them are salivating over and basically wanting a meltdown at the Fukushima reactor simply disgusts me.

And I say this as someone who's not exactly a fan of nuclear power either.

I went into the office today to catch up on some work I missed during the week, but I might as well have stayed home for all the 'work' I did. I just couldn't stop hitting refresh on the news sites -- which also gave me the nice overview over who liked to update with what the fastest. Spiegel and Zeit led with 'meltdown confirmed!' for ages before amending that this wasn't as confirmed as alleged, and the more conservative ones were very slow to update but always a bit more cautious about 'nuclear catastrophe!'

It's a sad day when I prefer the FAZ over the Spiegel.

I don't have an icon that's depresso enough for this day. :-(


jona: (Default)
the paranoid android

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