Dinosaurs are not extinct after all

JurassicPark Stop the presses! It turns out that despite mainstream scientific consensus, dinosaurs are not extinct and in fact live in the obscure habitat of the National Executive of UNISON.  Jon Rogers, a member of that body, has posted a very revealing piece on his blog about public sector pensions which draws some conclusions so blinkered and outdated they can officially be dated to the Jurassic period.


The article, in response to the Evening Standard's welcome campaign on the staggering cost of the Local Government Pension Scheme, gives us a window into the world of those who are committed to simply rejecting outright any suggestion of reform of public sector pensions.


For a start, it's amusing that Mr Rogers is so worried by the effectiveness of the TPA that he has assumed that the Standard's reports, which reveal a £10 billion deficit in the pension schemes of London's councils alone, are generated by our research. In fact, it's the Standard's own work using the undeniable figures provided by the councils themselves.


The cost of council employers' pensions contributions is a massive £4.5 billion a year already, and yet these contributions are nowhere near enough to cover the liabilites for the council pension schemes - hence this gigantic black hole. Taxpayers, who have little or no access in the private sector to such generous pensions themselves, are being expected to pick up the bill, despite the fact that many are increasingly struggling to afford their council tax bills as it is.


In the face of that reality, though, Rogers refuses to acknowledge the need for any reform of the Local Government Pension Scheme. In fact, he threatens strikes to defend the status quo. So he would like to see his members picketing council offices and denying services to the public in order to maintain the status of public sector workers as better paid, more secure in their jobs and more generously provided for in retirement than the general public who labour under the burden of record council tax bills - so much for socialism helping the worse off.


Even more interesting to political palaeontologists is his conclusion. No way should we reform the Local Government Pension Scheme - no, it is the whole economic system that must change to fit the LGPS!


"If capitalism cannot afford decent pensions then the answer is not to get rid of decent pensions but to get rid of capitalism"


Capitalism isn't perfect but whilst it cannot afford or sustain these gold-plated pensions, it does at least have the benefit that it can afford things like food, housing and indeed council services - all things that Mr Rogers' preferred alternatives, be they centrally planned socialism or outright Communism, have notably failed to provide.

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