Two new battles for pensioners in class war

by Guido Bolaffi - 2015.10.01
Two new battles for pensioners in class war
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It has been recently discovered that wealthier pensioners have the advantage of living, on average, longer than their less well-off peers. This fact has not only been accepted for a long time but has also been quantified. In the US, for example, it's estimated that, from 1930 to 1960, the life expectancy of the rich has lengthened from an average of 81.7 years to 88.8 years. While that of the poor has, on the contrary, shortened from 76.6 years to 76.1 years.

In a recent article in the Atlantic Monthly, Teresa Ghilarducci, of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis in New York, explains that the truth is that this socially inequitable demographic gap is further reinforced by two other “class differentials”. So far these have not been given the attention they deserve.

The first is decisive: the children and grandchildren of the middle and upper classes are culturally and professionally better equipped to obtain the best of medical and hospital services for their elderly parents from their respective insurance and health providers.

The second factor is very different and may sound like a cruel twist of fate for the less well off. Because the increase of life expectancy means that pensions have been cut – but this ends up penalising the poor, who are forced to continue working longer, rather than retiring. The consequences are easy to imagine.

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