Friday, June 01, 2007

As far as I can tell...

...the pensions brouhaha is about:

1) social class

The 50 million derelict, ownerless pension fund accounts are not the accounts of salarymen. They are not the accounts of government officials.

The employers of both of these groups dutifully and permanently recorded the payment histories of their employees.

The retirement money that may be out of reach due to the needless multiplication of account numbers belong to those of persons employed in the non-lifetime employment sector, or persons who changed jobs and employers often--i.e., the persons MOST IN NEED of the government's special attention and care.


2) governmental competence

It was hard for the Democratic Party to fight against the rushed passage of the bill suspending the five year statute of limitations on unmatched pension claims. Resisting the passage of a bill offering immediate relief to those who have been left high and dry by the system made the Democrats look look heartless--and bent upon electoral self-immolation.

Freezing of the current statute of limitations on a person's ability to make back claims on pension payments the individual made in in obedience of the law seems a negative for the electability factor.

The party has realized it has to deploy its smart cookies to explain both the party's goals and strategy. The Democrats' point is not technical and trivial: it is somewhat daft to hand the messed up accounts back to the same officials who lost control over the proliferation in accounts in the first place. Furthermore, the legislation does not provides additional resources to combat the backlog in matching accounts and their owners.

Over the last year, the Social Insurance Agency managed to link 1.4 million derelict accounts with the persons who paid for them. At such a rate, clearing up the ownership questions regarding the remaining 50,000,000 derelict accounts will require thirty years to resolve.

Problem with that is...a lot of the heretofore alive and shafted beneficiaries will be somewhat less than alive in 30 years' time--and thus rather unable to enjoy their being reunited with their own money.

I wish the DPJ luck in its principled resistance. Being conscientious and substantive at a time when folks are all hot and bothered is not always the best electoral strategy.

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