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Old 07-16-2015, 06:07 PM
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Mary Pat Campbell
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
Favorite beer: Murphy's Irish Stout
Posts: 86,007
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The Greek pension system is messy, convoluted and downright weird, giving preferential treatment to some workers like hairdressers, sausage makers and policemen, while penalizing farmers.
The expensive, hodge-podge system has contributed to Greece's debt crisis, so the government must commit to fix it before it gets its $96 billion bailout.
But the Greek government has resisted these changes for years.
Why? Because it's exceedingly difficult to overhaul a system that citizens (aka voters) depend on.
To understand the big, fat, Greek pension problem, here's a look at some of the key facts and numbers:
1) The average retirement age in Greece has been falling for years, with men retiring at 62 and women retiring at 60, according to OECD data, even though the 'official' retirement age was recently raised to 67.

2) Greece spends more on pensions as a proportion of its economy than any country in the European Union -- more than double the spending of Estonia, Ireland and Slovakia.
3) Roughly 2.7 million Greeks are receiving pension benefits out of a population of 11 million. This figure has been rising for years and is expected to keep climbing as the population ages.
4) Greece has one of the worst pension systems in the world when it comes to financial sustainability, due to the nation's high debts and high ratio of older dependents. An Allianz report from 2014 shows Greece's pension system ranks 42nd out of 50 countries. But Allianz notes that recent pension reforms gave Greece a boost in the rankings, after it was 'bottom of the barrel' in 2011.

It's true that Greece has already made substantial cuts. Pensions paying over 2,000 euros per month were cut by more than 40%, while pensions paying less than 1,000 euros per month were cut by 14%, said Tinios.
But further reforms are needed because Tinios says the rules have generally protected the interests of Baby Boomers, high earners and well-connected groups, while shifting the burden to the very old, the very young and the poor.
And the dwindling number of young workers can't provide enough support.

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