Editorial: mouth too many
27.04.12 21:36 By Gazeta.ru editorial
Premature pensions are given by many different agencies Photo: ITAR-TASS
The Ministry of Health and social development announced it is ready to abolish premature pensions for workers employed in hazardous and unhealthy industries. A question that may look technical, but actually isn't. We are talking here about the attempts to overthrow the constitutional principle of a welfare state so that the government can make ends meet while keeping the illusion of these principles.
This ministry's initiative is rather large, concerning more than 3 million people, and it's hard to be precise here, the databases are not systematized, and premature pensions are given by many different agencies. The laws and rules are rooted in the Soviet past and hardly correlate with the present situation. But it's just one of the ideas of the authorities who try to balance pension budgets. They are also discussing an increase of the retirement age, changing the way of computing the pension size, and so on.
There are to opposite processes: on hand the state tries to lessen its social burden, on the other – to increase its social obligation truing to improve citizens' prosperity. The last policy coincided with election campaigns and the promises given this winter are still valid.
All the more so because the authorities are not sure their mutual love with the majority will last and are not ready to outright break their election promises.
Thus these maneuvers.
The Financial sources with which the Pension fund is filled are evidently depleted – the taxation of the economy is so heavy that the main added value providers, the enterprises with high share of remuneration of labor in their expenses) can hardly bear the expense. And the authorities are probably afraid to start to tap the raw materials sector as a financial resource.
If we bear in mind the difficulties felt by welfare states in Western Europe, we can understand the motives of Russian officials who are trying to keep to the principle and keep financial virginity
Meanwhile the government is increasing military expenses, despite all the difficulties between the Ministry of Defense and their contractors in military industries. Re-armament slogans sound good, but the question is if the management, already grown in this country, is ready to act on it so that expenses don't drown the budget and so that money won't flow to nowhere.
Populist welfare expenses and ambitious military allocations are not systematized, nor do they fit into economists' accounts, are not provided for by the budget income if the oil prices fall.
The constitutional principle of welfare state doesn't provide Russian retirees with European prosperity. Rather weak resources are to be spread into a layer that is far too thin. But even this approach is an important part of the social contract that has been worked out in Russia. To preserve both the contract and the high military expenses is probably impossible.
The second part of this social contract is that the majority accepts the limitless right of the current bosses to manage cash flow, without being responsible or consulting anyone, nor paying any attention to political opponents. Also, the contract provides for voters' support to actual irremovability of the authorities.
According to Levada-Center sociologists, 30% of their respondents say Vladimir Putin will stay in power till 2024, 11% - however long he wants.
This social contract will exist as long as the government can maneuver between populism and financial reason. This maneuvers are already executed without any feedback from the voters, without the minority report, with only the faith in a good tsar. The problem is, the termination of the contract in this situation may be sudden and not very civil.
25.10.12 13:41 By Gazeta.ru editorial
24.10.12 12:26 By Gazeta.ru editorial
23.10.12 12:37 By Gazeta.ru editorial