Wall Street Journal Letter to the Editor

Greece’s Biggest Headwind May Be Its Demographics

Greece’s “tax and social-insurance burdens are crushing” because, they have not sufficiently changed to accommodate the reality of over one quarter of its population over age 60.

Yannis Palaiologos’s “Greece’s Bailout Ends, but Prospects Still Grim” (op-ed, Aug. 20) doesn’t have to be prophesy if Greece continues the more profound change of aligning 20th century public policy and social and economic institutions to 21st century age demography. Greece’s “tax and social-insurance burdens are crushing” because they have not sufficiently changed to accommodate the reality that over one quarter of its population is over age 60. This isn’t due to the expansion of social welfare programs, but the more profound change of how we work and live differently in an aging economy. Greece’s shift in its retirement age from 57 when the crisis erupted to 67 today is a start, but barely enough as Greeks live longer and they continue their low 1.4 fertility rate. Greece, like Japan in Asia, is the canary in the mine shaft. Profound structural institutional change and not just fiscal or monetary policy or bailouts is what’s needed.

Michael Hodin
CEO, Global Coalition on Aging
New York

Source: Wall Street Journal

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