Friday, May 17, 2019

Raising Pension Age Ensures Russian Birthrate will Continue to Fall, Experts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 16 – The Putin regime’s decision to raise the age at which Russians can retire has put a delayed action mine under the country’s prospects: Without grandmothers healthy enough to look after infants, many potential parents will decide not to have any children at all, driving down the birthrate and contributing to Russia’s demographic decline.

            Gennady Alpatov, an economist at St. Petersburg State University, says that the pension reform has hit families with children most of all and will lead ever more potential parents to decide not to have children at all, exactly the opposite decision that the government wants them to make (

                In the past, the scholar continues, the pension system was designed in such a way that grandparents could play an important social role in looking after young children, allowing both parents to work and reducing the amount of money the government has to spend on kindergartens and day care of one kind or another.

            By raising the pension age to the point where many older people will not feel well enough to look after young children, the Putin regime has destroyed much of that valuable system and now faces costs far greater than any benefits to the budget it may calculate it has gained.

            Valery Koltashov, the head of the Center for Political-Economic Research at Moscow’s New Society Institute, agrees. He says that increasing the pension age will not only cause families to decide to have fewer children in the future but have extremely negative effects on housing and the economy now.

            On the one hand, if one parent has to stay home to take care of young children for seven to nine years, that family will not be able to purchase an apartment and will suffer deprivations as well.  And on the other, the absence of that individual from the workforce will make it ever more difficult to maintain the number of workers the economy needs to function.

            As a result, Koltashov says, “the pension reform looks very harmful both from the point of view of the economy and from the point of view of social policy.” It was not carefully thought out, he continues, and “is generating serious problems for millions of families and not only for those the government simply stole several years” by forcing them to work longer.

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