The cappuccino effect in retirement pots!

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Don’t believe yourself too well bedded;

A warned man is half saved.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832)


well warned is half saved. “Minus Dingsbums Komma Something” ironically headed the Süddeutsche Zeitung an article about forecasts of economics. According to the article text, the most impressive thing would be the certainty with which the economists appear at all times to announce this or that. Union chairpersons are quoted with their (quite justified) criticism of the “nine-times-smart business professors”, who ultimately only do (dangerous) “coffee grounds reading” (and more on these lines – see title). And there is something there! Not only in the economy in general, but also in the context of the insurance industry, which describes an industry whose object is to insure the risks of its customers. What you actually “care” about – and apparently especially in the context of pension insurance.

“Get out of stagnation – suggestions from the insurance industry for the future of old-age provision”, trumpeted the general association of the German insurance industry – and not just the German one! The well-known debate: Statutory pension insurance with the keyword basic security or basic pension, company pension scheme, private pension provision, “flexibility of the transitions” etc. … The classic tones of the insurers, which one has to face in the context of pensions in a healthy distrust. Because all of our pension and pension insurance systems in the classic pay-as-you-go system have grown historically based on the German bismarck social insurance model, which in turn is based on the well-known generational contract – which has been a thorn in the side of private insurance companies for years – well, you want to earn some money after all. Even if the term generational contract describes a “contract” which as such has never really been concluded by any generation, since in the legal sense it is not a contract that is written down, but a hypothetical social unity – which one ( by the way, this is very out of date!) calls solidarity, a non-written generational contract, which is supposed to secure the financing of the statutory pension insurance through the respective generation of workers. Our system of solidarity-based financing of social insurance in general has proven itself well for more than a hundred years and must therefore be defended and even improved in the context of the upcoming social elections by all means against the pure profit interests of private insurers. It should be clear that in view of the coming challenges whether increasing beneficiaries will have to make changes and adaptations to the existing system so that it can continue to function in the sense of fulfilling its fundamental role as the most essential element of social security in old age. But one thing is not allowed: fall for the (supposed) “recommendations” of the insurance companies. And then the tempting term “cappuccino principle” comes up.

Cappuccino. An Italian coffee drink that consists of roughly equal parts of an espresso, hot milk and hot milk foam, which is usually served and drunk sweetened in thick-walled, preheated earthenware or porcelain cups. The private insurers use this enjoyable drink, which many enjoy with pleasure, as a metaphor in the area of ​​supplementary insurance and describe the Chose as the “cappuccino principle”: below is the coffee – the state pension. Then comes the cream, which would then be the supplementary pension that is fed by the employer, meaning the company pension. On top of that are the chocolate sprinkles, the private individual insurance that you should take out with a private insurance company. Only: Of course, they are by no means interested in the fact that many normal people as wage or salary recipients can hardly bear any additional costs of a monthly contribution to private supplementary insurance financially this year and that this can only be financed generally for high-earners or freelancers who can deduct these from taxes – which of course applies to everyone. The second and third pillars of the pension insurance, meaning company pensions and private provision, icing on the cake and chocolate sprinkles in the sense of the “cappuccino principle”, are therefore not to be financed for many. So, according to the more or less obvious “warnings” from insurers, does the risk of old-age poverty apply? A topic that is increasingly being raised in the social-political debate. And that can prevent a decent public pension insurance!

Profits like to be capitalized and losses socialized. That should be known. If the insurers can no longer pay the promised benefits, i.e. additional pensions of any form, or if the capital cover as a counter-model to the pay-as-you-go system has “moved” to where the Titanic once “landed”, i.e. in decline (see the US, dissuasive) Example of the collapse of the system of private pensions that could no longer be paid), yes then, at the latest then you will again shout out loudly about the state and the public social systems, also and precisely about our old-age insurance. Then the state will have to intervene again, as dictated by the casino capitalism of the banks (which, incidentally, continue to act as gamblers in the familiar style!). And together with the neoliberal EU Commission, they want to enforce this capital coverage as a replacement for the classic pay-as-you-go system! When will we finally wake up and finally turn the neck of a diverse privatization craze? Then when old age poverty will actually be normal?

Political class please note: Our pension system, which has proven itself historically in the pay-as-you-go model, is and remains sacrosanct, that is, untouchable!

Oh, was there not a Christian party whose ex-president, who has recently become suspiciously reticent with a Christian trade union background, failed with the (eventual) announcement in the direction of the “cappuccino principle” as part of the big “CSV plan” that one was full-bodied before the elections, had to concede about a year ago?

You have choked terribly on a badly prepared cappucino …

Frank Bertemes



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