Austrian Finance Minister blames older people

Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter blamed older people that retire too quickly in her opinion. She made it without any nuance or restriction. On behalf of Austrian Green Seniors Birgit Meinhard-Schiebel wrote the Minister a protest letter…

‘Dear Minister Fekter,

On the occasion of your speech at the Economic University of Vienna and a ‘Report’ on Austrian TV, you literally said, that you find it ‘intolerable that people retire at 58 years of age… many already at 52… ‘alive and kicking’… all of them disabled pensioners.’          

This classification of older employees, but especially of people who have already retired, is a dangerous generalization and discrimination. You neither differentiate how many people actually are retired at that point in time, nor for what reasons.

It is still very common that people are forced into retirement and have to overcome many obstacles such as sick leave and unemployment until an ‘early retirement’ can be reached, with deductions and under unheard conditions.                                                     Your statement could easily be understood to mean that a large number of older people only have in mind to abuse ‘the social welfare state’ and to profit from it.                           Of course there are black sheep among persons who opt for early retirement, but certainly the majority of white sheep have to fight threatening poverty in old age, due to failed labour market and finance policies. And: any kind of poverty is much more expensive for the national economy thant preventing it.                                                              I would like to ask you to formally apologize for this kind of discrimination and for stoking fears of a generational conflict for thos concerned.

Up to now the Minister did not react…

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