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Corporations have shifted to a “defined contribution” system. They no longer commit to give a defined benefit upon retirement, but only to negotiate the contributions of the worker and the company. The pension is still dependent on how good the investments turn out, which relieves the company of the obligation to deliver a set sum. The worker becomes a gambler in the stock market even if they don’t know how it works. More and more jobs do not offer a pension. Often desperate to have a job in the first place, new workers will take what they can get. Recruiters say, “We don’t offer a pension but we can pay you more,” which is not true, because wages are not rising. As workers get older and reach the age of retirement they will be shocked to discover they have inadequate or nonexistent pensions and will increasingly turn to their children for help at a time when their children will have their own struggles with this growing economic situation.
People are turning more to state lotteries. You say lotteries are a disguised tax injustice.
Over the years, squeezed by business structures and traumatized by fixed wages, stressed out, and drowning in debt, people become furious at increasing taxes. They express anger at politicians who want to get elected and therefore won’t raise taxes. The problem is these same people who don’t want taxes raised want their schools to be decent and the police to be there when they call. Politicians, using sleight of hand, invent the lottery! Basically a tax, lotteries get large numbers of people, those who represent the bedrock of opposition to paying taxes—all statistics prove that the poorer the neighborhood, the more per capita money is spent on lottery tickets and gambling—to give the government lots of money every day. A tiny number will win, but the rest of the money is taken by the state to run services. Where a tax is imposed on people equally, the lottery actually taxes those at the bottom at a higher rate that everybody else. People are suckered on this mirage—a chance of winning the prize that will help them escape the squeeze already on them. Money is shoveled into the state in a way that would cause outrage if it were called a tax. Lotteries have become patriotic, while the Puritan ethic that argued that lotteries represent sinful gambling and told Americans to save money and not go into debt has been thrown out.