Final Word from Monday, March 22, 2004

When Premier Vladimír Špidla was still labor minister, he liked to proclaim that the Czech pension system could finance itself for at least another 30 years. He now talks, though, about the big problem that demographics are causing. Because of the sharp drop in the birthrate, he says, the CR is losing 20,000 people every year, which is the size of a small city. A study by Charles University predicted that 3m Czechs will be over age 65 in 2050. Of these, 1.9m will be over 75. Czech social taxes are already among the highest in the world and are causing some companies to move east, to Ukraine, Russia, China, etc. The longer it takes the political parties to address the pension issue, the more likely the solution will be to import tens of thousands of guest workers from these same countries ... and hope that they go home before they start drawing a Czech pension. reform


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