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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2005): Pensions - Overseas

BUSH REFORM PLAN MAY CUT US PENSIONS

F. Harris

The Daily Telegraph, Jan. 5th, p.13

Benefits for newly retired Americans could be cut by almost a third under plans announced by the Bush administration. According to US media reports, the proposed scheme would sever the link between pensions and wages, linking the payments to prices instead. Prices generally rise more slowly than earnings. In return, workers would be able to divert some of their state pension taxes into a "personal investment account" based on stockmarket investments. The move would save the government trillions of pounds and avert a predicted crisis in the social security system.

EUROPEANIZATION, POLICY ARENAS AND CREATIVE OPPORTUNISM: THE POLITICS OF WELFARE STATE REFORM IN ITALY.

D. Natali

Journal of European Public Policy, vol.11, 2004, p.1077-1095

Article adopts a revised policy change model to understand the logic of the pension reform process in Italy. Such an approach helps better define how policy actors and socio-economic and political forces interact to produce a window of opportunity for reform which can be seized by creative policy entrepreneurs. Finds that the financial crisis in the Italian welfare state in the 1990s was the first stimulus to pension reforms. Events such as European integration produced a radical shift in the national mood on social protection and facilitated their adoption. Corruption scandals and the forced turnover of policy-makers also favoured the introduction of innovation.

PUTIN TRIES TO CALM STORM OVER BENEFIT CHANGES

N. Buckley

Financial Times, Jan. 18th 2005, p.6

Russian president Vladimir Putin is meeting his cabinet to seek ways of easing the burden of social benefits changes that have provoked mass protests by pensioners. Before the meeting started he offered a concession to the protestors by ordering pensions to be raised by twice as much as planned.

RUSSIAN PENSIONERS TAKE TO THE STREETS IN PROTEST AT BENEFIT CUT

A. Osborn

The Independent, Jan. 13th 2005, p.28

Thousand of pensioners staged protests across the country following the abolition of generous Soviet-era social benefits. The source of the pensioners' anger is a law that came into force on 1 January, replacing the existing Communist-style social benefits with monthly cash payments. The new legislation, which is designed to save the government billions of roubles and thus enable further social reform, affects 34 million Russians (just over one quarter of the population).

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