Saturday 24 February 2018

If we can't solve long-running problems, maybe we need a Minister for the Future

Flooding in Carrigaline, Co Cork (Photo: Denise Calnan)
Flooding in Carrigaline, Co Cork (Photo: Denise Calnan)
Stephen Kinsella

Stephen Kinsella

Do we need a Minister for the Future? Our current set-up doesn't seem fit to either plan for it or implement those plans. Let's look at three instances of long-term planning failure.

We have an unsustainable pension system where a very large portion of the population doesn't have a retirement plan; we have an emerging situation where increased flooding over time is not compensated for by increased investment in flood protection systems; and we have several cities and many communities that can be left without treated water for weeks at a time.

Warren Buffett once wrote: "Citizens and public officials typically under-appreciated the gigantic financial tapeworm that was born when promises were made that conflicted with a willingness to fund them." Former Taoiseach John Bruton echoed Buffett in a speech, in New York in 2013, predicting European governments would inevitably default on the pensions and health benefits of their citizens.

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