National pension reform should consolidate different pension funds while guaranteeing minimum living expenses and putting a ceiling on payouts, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) said yesterday, announcing its pension reform plans as a national debate continues.
“It is time to stop the war of words, because we all have our ‘saliva’ on the subject. Anyone who is serious about supporting reform should put forth their plan,” SDP policy committee convener Fan Yun (范雲) said.
Fan criticized the organizers of Saturday’s protest by retired public-school teachers, civil servants and military personnel for stating that they support pension reform, while focusing on the “non-issue” of “dignity” instead of outlining specific proposals.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
“The problem with pensions is that the difference across occupations is too huge, which is what creates hostility. Pension funds are going bankrupt because they are tied too closely to salaries rather than providing a minimum guarantee for retirees,” she said.
SDP convener Chen Shang-chih (陳尚志) said that national pension fund statistics show that spending is an inverse pyramid, with the 260,000 pensioners with monthly benefits of more than NT$40,000 accounting for more than double the spending on any other bracket, while 1.39 million retirees with benefits of less than NT$5,000 account for less than any other bracket.
“How can you expect someone to live on less than NT$10,000 [a month]?” Chen said, calling for a universal pension equal to basic living expenses to guarantee dignity for the elderly.
Based on 60 percent of average national spending per person, national basic living expenses are equal to about NT$12,000 a month, he said, adding that the government could provide all of the nation’s 3.3 million retirees with an NT$11,795 monthly pension if it were to allocate pension spending equally.
Fan added that the SDP’s plan would include a relative or absolute cap on benefits, citing both a possible 60 percent “replacement ratio” cap relative to salaries and an absolute cap equal to the average national wage.
“If you want to earn a larger pension, you can always invest in private insurance, but the government should not have to make that kind of guarantee,” Fan said, adding that the party’s plan would also eliminate the 18 percent interest rate accounts of former government employees.
Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), who chairs the Pension Reform Commission which President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has charged with drafting new legislation, said last week that retired public-school and university teachers receive average monthly pensions of NT$68,025, retired civil servants receive NT$56,383 and military personnel receive NT$49,379.
In comparison, retired blue-collar workers (including most salaried private-sector workers) receive average monthly pensions of NT$16,179 from their Labor Insurance, while farmers receive an average of NT$17,223.
Those who receive a national pension, which serves as the de facto baseline pension for people such as the long-term unemployed who are excluded from other funds, receive an average of NT$3,628 a month.
MONITORED BY JETS: Chinese aircraft included Y-20 aerial refueling aircraft, suggesting that China refueled its short-range jets during flight The air force scrambled again yesterday to warn away 27 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the Ministry of National Defense said, the latest increase in tensions across the sensitive Taiwan Strait. Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the nation, often in the southwestern part of its ADIZ, close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). Over a four-day period beginning on Oct. 1, when China marked its national day, Taiwan said that nearly 150 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military aircraft entered its ADIZ, not territorial
The boyfriend of Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) was yesterday questioned by prosecutors after Kao on Tuesday reported that he had abused her. Raphael Lin (林秉樞) was taken in for questioning at the Grand Forward Hotel in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋) yesterday morning, and police confiscated his mobile phone, iPad and a data storage device, prosecutors said, adding that they have applied to place Lin in judicial detention. Lin, who does not reside at his registered address, might attempt to flee or tamper with evidence, they said, adding that he has allegedly threatened victims in earlier abuse cases
PAST CATCHING UP: Raphael Lin was last year convicted of intimidating his girlfriend at the time, and in 2015 allegedly confined his parents and assaulted his mother Doctoral student and media commentator Raphael Lin (林秉樞) is in detention and has had his communication rights limited after he was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly subjecting Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) to two days of violence in a hotel room, the New Taipei District Court said yesterday. The New Taipei City Prosecutors’ Office had filed a request to detain Lin — who was Kao’s boyfriend at the time of the incident — with the court approving the request early yesterday. The prosecutors’ office said that it is likely to charge Lin with seven offenses: assault causing bodily harm, violating
Italian Representative to Taiwan Davide Giglio has praised the nation as a “silent giant” of the global supply chain, saying he is looking forward to establishing closer cooperation with Taiwan’s world-leading semiconductor sector. “Taiwan’s role in global production chains has largely gone unnoticed until recently. This may have to do with the fact that Taiwanese companies do not always enjoy strong brand power,” Giglio said in an interview with the Central News Agency. However, a global chip shortage has brought to light Taiwan’s strength in such a strategically important sector, he said. Italy, a leader in the automotive sector, was quick to realize