• Sat. May 18th, 2024

Exploring the underlying motives for embracing the 13th AHV pension

BySamantha Johnson

Apr 8, 2024
Exploring the underlying motives for embracing the 13th AHV pension

After the world wars and other crises, there was always a strong expansion of the welfare state in Switzerland. Rarely has a vote result caused as much discussion as the one on the 13th AHV pension. The discussions are being discussed with such ferocity, as if the vote had yet to take place. Of course, the excitement also comes from the fact that the dispute over financing has only just begun. Who should pay for that?

But the impact of the ballot goes far beyond that. Whether supporters or opponents, everyone feels that something special happened on March 3rd. A look back at the “AHV plus” initiative from 2016 confirms this gut feeling. The template was very similar: the trade union federation demanded an increase in pensions by ten percent, the 13th AHV pension corresponds to an increase of just over eight percent.

The debate at that time is also reminiscent of the most recent voting campaign. The Left argued that the AHV pension was actually shrinking because of rising rents and health insurance contributions. The commoners were worried about financial viability. And finally, support for the initiative was initially very high back then: as late as mid-August 2016, i.e. six weeks before the ballot, 60 percent of those surveyed said they would vote for it, with strong support among the SVP and CVP base in particular noticed.

In the end, however, the result was an exact mirror image of that from March 2024: 59 percent no, 41 percent yes. How can we explain this change of heart in just eight years? In 2016, the subsequent survey made it clear that the question of financial viability had caused the most skepticism. That’s different today. Many people are of the opinion that they have something to benefit from, no matter what the cost. To justify this, reference is made to the federal government’s spending policy: “They have money for everything but us.” The CS debacle is also cited as a reason.

The impression is that profits are once again being privatized and losses are being socialized, so that some citizens no longer feel obliged to be loyal to a cautious financial policy. This may all be sincere and justified, but it seems to me that the claim to compensation has deeper reasons. It comes from the feeling that you have made a sacrifice and deserve recognition for it. In any case, this pattern has been observed many times in the past and in different countries.

After the First World War, groundbreaking decisions were made in several areas. In 1919, Parliament approved a sizeable sum for job creation and housing support measures, and in 1924 it passed the first federal law on unemployment insurance. In the recession of the early 1920s, the federal government supported crisis-hit industries for the first time, and in 1925 two thirds of voters approved the AHV constitutional article.

After the Second World War, eighty percent of those who voted in 1947 supported the AHV law. The economic articles adopted at the same time gave the federal government extensive powers, which in many respects violated the principle of freedom of trade and commerce. In the recent past we have not experienced any catastrophe comparable to the two world wars. But the drastic measures during the Corona crisis certainly demanded a willingness to make sacrifices that, in some respects, were reminiscent of wartime.

The state has spent a lot of money to dampen the negative consequences, but it does not seem to have been enough on a psychological level, so that many citizens are now calling for major socio-political gestures. The clear acceptance of the care initiative in November 2021 was already a first in Swiss history. Before the Corona crisis, this template would have had no chance. And now many people want a 13th AHV pension because they feel like they deserve a reward.

This feeling was hardly present in 2016. Once again it becomes clear that the deeper meaning of historical events is usually revealed in a tortuous path and with a time delay. You don’t have to go as far as Chinese Prime Minister Chou En-lai, who in 1972 responded to Henry Kissinger’s question about the meaning of the French Revolution that it was too early to judge. But Chou En-lai was right about the trend.

By Samantha Johnson

As a content writer at newszkz.com, I delve into the realms of storytelling, blending words to paint vivid narratives that captivate and inform our readers. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for research, I craft compelling articles that resonate with our audience. My love for words drives me to explore diverse topics, ensuring that each piece I create not only educates but also entertains. Join me on this journey as we navigate the ever-evolving landscapes of news and knowledge together.

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