The drive to dismantle the welfare state has a new target. Governments have already gutted unemployment insurance and social assistance. Out-of-date labour laws make it tough to organize unions in the new, decentralized, service-based economy. Now, thanks in large part to the dynamics of the recession, pensions are under attack.

Curiously, the war against pensions has received less attention than it should. People understand taxes, and usually complain when they rise. They also understand the notion of wages, and raise a similar stink when they go down.

But pensions appear to baffle most of us. They shouldn't. Pensions and other retirement benefits are simply deferred wages – money you earn now and sock away (or have someone else sock away for you) so that you'll have something to live on when you're too old, tired, sick or unwanted to work. (more)