The National Council wants an indirect counter-proposal to the pension initiative. To do this, he sent the business back to the relevant commission on Monday. The decision was a hair’s breadth, with just one vote difference. FDP Vice President Andri Silberschmidt helped launch the initiative when he was still President of the Young Liberals. He defends the idea in an interview.
Andri Silberschmidt was born on February 26, 1994 in Gossau in the Zurich Oberland. In 2011 he joined the Jungfreisinnigen. In 2013 he took over the presidency of the Young Liberals in Zurich and in 2016 of the Young Liberals in Switzerland. In the elections on October 20, 2019, he made it into the National Council. He is the youngest of all 200 members there.
SRF News: Mr. Silberschmidt, if the pension initiative is accepted, you would have to work until around 69. Could you imagine that if you were a gardener or a carpenter?
Andri Silberschmidt: It’s always difficult to empathize with other people. But I assume that a large proportion of people will then no longer work in a physically demanding job. And I think in offices it’s perfectly reasonable to work an extra year or two when you live so much longer, which is a nice development.
However, academics live longer than people who work physically. Wouldn’t it be fairer to make the retirement age dependent on the number of AHV contribution years?
That’s definitely an idea worth discussing. We had considered this as a counter-proposal for the pension initiative. Ultimately, I think you just need a reference age that applies to everyone. Then you can still make exceptions for particularly strenuous, physically intensive jobs.
But the Federal Council has already been instructed to present a pension reform by 2026. Why don’t you want to wait and see?
Waiting is never a solution in politics. We are elected as parliamentarians to solve problems. It may well be that the reform of the Federal Council primarily provides for tax increases. I believe that such a structural reform must include more.
The Federal Council says that an increase in the retirement age alone would not be enough to financially secure the AHV. So your initiative doesn’t solve the problem either.
Of course, you can also combine the approach and say that you are also doing something on the income side. But if you only want to reform the AHV via taxes, then you simply have to massively increase them. If the population is willing to pay VAT rates of 12 percentage points, then that is an honest alternative. But the opponents don’t present them. You want to put off the problem.
The pension initiative would possibly only shift the problem to unemployment insurance. After all, older employees often have trouble finding a job these days…
Unemployment is generally lower among people between 50 and 65 than among those under 50. Of course, just before retirement we have a higher percentage of unemployment. It’s ugly and we have to fight it.
The pension initiative is also an opportunity to counteract the shortage of skilled workers.
But just risking AHV financing for 100 percent of the population: I don’t think that’s the answer. We have an enormous shortage of skilled workers. The pension initiative is also an opportunity to invalidate this.
The National Council is demanding a debt brake for the AHV from its commission. How would it have to be designed for the Young Liberals to withdraw the initiative?
The initiators have announced that they would withdraw if parliament passes a resolution that secures the AHV in the long term. In the form of a debt brake, this would mean that the retirement age would slowly rise if, according to the forecast, the AHV spends more than it takes in – and politicians can’t find a solution to increase income.
The conversation was led by Larissa Rhyn.