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Cover story: Who will break the big taboos?

Tax the elderly, reform welfare

By David Goodhart   February 2012

Everyone agrees that the government must spend much less. And, conveniently, there are a couple of big policy areas where there is an unusual consensus on shrinking the state.

The first concerns the crisis in generational justice. Never before have affluent pensioners been more politically unpopular. The retiring first wave of baby boomers is said to have had it all: rising wages throughout their careers, free higher education, easy access to housing that then rose constantly in value, and decent final salary pensions. No wars, no serious recessions (at least for those in skilled or professional employment), and lots of…

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