Young people angry, call for end to senior welfare benefits

In a story placed very prominently on both the Chosun’s and Dong-A’s websites, Yonhap warns that Park Geun-hye’s election may have sparked inter-generational tensions, with young folk expressing with discontent with online petitions calling for an end to welfare benefits for seniors.

On the day after the election, a netizen started an online petition at Daum’s Agora calling for an end to seniors being allowed to ride the subway for free. So far, that poll has garnered 9,150 signatures.

The netizen who started the petition argued that since old folk don’t like national welfare, the free subway rides for seniors system should be abolished. Perhaps then they might come to appreciate what welfare is, he said.

In signing the petition, another netizen commented that it was only logical that until the generation that truly supports welfare can get free subway rides, the elderly generation—which is ungrateful for welfare—should not be able to ride for free. Another netizen commented that since old people opposed free child care and half-priced tuitions, free subway rides and old-age pensions should be abolished, too.

Yet another netizens began an online petition to abandon basic old-age pensions. He argued that it’s clear old folk are people of means as demonstrated in the election, and that the time had come to collect those benefits from the people who call welfare “populism.” He said they had tried to persuade older voters that we should all live together, but these efforts had rewarded with accusations of being “commies.”

In the comments, supporters argued that those who cursed free school lunches for children as “commie” had no right to enjoy welfare benefits, and that old folk should be prepared to take responsibility for their vote; young people shouldn’t have to take responsibility for it.

Agora is a bastion of progressive netizendom, so there were many calls for restraint from those worried about generating a generational clash. Just a few noted that since they, too, would be old one day, they would also receive old-age benefits in the future.

At another major humor website, there was pretty opened discontent with the way older voters voted heavily for Park Geun-hye. One netizen said after the election that there were a lot of stupid old people, and that people in their 20s—40s knew the society in which we live better than the elderly. Another netizen declared he would no longer respect the elderly, for they had ruined the nation for his children and grandchildren. Other said they would no longer give up their seats to old people on buses and subways. And then there were the folk who said simply that they wanted to kill all old folk.

Some professor told Yonhap that inter-generational tensions began five years ago, and five years from now it would become a “war.” These tensions would increase as the economic criss begins in earnest and young people and old people fight over limited government resources.

Another professor said since Park’s victory was razor thin, their could be a lot of disappointment in the election result. Because inter-generational tensions regarding major social issues could express themselves at any time, the new administration needed to put forth policy active alternatives.

Marmot’s Note: I can’t imagine he’d be much of a Moon Jae-in fan, but Mark Steyn certainly could appreciate voters taking responsibility for their votes.

Anyway, I think I can see why an article like this would appeal to the Chosun and Dong-A—not only are young people lazy and entitled, but they’re unappreciative of the sacrifices of the older generation. And rude to boot!

  • Cm

    South Korea has the biggest percentage in the OECD, of the old people who live in poverty.  The entitlement that the young people feel they must have is unbelievable.  It’s the parent’s generation that must provide for the schooling, and the weddings, which comes with some serious financial requirements.  It’s the parent that is expected to mortgage their retirement so that little Cheolsu can buy an apartment, and get married in an all paid expenses ceremony that runs to hundreds of thousands of dollars.   The average wedding bills for the parents of the children who are getting married, seems to go up every year, with no end in sight.  The problem is so bad, most over fifty Koreans with children, who made financial sacrifices for their children, find themselves with financial debt and uncertainty when they reach retirement age.  Many are unprepared for old age, it’s these people who will really need welfare.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    The progs in this country are plainly retarded and violent, and the outlash after the defeat will be as, or even more, violent than it was against Lee. I wonder if they will even bother finding a pretext this time,

  • Low

    I think that’s the point they’re trying to make. The elderly are OK with welfare when it benefits them but they lambast it as “Communism” when it doesn’t. Or at least that’s what I think they’re trying to say. It seems pretty satirical in nature to me.

  • bumfromkorea

    Anyway, I think I can see why an article like this would appeal to the Chosun and Dong-A—not only are young people lazy and entitled, but they’re unappreciative of the sacrifices of the older generation. And rude to boot!

    Good call, Robert. 
    @ca9767b44e4acfa85da2d20045eaae1c:disqus Yep.  It’s the “Federal Gov’t, hands off my medicare” thing, except in Korea.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    This is democracy: feeding frenzy at the trough

  • gbnhj

    In a direct sense, young Koreans are simply unaware of the challenges faced, and sacrifices made, by the generations that preceded them. They did not experience those things themselves, after all, and so only know about them from documentaries in school and reminder from their elders. I think that definitely plays a part here.

    So long as society experiences increasing consumer wealth, increased expenditure for social services that does not threaten that situation is deemed palatable. In Korea’s case, of course, provision of social services (old-age or medical care, for example) has long been the responsibility of the family. What has been happening in recent times, however, is an increase of publicly-provided services available to an aging population, set against a backdrop of increasing consumerism in an environment of rising costs.

    I think what we see is an argument that was bound to happen, regardless of who was elected. Old people have the power of the vote; young people have greater earning power. And in a society which is, bit by bit, becoming less family-oriented than it once was, concern for those who made sacrifices in the past is becoming less important to some of those who do the earning these days.

  • Jang

    Didn’t S. Korea get this “welfare benefits” thing from the USA?  See ya on the streets around Seoul City Hall.

  • YangachiBastardo

    Not only in Korea, they’re retarded and with a violent streak ready to come out pretty much everywhere else and these people should be ashamed and keep their fuckin’ mouth shut: elders in Korea worked like beasts of burden and enjoy a level of welfare that is only a tiny fraction of what is available in most OECD nations.

    If you want to save money wisely start defunding all the college institutions that are not-science oriented (with the exception of law) and all the child-rearing oriented programs: there are enough idiots  with a liberal arts degree spewing non-sense and sure as hell i don’t wanna pay for some other dumbo breeding decisions.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    These progs, and you are 10000% correct in stating that they are everywhere, are violent parasitic little worms. Too many things they feel entitled to, as if its a right to have free this and free that. Unfortunately, it is scoundrels like Ahn and Moon, and communist rats like Lee that tell them they are entitled to a life of free goodies. And like dogs, rabid dogs, they will attack those who stand in their way with a bucket of cold water to wake them up from this sick dream. Get ready for street battles, I really feel like they will simply drop the charade this time and just lash out for no other reason than that they lost. Last time at least they pretended to have a pretext.

  • HSchmidt

    It’s not the old people. 

    Korea needs to stop giving so much welfare for mail order brides and multicultural families. South Korea gives free education and free housing to multicultural families, yet real poor Koreans can’t get any welfare?

    Is Korea really Korea anymore? Why is the Korean government so anti-Korean? This needs to change. 

    I urge all Korean netizens to speak up. Korea needs to ban the mail order bride industry, stop giving so much welfare for multi-racial and multicultural families and stop giving these people attention. 

    Why is Korea so pro-multicultural? As a foreigner, this disgusts me. The Korean government needs to stop promoting multiculturalism. Didn’t South Korea learn from the 2011 London Riots? The 2011 London Riots were fueled by interracial conflict. Also the German Chancellor, Angel Merkel, even said that multiculturalism has failed in Germany. 

    So why is Korea following the failure of multiculturalism?

  • HSchmidt

    I partly agree. Young people under 15 years of age do not deserve the level of welfare required for older people. 

    However, adults in between the ages of 20 to 40 require additional support especially if they’re married and are wanting to have children. 

    If Korea wants to increase their birth rate, they need to focus on this age bracket, 20 to 40 years of age. This is when most couples decide to have children. 

  • YangachiBastardo

    I know i am Malthusian minority when it comes to this topic…but there’s no need to increase the birth rate in this world, especially considering all the no-skill unemployable people we have, especially considering all the advancements in productivity and particularly in one of the most overcrowded nations on earth which happens to be one of the leaders in robotics and artificial intelligence on earth

  • YangachiBastardo

    I agree about the failures of multi-culturalism and i agree about the necessity of banning all the wacky programs to support multi-culturalism, still i believe people are entitled (on their own pocket) to marry whoever they want.

    We don’t need more Government interference in our private life, if you’re a fellow EU subject citizen you should know this.

    Why segments of Korean society are so fascinated with the European model, in a day and age when Europe is pretty much down on her knees, is kinda beyond me, but when it comes to lefties i follow the “Don’t look for sense where there isn’t any” rule 

  • CalendarCalligraphy

    Exactly this, and bumfromkorea’s comment below.

    Lot of hypocrisy, all around.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

     The answer isn’t MORE government help all around, it is less help. The answer isn’t a further step down the slippery slope, the ideal answer is taking a step back. But if a step back cannot be taken, then at least stand fast and hold the position, though ideal it isn’t.

  • YangachiBastardo

    The elders have often worked in the 60’s and the 70’s in dirty sweatshops for 35 $ dollars a month, they DESERVE help, other people don’t sic et simpliciter.

    There are moral priorities in a society: helping people who made possible for all those precious little things to drive their SUV on paved roads, study music&fashion in Milan, numbing themselves with Starcraft 2 on their super duper fiber optic cable is a MORAL imperative.

    Wasting money on people who don’t really need it to feed their desired programs clearly is not (in my world at least) 

  • will.i.aint

     All these country boys marrying foreign girls aren’t doing it because they prefer foreign brides – it’s because there aren’t enough Korean girls.  Back in the 1980s when amniocentesis made it possible for prospective mothers to determine the sex of the fetus – a lot of women got abortions after finding out they were going to have a girl – and kept on aborting until the result came back indicating they were going to have a boy.  It’s a dark secret that Korea doesn’t like talking about.  In 1985 the ratio of boys to girls born in Korea was 109.4 – a number already above the worldwide norm which is between 102-107 boys for each 100 girls.  By 1994, it had climbed to 115.4.

  • YangachiBastardo

    There’s also a farmer reject phenomenon worldwide and particularly in newly industrialised societies, where males from the countryside can hardly find a partner. Now i know Korean farmers are on average not doing well, but often this phenomenon isn’t particulaly tied to  a low income status.

    I know, back in my paternal gramps area, some dude my age who has a good agri (grapes&wine) business, he clears for himself 200k euros each year and he’s been earning that cash since he was in his mid 20’s. He owns several properties, a few of ’em abroad and he’s a normal looking dude. 

    Well he couldn’t find anybody around town who would want to date his ass, he ended up marrying a woman from Eastern Java, who in the beginning was scared he was going to make her work in the fields…now she struts around in her top of the line XK Coupé, covered with gold jewelery and designer clothes.

    People are often irrational when it comes to some perceived social standing

  • CalendarCalligraphy

    1) There are moral priorities in a society. Caring for its most vulnerable members is one of them. Should the elderly receive increased welfare? Of course, especially in a country where the elderly have traditionally depended on their children, and there are a criminal number abandoned by their children to live in poverty. Please point out anywhere in my reply that suggested otherwise that these people receive help.

    2) Your second paragraph is just ridiculous. The programs we’re talking about are things like childhood nutrition programs and increasing access to affordable education. Do you think the people who need these programs are sitting on their asses playing Starcraft 2 all day and jetting off to Milan to study music and fashion? Do you think all poor people are lazy, good-for-nothing welfare scroungers?

    The elderly are not the only ones who need help in Korea, and that was the point of my reply.

  • CalendarCalligraphy

    I respectfully disagree. We should help the vulnerable, we can do this through the government, and in the end, we will all benefit.

  • 3gyupsal

    Why not blame Ahn Cheol Soo for running, or Moon Jae In for not reaching out to more young people?  I remember when Ahn Cheol Soo was still in the race, how excited the college students were about democracy.  ACS visited my university and the students went wild.  A few weeks later Lee Jeong Hee made an appearance on in front of the same university and only about thirty people showed up. I think that the American campaigns were a complete waste of time and money, (6 billion dollars could have been spent a much better way) but they made the Korean politicians look like total amateurs.   Young people of Korea, if you want a progressive politician to win, just get more people to vote for that person.  Many old people don’t have jobs, and they don’t have much else to do, so going to the polls gives them a nice outing.

  • YangachiBastardo

    Yes we should help the vulnerable, i don’t disagree with that and i’m not against some Government intervention in the economy for that matter.

    My point is that over the last few decades developed economies went too far in extending benefits indiscriminately, mostly to keep people docile and employed and to feed an unrealistic process of economic growth with a burgeoning amount of debt.

    This process is unsustaianble and it has to be cut, hell all the political posturing we are witnessing now around the world  can be mostly reduced to who’s gonna pay the actual bill for the inevitable cuts. The libs defend certain interests, the cons of course back up other consortia but they’re both about preserving for themselves the biggest slice of a shrinking pie.

    Want 2 examples, 1 specifc and 1 general of the current madness of our societies ?

    Let’s start with the general one: according to a NYT story in 1960 there was 1 person on disability for 134 people in employment, now it’s 1 out of 16. 

    Now i don’t think we need to argue about how better productivity and working conditions have got in America in the past half century…it is exactly  things like that make people believe everybody on welfare is a dishonest, lazy scrounger. When we rain benefits on people indiscriminately we end up with a situation where there’s less available for who really need it and where people resent welfare recipients, assuming they’re all thieves.

    Now the specific one: back in spring 2010 my son got into a fight in school during a basketball game, some kid stomped on his left foot, nothing that doesn’t routinely happen among 9 years olds. The day after when he woke up, his foot was swollen and really blue, so i took him to the ER cos i thought it was broken. Scanning revealed he just had a bad bruise and nothing more.

    I was charged for all this exactly NOTHING, not even a few pennies, at the time i was making really big money but still in Lombardia (the region where i live) healthcare for people 15 and younger is entirely for free, no matter the income of the family.

    Does this make sense to you ? you think it is sustainable path Korea should take ?

  • will.i.aint

     “Let’s start with the general one: according to a NYT story in 1960 there
    was 1 person on disability for 134 people in employment, now it’s 1 out
    of 16.”

    I wonder how much of that increase is attributable to obesity?

  • Cm

    Like I’ve always said, once you go down this path of welfareism, there is no turning back.  Once people feel they are entitled to a free lunch, they aren’t going to easily give it back when times are tougher and programs must be cut.  Once free programs are in place, it’s not an one time expense payment.  It’s an on-going expense that must be kept funded with costs increasing each year.  Something has to give, either the tax rates for everyone have to go up, or spending in other areas must be cut.  But neither of the parties explained satisfactorily how they were going fund the expensive perpetual programs, which tells me most of their promises will never see the light of the day. Of course I could be wrong, and Park Geun Hye starts the great war on poverty program of her own, and start running up unsustainable budget deficits that will build into a huge debt ball. 

  • Cm

    Take my parents in-laws for instance.  They still support their third son who is 40 years old.  When he got married five years ago, they paid for the expensive wedding,  bought wedding gifts for their in-laws, bought him a house, and later bought him a car.  The whole cost of the wedding ran up easily into half a million dollars territory.   They did it through giving what they had, and funding through debt.  They will never enjoy a secured financial retirement because they gave it all to their children, specifically, their son.  Their two daughters, including my wife,  had received virtually nothing.  This is not a unique story, it’s a typical story for many older Koreans who are facing a bleak future unless they get help either through their children or the government.  

  • YangachiBastardo

    My ex inlaws are the same, only they didn’t have any preference for the male of the family, they were just plain generous or irrational with their money (we didn’t take anything from them by the way as we knew we were trying to make a not so easy situation work).

    Sometimes the generosity of Korean parents shock me, and i’m supposed to come from mama boys land, i wonder if it is done out of some sort of guilt trip, as a way to make up in their adult life for the harsh upbringing their kids suffered in school, in the army, in the lower rings of the corporate world etc.

  • imememememe

    The whole wedding culture will change in Korea within ten years. No more one hour, hurry up and let’s get the fuck outta here ceremonies. Koreans will take ceremonies from other cultures and come up with ways to wed without all the BS. And these “traditional” wedding-related businesses will go out of business and replaced by those offering cost-conscious yet creative/romantic wedding planning. I am almost sure of this. In fact, I’m surprised it’s not happening already.

  • Arghaeri

    I resent that remark I have plenty to do, it was a nice outing though.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    I have no problem helping the vulnerable. I do have a problem doing it through government and hence paying for it through extorted money. The vulnerable, and I mean the truly vulnerable, are a small minority in any country. Anyone can see the statistics about the mind-boggling growth of the number of people on all sorts of assistance since the 1950s in the US. Some of the statistics have been quoted, from 1 person on disability for 134 people in employment, to 1 out of 16 today, or the fact that 15% of Americans are on food stamps today. Are these people truly vulnerable? I defy you to tell me 15% of Americans need to receive food stamps and would die without them. This story has been told before, in country after country in the US. As the government expands its welfarism, it never stops. Europe is pretty much crippled, the US is heading that way. Why does Korea want to follow? And the government gets more and more people dependent on it self, it infantilizes those people, like a drug dealer. There used to be something called shame associated with receiving government hand outs. Today, people who do not need them feel entitled to them, they make it a point of pride to demand more. The number of those who are truly vulnerable is small and they can be helped as they have always been helped, through private transfers.

    The government in a welfare state is a drug dealer who hooks his customers on free goodies.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

     Helping the truly vulnerable is fine, doing it through government is a horrible mistake.

  • Brendon Carr

    So, let’s see: You want government support for adults 20-40 of child-bearing age, and government support for adults who are “older people”. Who’s going to do the supporting?

  • SalarymaninSeoul

     Why, THE GOVERNMENT, of course. Maybe they will just inflate the shit out of the currency to support all these people.

  • Cm

     And the most frightening part is that those run away welfare costs cannot be ever contained because once people are hooked on it, they will never give them up.  If you look at the United States, it’s easier for politicians to cut defense spending, than the entitlement programs.  Fifteen percent of Americans on food stamps sounds crazy to me, but you’ll be surprised Salaryman, how many young Koreans admire that.  They believe S.Korea’s welfare budget must come up to the same level as the OECD average, to make S.Korea “look good” and join the gang.  It’s all about appearance. 

  • SalarymaninSeoul

     I don’t know where it comes from. I would say that maybe its Korea’s collectivistic culture, but then again the worst welfarism is in the supposedly individualistic West. I think that there are people for whom it is “trendy” and “progressive” to have the European style welfarism, and there are people who genuinely believe that the government’s role is to have its tentacles in every pie, and probably a tentacle up everyone’s rectum. They think this is what we have governments for. The most mind boggling thing is that these people see the dominoes falling in Europe yet they pine for that same bankrupt system here.

    15% of Americans on food stamps is scary, but just wait 5 years, it will be 10%. The people in charge will push and promote it so that they can “help” even more “needy” people.

    The one thing I can tell you is this: governments will be actively pushing for more welfarism. Defense spending is big but it is dwarfed by the redistributive functions of government. THATS where the action is. Be it the progs on the left or the conservatives on the right, welfarism will grow because it is in the interest of the State for it to do so. Government want one thing: Control.

  • YangachiBastardo

    Attorney Carr: Salaryman is right, you managed to master all these crafty tricks of the law but clearly you’re not versed in the most advanced modern economic theory. Of course money does come from the sky, as no self-respecting “advanced” or “developed” nation would lack a vast and efficient fleet of choppers or would they not have conquered the mechanisms of that technological marvel also known as the printing press ?

    Uncle Benny and Count Dracula Mario said so, who are we to doubt their word ? :)

    Merry Xmas all of you, lefties and righties a small endowement of nero d’Avola bottles is awaiting me 😉

  • Anonymous

    Yup, not only are many of them are probably shamelessly mooching off their parents, they are oblivious to the fact that they won’t be young forever.

  • Anonymous

    Lay off the soju. 

  • SomeguyinKorea

     Failure of multiculturalism?  Most countries are multicultural.

  • SomeguyinKorea

     It’s not only that.  You don’t throw people out on the curve just because they can no longer work.  We all end up old one day (if we are lucky).

  • SomeguyinKorea

     You don’t pay taxes?

  • Brendon Carr

    You moron. You don’t even know where to throw people out on. Out on the curve, eh? The bell curve, in your case.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Whats so good about paying taxes? Are you a fucking sheep? Wallet in hand happy to be fleeced by the government? I say “All the power to the tax evaders.” You sound like the French PM who said paying taxes is an act of patriotism and loyalty. Loyalty to what? The bloodsuckers in the government?

  • Brendon Carr

    I say all power to the tax avoiders, who are crafty and enterprising enough to navigate our 75,000 page US tax code to minimize taxes due. Would that there was a simple way, like a flat tax without deductions, to eliminate all that.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Avoider, evader. Doesnt matter to me. As Thoreau said, if we stopped paying our taxes we could break the power of the State. Thats the silent revolution we need.

  • Cm

    Korea spends second least on welfare in the OECD, in 2009. This article laments the fact Korea is not spending as much on welfare spending per GDP,  like France, Italy, Greece, Japan, US, etc. (look at this graph)

    uh… I think Korea’s goal should be not to be like the average OECD countries with completely messed up national budgets.  Korea’s competitive strength is being portrayed as a weakness because Korea is not part of the popular in-group. 

  • Johnnie yuel

    The spoiled young Koreans are famous for killing their parents in order to collect insurance too…