Retirement and Energy Are Weirdly Correlated
Causal loops, like in Looper or Interstellar, where an initial cause creates an effect that then becomes the cause itself, makes for undeniably great entertainment. It’s less ideal when it’s live and involves people’s pensions.
What’s happening: Today marks the second week of an ongoing strike in France that has resulted in blockades of several French refineries and LNG terminals and a vote of no-confidence in the government. Meanwhile, across the pond, President Biden just issued the first veto of his presidency.
So, what do these two countries have in common, besides a historic beef with the British? A modern beef with retirement policy reform.
In France: Proposed changes to the country’s pension plan would move the age of retirement back two years to 64 and push the number of years of required social security contributions to draw a full pension to 43 years.
- Hey Siri, play “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from Les Misérables.
As a result of the pension policy changes, the French did what the French do best and went on strike. Almost one million barrels per day of refining capacity owned by TotalEnergies and ExxonMobil along with four LNG terminals have been affected by the strikes causing an expected diesel supply shortage across Europe.
In the US: Conversely to France, energy policy is having effects on US retirement funds. In a bid to take down their mortal enemy once and for all, US Republicans – with the help from a couple Democrats – narrowly passed a bill through both the House and Senate that would effectively outlaw retirement plan managers from considering ESG and climate change in their investments.
President Biden has taken this opportunity to use his very first veto rejecting the bill and ensuring that the choice is open to Americans on whether or not they will make ESG and climate change-based investment decisions.
- To veto the President’s veto, an unlikely two-thirds majority in both House and Senate would be required, where several Democrats would need to go against the president’s decision.
Zoom out: Whether changing social security policies leads energy supply shortages or changing energy policies leads to impacts on social security funding supply, its giving off some strong causal loop vibes.