Public budget of the elderly is 6 times that of youth – 07/14/2023 – Laura Machado

As we know, article 227 of our Constitution establishes that it is the duty of the family, society and the State to ensure that children, adolescents and young people have their rights, with absolute priority. In case of fire, adults must rescue them first, as I emphasized in the last column.

To bring this priority to life in the public budget, some reflections are needed.

It is natural to imagine that guaranteeing the rights of the elderly costs more than that of the youth. It is expected, for example, that the health care of the elderly will demand more funds and that, therefore, the allocation of resources from the public budget will be greater. This does not mean that children and young people are not prioritized, it is just an attempt to match the different costs of living for each of the populations.

The difficult decision that Brazilian society needs to make is: for every real spent on caring for the youth, how much should we spend on caring for the older population?

In the search for guides to better answer this question, the allocation made in other countries can be enlightening.

Different countries allocate to the population aged over 60, on average, twice as much as they allocated to the population aged 0 to 19 in 2010. Public transfers include education, health, pensions and other benefits, according to ECLAC (Comissão Economy for Latin America and the Caribbean).

Japan, for example, is a country that culturally sees age as synonymous with wisdom and has a tradition of taking good care of and revering the elderly. For every resource spent on the youth there, 2.2 are spent on the elderly.

The world average allocates twice as many resources as Brazil to the younger population. The country differs greatly from other countries in relation to the ratio between the public benefit for the elderly and for the youngest. We are the only country that allocates more than 6 times the budget of the youngest to the oldest.

Even in Latin America, the average ratio between benefits is 3. The second place in this ranking allocates 4 times more resources. As a country, we decided to make an allocation 3 times the world’s and twice the allocation of Latin countries in favor of the elderly and to the detriment of the youngest.

The consequence of this decision is that today poverty is 7 times higher among the population aged up to 15 compared to the older population. Among people aged 0 to 15, 35% are among the poorest; in the population over 60 years old, 5% are among the poorest. The result of this budget allocation is the concentration of poverty in the population under 15 years of age.

This portrait leads us to some reflections: are we adults taking proper care of children and young people? If we asked them, would they approve of our decisions?

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