I will refer to the Triple Lock Pension in the UK as an example here:
"The triple lock was introduced in 2010 by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government. It was a guarantee to increase the state pension every year by the higher of inflation, average earnings or a minimum of 2.5%." (source)
I am wondering what the reasoning behind it is? Is it a concession made by a government in an attempt to pander to older voters, who generally have a higher propensity to vote? From an economic point of view, such a pledge doesn't make sense. The UK has been going through a period of austerity, with total public spending dropping by 3% in real terms from 2010 to 2011.
Pensions represent a huge portion of the UK's budget (£138.1 billion as of 2013). Pledging to always increase it every year ties the government's hands, economically speaking, as other areas of government are forced to take a disproportionately higher cut in order to compensate.
From a moral perspective, is it fair to always expect an increase? When the UK is recovering from recession, and spending is at a deficit, is it reasonable for such a pledge to be in place?
Anyway, I have only recently started following politics myself, and as such I am not aware of the circumstances under which this pledge was made, so my question really boils down to the following:
Most Western democracies have aging populations, and statistics tend to suggest that older people are more likely to vote.
So if the premise of my question is correct, is it considered an issue (perhaps unfair to younger generations who will have to live out the consequences of votes which are more decided by the elderly)?
Is there a tendency for democracies to pander to older voters, and if yes, should it be considered as a problem?