Re: Historically you might like to thank Gordon Brown.
Well put yourself in GB's shoes. If it helps think of the last UK election where the Tories tried to do the sensible thing of getting the dead to pay for the social care of the soon-to-be-dead. All those who would now lose their inheritance (mainly over-priced houses) had a fit.
Government is about working out who will pay. Alas democracy makes this very difficult, as every member of the electorate wants it not to be them. So we have stupid schemes such as student loans, where the students borrow from their future to pay for their studies. (And most won't actually pay them back -- how does that work?)
I agree that the IBM decision is not fair, but then again, the miraculous world of the 80s and 90s, when Thatcher freed us all to make loads of money and investment growth rates were extremely high (think endowment policies), couldn't last. But it did last 20 years or so, long enough for people to think it would go on forever.