THE billions of dollars of Christmas bonus payments for pensioners and retirees have come under fire from a conservative think tank that says they are part of a tradition of pork barrelling the grey vote. The Centre for Independent Studies says retirees on annual incomes of up to $80,000 had &quot;Christmas lunch on the taxpayer&quot;, thanks to the Federal Government&#39;s payments of $1400 to singles and $2300 to pensioner couples and to self-funded retirees who qualify for the Commonwealth Seniors&#39; Health Card. Instead of reining in the unsustainable handouts begun under the Coalition, the Rudd Government had &quot;fuelled the appetite of elderly voters &#133; for larger handouts and more of them,&quot; a policy paper says. Jeremy Sammut, the author of the paper, says the handouts to the elderly, and the probability of a $30 pension rise in future, would further undermine traditional values of thrift and a need for national savings. The expansion of the &quot;entitlements program&quot; would contribute to younger generations shouldering an unfair tax burden. &quot;At a time when wealth disparities between the baby-boomer and younger generations have significantly increased on the back of the housing boom, both the Howard and Rudd governments have implemented pension and other policies that disproportionately benefit older Australians,&quot; Dr Sammut, a research fellow, said. He said both the Howard and Rudd governments had shown willingness to &quot;pork-barrel the elderly while paying lip service to the unprecedented challenges associated with the ageing of the baby boomers&quot;. The paper, A Streak Of Hypocrisy , warns that the national failure of people to save put particular pressures on the health care system and would make Medicare unsustainable.