"Bunking off to do a bit of gardening or long-postponed travel" indeed. If only.
There's a lot more to contributing to society than being in paid employment. Has your writer never heard of the concept of social capital? Nor asked the many voluntary organisations, large or small, the equivalent monetary value of the hours given by the army of active retired?
In the thinking that needs to be done about work and reward, let us extend our perceptions beyond the paid labour market, and take into account the work of great worth to a good society which wouldn't get done if it had to be financially rewarded.
I regard my pension as deferred payment from my earnings, enabling me to use my time and skills in a variety of ways. All those like me are a resource, not a problem - and certainly not bunkers-off.