Pensions: an already heavy file and still going badly

Posted on September 21, 2022




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December 2019. Remember? We weren’t yet talking about Covid-19 and even less about inflation, energy prices and war in Ukraine, but the country was already on the verge of a nervous breakdown, once again on the streets, once again time in the trade union balance of power, the blockages, the TGVs at a standstill and the broken windows, to oppose with all his might the universal points-based retirement announced by Emmanuel Macron in his first electoral program.

Ah, France and its precious social model!

From the deficit in all the accounts, from the unemployment which persists in remaining clearly above the European average, from the purchasing power which looks gray, from the debt which prances more than ever, from the privileged statuses… and from the retirement plans very special in the public sector. But let no one ever dare to touch it! The “social breakage” will not pass!

The whole anti-capitalist planet, from the rebellious France of Jean-Luc Mélenchon to the National Rally of Marine Le Pen via the CGT, SUD and very supportive associates, watched over it at the time and continues to watch over it closely, now that ‘Emmanuel Macron, reappointed to the Élysée, plans to reconnect as quickly as possible with his profile as a great self-proclaimed reformer through a new reform retirements.

It should be remembered that barely a month before the first round of the presidential election, the president in the campaign had given us a little program wrapped up in a hurry in which he had launched the idea of ​​passing retirement age from 62 to 65 years old. A resolution that quickly blunt a few weeks later, when it became clear that Mr. Melenchongreat herald of retirement at 60, would be the arbiter of the second round which would oppose him to Marine Le Pen, who was (and still is) just as resolutely clinging to 60 years (with the option of a referendum popular).

But for Emmanuel Macron, the reform is not really optional. In the current context marked by the dangerously high level of French public debt, it must first enable it to show its partners in the European Union that it is resolutely committed to the path of structural reforms (I do not not surprise you by telling you that the government is miraculously planning to to bring back our public deficit at 3% of GDP in 2027…), but then and above all, to free up additional spending margins to carry out the frantic continuation of the “whatever the cost” inaugurated with the Covid pandemic.

Hence a new project where the legal retirement age could not be pushed back to 65, perhaps only 63 or 64, via the addition of a section on the increase in the contribution period which could go to 43 years. But above all, go fast; to be able to start reaping the budgetary effects from 2023.

For my part, it was and will still be completely impossible for me today to support social movements largely fueled by archaic Marxist unions, abusively entrenched in their privileges and whose power to cause harm ultimately constitutes the only argument. But it was and again is just as impossible for me to support the pension reform proposed by the government.

We can tweak all the parameters and all the sliders we want, add 1/8th of a quarter here, put bonus-malus there to encourage people to work longer, the simple fact of staying fully and obligatorily in the pay-as-you-go system that we have known since the Second World War puts pensioners at the complete mercy of purely political decisions, whether it is a matter of palliating chronic mismanagement or financing the social engineering that has always made pensioners squirm elected from our political parties, constructivists if not by nature, possibly by conviction and certainly by a spirit of personal political self-preservation.

I therefore suggest that you find below the articles that I have had the opportunity to write on this question since 2019.

Let’s start with a presentation of left-wing collectivist thought which, in our country, has dominated reflection on pensions since 1945 and condemns us to the pay-as-you-go system because that’s how it is, it’s good, it’s solidarity – just as badly pinned and no matter how custodial :

The initial reform wanted by Emmanuel Macron (universal with points) aimed to put everyone on the same footing. This meant the end of the special regimes of the RATP and the SNCF (in particular) hence the fierce opposition of the far-left unions, but it also included the end of the so-called autonomous regimes (lawyers, pharmacists, etc. ).

But the two things have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

The former are public sector employees. By dint of strikes and blockades, they have obtained multiple advantages concerning their retirement age, the level of their pensions and their contribution period to such an extent that their very special schemes must perpetually be balanced by taxpayers’ money. – 8 billion euros per year according to the estimates of the then Budget Minister Gérald Darmanin.

Conversely, the so-called autonomous schemes can only count on the contributions of their members and the proper management of the funds thus obtained in order to pay satisfactory pensions to their retirees and ensure the long-term balance of the system. Who says good management says reserves, reserves that the reform planned neither more nor less to appropriate in order to merge them into an increasingly state-controlled system which we know from the public accounts that it is badly managed and generates perpetual deficit :

So what might a good pension reform look like?

Basically, retirement is very simple. Those who work have the “foresight” to put aside a little of their salary each month to ensure their subsistence in their old age. If he invests the sums thus set aside – and no one says that he should invest them in junk bonds or in very high-risk stocks – he will find himself at the desired (chosen) moment with a capital that he will have himself. even constituted.

In the pay-as-you-go system, the sums paid in pension contributions by working people are not really “set aside”; they are paid immediately to pensioners. The assets that contribute have not yet insured anything for their retirement. The sums that will come back to him do not yet exist and he has no choice but to trust the administration to keep the system running until his death.

But what worked when the retirement age was 65 and life expectancy was 70, no longer works today. Between chronic deficits that force reform to be put back on the table every five years and arbitrary decisions by the public authorities to favor one category of citizens at the expense of others in the context of uncontrolled public accounts, such confidence is not reasonable.

Also, when I talk about cutting public spending, which happens to me quite often, I in no way mean that, for example, pensions should be arbitrarily reduced – which Macron did. I mean it’s time to get this area out of state control and give the French back control and responsibility for their retirement by breaking the monopoly of the welfare state and allowing everyone to include funded retirement in his retirement plan :

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To end on a high note, let’s not forget the brave politicians fully committed to this reform “so important for our fellow citizens”.

First Jean-Paul Delevoye, High Commissioner for Pensions then Minister in title then ex of all this because the poor darling had no idea at all that it was necessary to be rigorous in his declaration of interests at the time of enter the governmental sphere. He, the minister who claimed to govern us, he would have liked someone to take him by the hand and tell him everything he had to do about it!

In short, an inglorious resignation, even if Macronie outdid itself in hypocritical tremolos to praise the “brave decision” of this “skillful negotiator” whose repeated hiccups really annoyed him shortly before.

And then finally, Laurent Pietraszewski. Lawrence who?

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So. We are there. From now on, the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt will pass at the maneuver.

the political career of the latter is particularly sinuous: close to Martine Aubry at one time, he then joined Valls, before becoming Benoît Hamon’s spokesperson for the left-wing primary of 2016 and playing it very anti-LREM until the happy day of his entry into the government of Emmanuel Macron in November 2017 as Secretary of State for the Public Service to the Minister of the Budget Gérald Darmanin.

Note that he had voted against the 2018 finance bill like all his socialist colleagues only three days before his appointment! It’s wonderful to suddenly feel so close to a government with which you had nothing, but really nothing in common! A real renaissance, macronism! It promises.

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Pensions: an already heavy file and still going badly