The Macron revolution is coherent, it is paraphrased from a famous statement: everything that is good for the first of the rope is good for all the French. It consists of replacing the logic of solidarity with an individual financial logic. Some examples.
Macron replaced the ISF (Solidarity Wealth Tax) with the IFI (Real Estate Wealth Tax). Which consists in subtracting financial wealth from the solidarity tax to allow its holder to invest as he sees fit: in other words, to subtract from public decision, from public interest, from solidarity, to give to individual decision , in search of profit which can, of course, lie in investing in French companies (advanced reason) or foreign companies or better in hedge funds or investments of which one of the most powerful is known today by all: BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, with nearly $ 7 trillion whose main customers are institutional investors (Wikipedia). The company displays exceptional operating profitability: buy without hesitation (JDD 18/01/20).
Maintaining the tax on real estate wealth is an incentive for the most fortunate to disengage from investment in real estate, taxed, to switch to investment in finance, not taxed. However, it does not seem that there is too much housing in France!
This small gift with declining state resources is accompanied by the reduction of 5 euros per month per household in Personal Housing Assistance (APL). Reduction of levy for large. Recovery on the poorest!
On February 1, the Livret A and Livret du développement durable rates will be lowered to 0.5%, the historically lowest rate, with inflation close to 1%. For the Ministry of Finance, the rate of the Livret A is no longer intended to cover that of inflation (Le Monde 12/01/20). There are 55 million Livret A in France because it is the easiest way for many individuals to have some resources available in case of need. The ministry thinks that this drop in rates should encourage to put the savings in more dynamic investments! More risky! Encourage the poorest to risk their savings! To become a merchant! To tell small holders that they should invest them is to push them to take risks, to convert to stock market speculation? Waking up can be painful in the event of an economic downturn or unexpected funding needs. It was possible to lower the investment ceiling (currently 22,950 euros) and reserve this advice for holders of the most stocked notebooks! Small Livret A holders will probably be content to see their savings deteriorate rather than risk losing them.
The executive knows that its decision is very unpopular and concerns practically all households that hold one or more Livrets A. The remuneration has become paltry. For Bruno Le Maire, maintaining a rate of 0.75% would have been irresponsible in relation to our policy of investment diversification. And irresponsible for the thousands of people waiting for social housing. In fact, reducing the rate to 0.50% will make it possible to build 17,000 additional social housing units and renovate 52,000 of them each year. The measure penalizes savers but would strengthen the housing policy … He forgets to say that to compensate for this drop in the rate of Livrets, he forced social landlords to reduce rents and therefore their means. In other words, he organized a 3-band coup on the back of the poor and a more discreet operation, for the benefit of the banks. Because they benefit from 40% of the sums collected: they will remunerate this savings at the rate of 0.5% instead of 0.75%: a gift of 400 million euros (Liberation 18/01/20). It is interesting to note that the minister justifies this measure by pitting small and poorly housed savers, not to mention the benefits that banks derive from it. He never said how many homes could have been built with the amount of the gift made with the removal of the ISF.
The reform provides for a single retirement contribution rate of 28.12% on wages, but income above 120,000 euros per year will not give entitlement to retirement and will only be subject to a rate 2.81% of contributions, used to help balance the system. The sums which will not contribute to the balance of the system, on salaries above 10,000 euros per month, give a lot of hope to private insurance or other pension or investment funds.
Emmanuel Macron’s Liberal Revolution is underway: all free, all equal, all fraternal; all punters, all against all. Never stand in solidarity!
NB: even if work resumes without the total withdrawal of the reform project, the strikers have obtained a certain number of concessions. And no one knows what will happen in the days, weeks to come … One thing remains, the strikers are suffering a lot financially. Financial solidarity will be appreciated. Morally. Financially.
Below are some images of the January 16, 2020 demonstration in Paris. With greater participation from the teaching and cultural communities … And also police: on the route, many streets were closed by wire barriers …
Since the denied turn of 1983, France has entered a long sequence, champ-contrechamp, right-left, and drawn into a spiral of continuous social regression following the triumphant liberalism of Margaret Thatcher breaking the unions of miners and Ronald Reagan that of the air traffic controllers. Relayed in Germany by the social democrat Gerhard Schröder and the work-study association SPD and CDU-CSU (social democracy and Christian democracy). The other countries of the European Union have gradually aligned themselves with mighty Germany. The big parties in France, whatever their name, have only followed the same path.
This long period TINA (There is no alternative) is not without serious consequences: increased inequality, social and political regression with disintegration of government parties and rise of right-wing and far-right populism. All accompanied by small indignant jumps of moderate democrats who, after each electoral defeat, hasten to affirm that, the worst not having happened, everything was fine, that politics, the only possible, was the right one, that ‘It was only necessary to continue it and even to accentuate it.
Right-wing and far-right populism in the European Parliament has not yet reached the level of blocking like in the Council, with the necessary unanimity in certain decisions, but the PES-EPP duo have lost the absolute majority.
All this and even the long and painful Brexit, the first exit from a country of the European Union, does not change anything to the blissful optimism: these British islanders voted for an irresponsible clown like the uncultivated Americans for a rude and ignorant character …
Fortunately, this is not the case in France where a centrist white angel, neither left nor right, who, by his youth, his dynamism, his interpersonal skills, his financial support, appeared to avoid the worst essential and transform the old country into a young growth: modern, computerized, profitable on the condition of eliminating the refractory Gauls, the illiterate and others less than nothing …
But the new world resembles, in certain aspects, the old world: since spring 2017, 16 ministers have resigned, including only one for political reasons and at least 8 forced for problems which have nothing glorious! We are far, however, from Nicolas Sarkozy and his large directory of lawyers.
To be satisfied with sarcasm on this renewed old world or to make the list of arrogant, contemptuous words of the young first would be a serious error. This should only make it clear that Emmanuel Macron is hardly embarrassed by his scruples or his compassion. Simply forced, again and again, to explain what he is the only one to understand.
The young Macron is dangerous by an unlimited ambition, linked to the new great forces of international liberal capitalism (the relations between Emmanuel Macron and the men of Blackrock displayed in broad daylight are the example of the moment). Using and serving to achieve his ends the international financial forces and political and police resources of the State whatever the obstacles.
He was elected in the face of politicians who, from the left or the right, have pursued the same policy since François Mitterrand and raised the far right by their conversion to European liberalism. Above all, he was elected, not for his program but against the far right, by a large majority of voters in the second round. Majority which allowed Jacques Chirac to do nothing and which allows Emmanuel Macron to do what he wants, despite the late scruples of some elected officials who were not very perceptive disappointed by this or that aspect of a rightist policy, however coherent.
An ambition driven at full speed, at least in its first part: reforming France, taking the lead in a liberal Europe and playing in the top three, United States, China, Europe, in other words, Emmanuel Macron, what whatever the price…. for the French and Europeans. And for the future of the planet because reforms cannot affect the interests of those who rule the world.
To do this, he must first change France and the French: align economic and financial policy with that of Germany. This presupposes that the policy begun by its predecessors should be carried out smoothly: compliance with the Maastricht criteria, that is, breaking all popular resistance, yellow vests or unions, in particular the CGT. At the same time, if it was possible to also break the CFDT which, on several occasions, give its hand … He showed his willingness to speak directly to the people and his contempt for the intermediary bodies, characteristic of populists. And a more and more limping ni-left-nor-right with the use of immigration or the most violent police repression since the war in Algeria.
To comply with the Maastricht criteria, his financial policy made him the president of the wealthy: transformation of the ISF into an IFI, to direct the money supply towards the financing of businesses (French?) And above all much more lucrative speculation (in 2019 , the soaring stock markets contrast with the diminished growth of the world economy) and the maintenance of the tax on real estate (no need for investments in housing?) much less easy to use, reduction of social contributions decreasing the revenue, opening up interesting prospects for pension or investment funds (Blackrock, evening visitor to Macron), privatization of Paris Airport after the great success of that of Toulouse-Blagnac airport… Of course to the detriment of the poor people through the destruction of solidarity from the end of the PLA to organized austerity with the reduction of jobs, the disappearance of public services … and pension reform.
With the hope of becoming the good pupil of the European Union at a very favorable time: Brexit, weakening, perhaps unsustainable, of Germany: Angela Merkel’s imminent departure, absence of a clear majority, aging of the population, economic difficulties … A favorable moment also to make the European Union a true liberal power.
To have his hands even freer on the international scene, Emmanuel Macron tries to detach France from an overly visible imperialist past or, at least to detach its image from: since the denunciation of the crime against humanity in Algeria, past almost unnoticed and yet inadmissible for a candidate for the presidency of the Republic if it is not followed, upon coming to power, of an important initiative for a great reconciliation … until the disappearance of the CFA in Africa, a sign of the subjugation of the former African colonies, replaced by the Eco with some ulterior motives on a renunciation-substitution…
Having greatly weakened the intermediary bodies, the unions in particular, having satisfied its national and international financial support, apparently rid of a bulky past, Jupiter would then be free to represent itself under the same conditions as in 2017 with the same result and to to project at the head of a liberal Europe perfectly suited to the interests of large multinationals.
Multinationals which are already shaping the new world with financial means superior to those of many States, technical means of influence more and more effective on the individual and collective decisions!
With this in mind, the old, perfected means that their yellow vests have experimented with on their injured bodies are perhaps only an anecdote but are above all a warning for all those who would like to oppose this new world by market.
It is not certain that the people, here as elsewhere, accept this future that is being prepared for them, this planned crushing. Increasing inequalities, between and within countries, jeopardizes relative democracy, as known until now, and cares little, beyond declarations, about the viability of the planet.
President Macron and his government want to distort (déformer/réformer) pensions, in particular by abolishing special regimes, by establishing a point of financial equilibrium … (1) He has also decided to abolish the regime of the President of the Republic. Could have done better for health and social security: retire.
In 1982, an ordinance instituted retirement at 60, for 150 quarters (37.5 years) of contributions, at the full rate of 50% of the average annual salary. It was the good old days ! In a few weeks of 1993, Édouard Balladur tackled pensions in the private sector: the contribution period for full-rate retirement rose to 160 quarters (40 years), with a discount of 2.5% per missing quarter. The pension, calculated over the best 10 years, progressively over the 25 years, is no longer indexed to wages but to inflation. How to separate active and retired workers.
The new world on the move (La République en marche) follows the old pattern of unraveling.
É. Philippe: current retirees will not be affected by the reform. Understood by people aged 65 and over, the only age group which, at 49%, supports the project. Also supported by executives / intellectual professions above 55% against 27% of intermediate professions, 19% of employees and 16% of workers (2).
Today, under the general regime, the legal retirement age is 62. In practice, workers leave full rate at 63.3 years after 41.3 years of activity and the amount is calculated over the best twenty-five years.
To push for its reform, the government puts forward two strong arguments: abolish special regimes, create an universal and just regime. Communication is closer to advertising than to the truth.
The government counts 42 special regimesalongside the General Regime, the Mutualité sociale agricole, the Social Security of the self-employed. In the special regimes, 3 groups: civil service (civil and military officials), companies and public establishments, other regimes around a profession or a company.
The Labor Code (code du travail) recognizes 10 special regimes with 418,776 contributors, 1.4% of the active population, and 930,277 pensioners, according to estimates by the Social Security Accounts Commission for 2019. By integrating civil service and regimes assimilated to regimes special, this total climbs to 4.7 million contributors, or 15.7% of the working population, and 4.3 million beneficiaries (3).
The Ministry of Health and Solidarities puts 11 regimes on the list fixed by decree in December 2014. In its annual reports, Social Security (Séccurité sociale) estimates that there are 13 special and assimilated regimes but does not take into account civil servants, sometimes integrated into special regimes.
In front of this historical diversity, incomprehensible to ordinary people but the fruit of past struggles, Macron speaks of a universal, egalitarian system.
Beyond the intention and over the declarations, the complexity of the situations makes it necessary to adapt to social realities and the balances of power that multiplies the initial, unique model. De Gaulle, more modest, ruled the country of 258 varieties of cheese…
If a Macron reform is successful, there will be a diversity of 10, 11, 13 or 42, with two points in common: tougher conditions for access to retirement and reduction in pensions. All, progressive to be less confrontational … Liberation has published a list of special plans with the number of contributors and pensioners… (appendix 1) To stay quantitative, contributors / pensioners, a few examples show strong differences. To this should be added the diversity of methods: rate, duration of contribution, pension level, etc. The current conflict mainly affects: 2,058,000 civil servants and contributing military personnel for 2,355,000 pensioners; 2,223,000 territorial and hospital officials for 1,155,000 pensioners; 143,000 contributors to SNCF in 2017, 261,000 beneficiaries
Conversely, some plans have a few dozen contributors or pensioners and are in the process of disappearing: the last beneficiary of the Hérault railways fund died in 2017.
The candidate Macron’s program in 2017
Macron proposed an universal pension system where an euro contributed would give the same rights, regardless of when it was paid, regardless of the status of the contributor … without affecting the retirement age, in pensions and the pay-as-you-go system (système par répartition).
Behind this announced simplicity, the reform must take into account many specific cases: caregivers, family situations, life accidents, unemployment, hardship … In total, 132 pages by Jean-Paul Delevoye, to present his proposals, without responding to all questions (4).
The government project
Behind the declarations, simplification, justice, universality, appeared the idea of the government, especially of Edouard Philippe, the pivot point at 64 years because the increase in life expectancy would involve the need to increase the years of work . Which has not been the case until recently.
É. Philippe does not hide the financial nature of this point: it will be up to the steering body of the future system, made up of union and employer representatives, to chart the way to financially balance the system in 2027. So according to his agenda: age of balance, 62 years and 4 months in 2022, 64 years in 2027 to clear the deficit. With the possibility of retiring earlier with a reduced pension (penalty) or later with a bonus. Objective, more than 3 billion euros in savings in 3 years (5).
The pension system has a variable deficit: 2.9 billion euros in 2018, 0.1% of gross domestic product (GDP), according to the Orientation Council for Pensions (COR). According to another report, the deficit could reach 7.9 to 17.2 billion euros in 2025. But spending on pensions should remain stable between 2018 and 2030, from 13.5% to 14% of GDP.
Revenue and expenses
The increase in life expectancy, in number of elderly people and in number of retirees are facts. Revenue and spending on retirees are choices. To obtain their balance, one can increase or decrease expenses and / or receipts.
Discreetly, successive governments have decided to reduce revenues by exempting certain social contributions, reducing public services … Amputated revenues, it is proclaimed the deficit and to restore balance, reduce spending is necessary by a new method of calculating pensions including the famous point or the number of retirees by raising the retirement age …
The question of increasing revenues will not be asked. However it is possible: by fixing the same rate of levy to all, which is not the case for high incomes (6), by taxing capital income, by aligning the wages of women on those of men, by regularizing undocumented workers, by fighting against illegal work which would remove unfair competition … but we reduce the number of labor inspectors…
All measures that would increase the return of contributions. Especially by reducing the number of unemployed, the main plague of society: we prefer overtime work, without social security contributions, the lengthening of the working years, instead of favoring the distribution of work. Work less to work all? The choice is made: reduce expenses when the number of elderly people increases! It can only be by reducing the amount of pensions and the number of pensioners!
É. Philippe is committed: when converting points into a pension when an active person retires, a contributed point will always be worth an amount equal to or greater (but not less) than the basic amount entered in the reform (7). Even if inflation is galloping? How will Philippe be able to keep his word in a year, two years … if another government passes a law that contradicts its promise?
Those who retire at the pivotal age will receive a pension calculated on the normal value of the retirement point. For those who leave before, the value of the point will be reduced, for those who leave after, the point will be improved in the same proportions, X% per year… (7). Another encouragement to work more at the expense of those who cannot find a job.
It revolves a lot around the pivot!
After proclaiming, loud and clear, that it is going to unify the pension systems, the government must adjust the pivotal age according to certain criteria and … power relations.
The Minister of the Interior has already made derogatory promises to his troops who support him as the rope supports the hanged man… after the defection of 3 CRS companies during a Parisian demonstration … He announced the maintenance of the advantages of special police regime … the retirement age (52 for men in uniform and 57 for commissioners) and retirement calculated like everyone else, over the entire career but including all bonuses … resulting in pensions equivalent to those of today. But following a declaration by Macron ensuring that the military maintained their regime, the police demanded a future pension plan aligned with that of the gendarmes, which was more advantageous (8).
Like what, the fight pays especially that of the police, essential to an austerity government which handles austerity and stick.
The bonuses would also be included in the calculation of pensions for public sector employees. Compensation for those who receive it: 20% of the remuneration but varies greatly from one agent to another. Those who receive little or no bonus have a lot to lose, especially teachers (9). For them, it is the salary that would be highly upgraded. In addition, a bonus of 5% retirement points will be granted for each child from the first and another 2% for families of 3 or more children (10).
Bonuses could also be granted depending on the arduous nature of the work (11). Despite Macron’s class contempt for whom far too many French people have no sense of effort. And who does not love the word of arduousness because it gives the feeling that work is painful !!! However, courageous, Jean-François Cesarini, former socialist, deputy of LREM, and humorist (dark), proposes, for the teachers, a weighting linked to suicides by job, which proves the painfulness. Bad idea for J-M. Blanquer (minister of Education) because the average suicide in Education (5.85 per 100,000) is far below the national average, or 16 people per 100,000 in 2012 (12).
Will farmers get this hardship bonus? The 2014 ONS report reported their excess mortality by suicide, more than 20% above the national average, with approximately one suicide every 2 days (13). The increase in life expectancy is, for the government, an argument in favor of a later retirement. No for its modulation! Jean-François Cesarini could have used it as a criterion. It is, perhaps, unwelcome for a ex-socialist now LREM. At 35, the life expectancy of a worker is more than 6 years lower than that of a manager according to INSEE, average between 2009 and 2013 (14). Shouldn’t that be taken into account for retirement age?
Better still life expectancy in good health: number of years that a person can expect to live without suffering from incapacity in the gestures of daily life. In 2016, it was 64.1 years for women and 62.7 years for men according to the DREES (Direction de la Recherche, des études, de l’évaluation et des statistiques) (15). Life expectancy, without sensory and physical problems, for managers 35 years old is 34 years (35 +34 = 69), for workers, 24 years (35 +24 = 59). The majority of workers are in poor health before they even reach the pivotal age! Managers live longer, healthier, have higher and longer pensions (16). The pivotal age of financial equilibrium seems more telling for the government than the pivotal age of human equilibrium!There has been talk of the dangerousness of certain trades, and workplace accidents? In 2018, 651,103 accidents, 2.9% more than in 2017: including 551 fatal in 2018, 530 in 2017, not including farmers, self-employed workers, civil servants. No one will be surprised that their frequency is higher in construction and public works, 73.2 per 1,000 employees, then sailors, 64.8, than in banks, insurance and administrations, 9.9 per 1000.
The fatality rate for occupational accidents among seafarers is the highest, 0.461 per 1000 seafarers and 0.748 per 1000 fishermen. Risk 5 times higher, 8 times for fishermen, than in the construction industry with 0.093 per 1000 employees and 15.6 times higher than in all professional sectors combined with 0.0295 per 1000 (17). Of course, other professions are also at risk: pruners, roofers, the steel industry, garbage collectors … (18).
The Prime Minister was anxious to reassure the military, the police and hospital workers, by undertaking that the arduousness of their profession is indeed a criterion in the calculation of their pension (19). What can sailors, pruners, openers … and everyone else do to make themselves heard?