Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cards on the Table

The PS has had it both ways on retirement reform for more than a year, but time seems to have run out. The failure to meet budgetary targets has led to a call for action, and that action seems to be taking the form of a lengthening of the period of contributions required for full pension payouts from the current 41.5 years to 42 or even 43.
C'est l'ancien premier ministre Michel Rocard qui a dégainé le premier dans le JDD le 26 janvier, proposant d'allonger à 43 ans la durée de cotisation, contre 41,5 actuellement. L'ancien premier secrétaire du PS Henri Emmanuelli lui a emboîté le pas mardi en déclarant au micro de France Info que "la biologie fait qu'il faut se poser la question de la durée de cotisation" 
All this is a bit disingenuous, since there has always been consensus in this wing of the party. It was the left of the PS that refused to go along. Hollande, as candidate, adroitly straddled the divide by agreeing with the principle of the Fillon-Woerth-Sarkozy reforms, that increased life expectancy required a longer period of contributions, while continuing to support the symbolic "legal retirement age" of 60--but only for those who had contributed the necessary number of quarters, which in practice meant only those who began work very early in life and never missed a quarter from the age of 17 or 18 on.

Now, if the required contribution period is lengthened even more, no one will be able to retire at 60 who has not begun work at 17 or even 16. Somehow one always knew that it would come to this, but presumably Hollande's hope is that by now the waters are so muddied that no one can possible blame him for turning the screw the next notch, tightening even more than Sarkozy.


Joël Gombin said...

The surprising point here is that Emmanuelli is - or ised to be? - the left wing of the party...

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Anonymous said...

Although people live longer, their time in good health has not increased as much, and the number of people who couldn't physically do their job or are hurt by their job falls disproportionately upon women and working class people.
I know it's not just for France, since it's been discussed in the US too (and detailed by Krugman in the NYT, too.)
As for France, increasing the number of contribution years wouldn't solve the problem since there wouldn't be more people working (French companies are notorious for finding that 55 is "old") and there'd be more people unemployed and more poor people living off "RSA".
new stats just published about "pénibilité" (how would you translate this?

bernard said...

Emmanuelli, the right of the party??? That would be news for any député des Landes! Next, Rocard will be his long lost buddy. LOL.

All of this is but the back and forth of necessary electoral dancing, which occurs in every democracy and never fools the electorate. As the Italiaan elections demonstrate, the electorate always knows what it wants and how to get it.

Mitch Guthman said...

I am very disappointed that Hollande didn't even try to open a discussion about whether people who have physically demanding jobs should be allowed to retire at sixty even as the retirement age was increased for those with more white-collar jobs. This seems to be Sarkozyism without Sarkozy and his (admittedly few) redeeming qualities as a person.

It is unfortunate that Hollande feels the need to continually distance himself from the left and even the center-left. I think he will have difficulty rallying the PS and the left to support his reelection (if he decides to stand again).

I still believe Sarko is going to run again and win. What’s worse, and I really hate to say this, if I were French I’d probably vote for him in preference to Hollande next time around.

Anonymous said...

Another point of view:

Just so you know, Emmanuelli is irrelevant. He's only hoping that by saying something opposite what he's supposed to say as a remnant of the marxist left branch in the PS, his comment will be picked up and buzzed in the press. Nothing more.

The plan totally lacks imagination. It's like "let's think INSIDE the box" is their guiding principle...