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.

Rama Yade in Court for Fraud

Rama Yade, once one of the adornments of Sarkozy's government, is in court today in Nanterre to answer charges of fraud. The allegations stem from documents she signed to establish residence for electoral purposes in Colombes. You will recall that she quit the government when Jean-Louis Borloo left to found a new centrist party. But since then, she and Borloo have fallen out, and her political career has hit on hard times.