Saturday, October 16, 2010

Another Comment on Retirement Reform

This from Éconoclaste. This is what I call a punt rather than an argument:

Or, pour mettre à plat le système actuel et le refonder sur de telles bases, il aurait fallu du temps, des années. Hélas, comme l'ont montré Pierre Cahuc et André Zylberberg dans un ouvrage récent, Nicolas Sarkozy a choisi une méthode générique de réforme qui est à mille lieux de pouvoir accoucher d'autre chose que de poudre aux yeux et d'arrangements entre amis ou ennemis. Eh oui, je ne peux pas en vouloir aux gens qui manifestent de ne pas faire confiance à la majorité. Et si je suis bien loin de partager la plupart des arguments avancés pour me traîner dans la rue, je comprends très bien leur angoisse. Peut-être que seule une forme de cynisme (ou de stoïcisme, je ne sais pas) et un peu plus de compréhension des phénomènes sous-jacents m'évite de sombrer dans la phobie de la réforme des retraites...
Cette réforme est mauvaise. Il faudra autre chose. (Italics added)

Note the italicized sentence. Translation: the protesting side hasn't really grasped either the nature of the problem or the nettle, but the people in the streets are more sympa than Sarkozy. What's really needed, Éconoclaste argues, is a complete overhaul of the system. One such plan has been proposed by economists Bozio and Piketty. Bravo. But no one in the opposition has given any thought to how such a proposal might be translated into a plan of political action. "This reform is bad. We need something else." Indeed. But we have needed "something else" for more than a decade now, and neither Left nor Right seems capable of managing it.

4 comments:

FrédéricLN said...

The Mouvement Démocrate and a large Trade Union, CFDT, actually put forward this alternative system since many years (years before Bozio and Piketty ;-) ).

But indeed, that are not major political forces. There is no opinion upraisal in favour of any alternative system.

I guess that the people just hope (do not really believe, but hope) that bankrputcy is "not" round the corner, and that things can go on the same way during some more years.

And I cannot blame them too much, if I consider that:

1) that's exactly what Mr Sarkozy told them in 2007 - our pensions system was safe until 2020 at least, according to him (not us!) - why would people not believe the new President?

2) when Mr Tapie gets 55 Mn$ for some quite invisible "prejudice moral", when Mr Dassault's company gets around 1000 Mn$ for some "Rafale" planes our Defense Department doesn't need and did not want, when around 100 UMP députés suggest to suppress the heritage tax (ISF) that is 4000 Mn$ worth each year, when Senators and Députés refuse - Left+Right! - to join the normal pensions systems and prefer to keep their super-priviledged own system (and so on), why shouldn't ordinary people hope to keep some thousands of dollars more as pensioners?

Yes, bankruptcy is round the corner. But our administration (with the exception of François Fillon in 2007) speaks and acts as if it was not. Why should the citizens behave differently?

Anonymous said...

Art, I disagree with your interpretation of Econoclaste's words. Rather than "the people in the street are more sympa", here's what I get from the italicized part: he understands that they're worried sick about their future and do not trust their government. Even though Econoclaste doesn't agree with what they're asking for wrt the pension reform, their worry and their mistrust make sense to him.

As for the Piketty-Bozio system, I clearly recall it being championed by the Royal camp before the Congrès de Rheims fiasco. Since Royal lost, the option is no longer on the table for Solferino. The leftist in PS are adamantly against it, I believe. Also, and that's purely my opinion, some of the people there (Camba, Mosco) don't quite see the point of upending everything.

One element I heard Royal say that responds nicely to Juppé's point is that not only would people contribute 41.5 years rather than 42, but jobs that cause high stress (to the body, if I got this right - people who die "young" or are in very bad shape early) would get one extra term added for each 3-year period added, effectively subtracting one year for each 9 year period worked, thus requiring people in these jobs only 38 years of effective contribution - close to Germany, where it's 35 years. However those in "enjoyable" jobs (say: professor, journalist, publicist, TV celebrity :p) would be "free" to stay past 65. That last part is not voiced too loud because the Solferino group would probably hate it.
The "Left group" within the PS is actually asking that college be considered a "contributing year" and the government to pay for it or consider it's been paid for, which makes no sense to me - the "9 year of hard labor = 10 years" thing makes more sense to me.

MYOS

Anonymous said...

Dreams of a new May '68? Discussed by a panel on F5
http://www.france5.fr/c-dans-l-air/index-fr.php?page=resume&id_rubrique=1555

Argos said...

La traduction de la phrase contraste trop avec votre compréhension habituelle de la grammaire et de la culture française. J'interprète plutôt cette phase tout comme l'auteur du commentaire précédent : econoclaste souligne davantage la méfiance que témoigne la rue envers le gouvernement que sa mauvaise compréhension des vrais enjeux.
D'autre part, lorsqu'on connait l'habituelle stratégie de contournement de Sarkozy (l'exonération des heures sup plutôt que la suppression des 35h, le bouclier fiscal plutôt la suppression de l'ISF), on est en droit de trouver suspecte cette réforme, qui attaque le symbole plutôt que le problème. Tout ça pour contenter un électorat et des marchés financiers qui doutent. On est effectivement en droit de douter que les raisons qui orientent cette réforme essentielle sont les bonnes. Et de comprendre les manifestants, tout en ne partagent pas leur arguments.