Wednesday, December 14, 2011

La Finesse de François Hollande

As predicted here many months ago, François Hollande has now "clarified" his position on the so-called "âge légal de départ à la retraite":
En tout état de cause, pour François Hollande, le rétablissement, pour tous et dans tous les cas, de l'âge légal de départ à la retraite à 60 ans n'est désormais plus d'actualité.
 Actually, Hollande has been saying this all along, and behind the scenes his advisors have been saying it even more clearly. Indeed, the candidate said on TV in 2010 that "Il y a un principe qui doit être posé : chaque fois que l'espérance de vie s'allonge, il n'est pas anormal que la durée de cotisation suive."

The problem, of course, is that the Socialist platform doesn't say this, and PS leaders were content to let those who protested against the most recent UMP tinkering with the retirement regulations believe that if they came to power, all the Sarkozy and Fillon "reforms" would be rolled back to the status quo ante of the halcyon days of Mitterrand. It was a convenient fiction then but an inconvenient one now, and Hollande is trying to shed it. For his sins, however, François Fillon has called him a "liar," igniting a mini-kerfuffle and some huffing and puffing in the press and on the blogs.

So let us stipulate that voters assessing the candidates had better not hope to differentiate between right and left on the basis of their positions on retirement reform, because when it comes right down to it, there is no discernible difference, and even if there were, there is no guarantee that it wouldn't succumb to expediency after the election--expediency and the need to reduce the budget deficit, to which both sides are committed.

You may not like it, but this horse has left the barn: the French will be working longer to collect their retirement benefits.


FrédéricLN said...

"this horse has left the barn"

A French reader is happy to learn idiomatic (American) English here!

Louis said...

Exactly! Wonderful one, thank you Arthur!

Linca said...

What's the more likely result ? French workers working longer, or simply collecting unemployment longer then getting lower pensions ?

It's currently the employers who decide how long employees work, not the retirement system, and they seem to prefer not to employ people between 55-60...

Anonymous said...

It doesn't seem right that people who contributed the number of prescribed years and reach 60 still can't retire. Since those are very few, there could be an exception made for them.
Especially since people don't actually work longer, since they're put to pasture very early (a "senior" would be 45 and up, according to Martine Aubry!!!)
The UMP platform calls for shorter, decreased benefits, which means that poor adults 58-62 will be out of the retirement plan and under the RSA, which is under the départements' budgets...

Arthur Goldhammer said...

If they've contributed for the number of prescribed years, they can retire before age 62 according to Hollande's plan.

Merlin said...

The horse has bolted.

Could it be useful to say that France spend 25% more on retirement and health than say, Denmark. Or that despite a large public service, Denmark has very few civil servants with their relevant "statut". Or that 40% of Danish citizen pay Income tax at the maximum rate (ca. 63%).

It seem to me that French want socialism, but of a different flavour, as if mass benefit could be paid by Ms Loreal and the 3000 richs.

If God forbid Holland is elected, either Ms Lagarde will run France, or Ms Le Pen will next turn.

The intellectual laziness of French socialists, specifically under M. Hollande's watch has been abysmal and we see the return of Molletism.

Words but no deeds. Leftism in words and inaction in power.