5 Comments
May 23, 2023Liked by James Graham

This is a great article. I intend to share it with friends. Do you have an update on this year’s predicament? We don’t get any news about it over here in the states.

Expand full comment
author

I should post one. Coming shortly. Says he.

Expand full comment
Mar 11, 2023Liked by James Graham

At last ! a great article explaining some of the misinformation the American and British press parrot about Macron's "Reform" such as the lie that he has a popular mandate and that age is the main issue. It is however an alarming fact that prolonging the years of work required for retirement will increase unemployment and make it even more difficult for older unemployed workers to ever be re-hired. Hopefully, as suggested by this historical example of the miners, a united popular resistance may force the government to back down.

However, there are so many layers to the History of the creation of the Security sociale in France that would be interesting to recount... how it was created by the French program of the Resistance as a salary-set-aside-for-the future. This system much despised by employers as the "charges sociales" employers tax was founded as an extra-governmental fund, co-managed by trade unions and employers. Over the years, the employees share in contributions to the fund were increased (which is why the trade unions and working people in general consider that it is not up to the government to decide on it's future !) In the '80's and '90's this principle was surreptitiously undermined by the government's contributing to cover the employers tax or "charges" in programs to encourage hiring employees under 26 or over 55. These initiatives never created new jobs they just pushed all salaries down and created the precedent that the government had a "responsibility" to make sure future expenses could be met. As some Senators have pointed out, the predicted demographic crisis of fewer working people for retirees has already been met and the financial viability of fund is not really in danger. The problem is the Neo-liberal ideology that competition rather than solidarity is necessary and that every working person should "think like a capitalist"and "manage their investment" for their retirement. However we saw what happened in 2008 to these "diversified stock portfolios".

Frederic Lordon wrote an excellent book "Fonds de pension, pièges à cons" which should be translated into English. In the best of times — a "socially motivated" fund like that of firemen in the US can be investing in property speculation in France which turns low-income renters out of adhoc social housing to create new "boutique hotels" in the center of Paris. In the worst of times — as in case of a stock market crash, the retirement fund can just go "up in smoke".

Furthermore if in the past the government could, with so little ado —decide to contribute all taxpayers' funds to cover the employers "charges sociales", then the recent extraordinarily high profits of the French and multi-national companies could and should now be used to finance a massive inflow to retirement funds to insure their future.

Expand full comment
author

A very good and wise letter, MP. I wish I had more responses like that, pro or con. You raise issues, such as the 'reasoning' behind the rise on retirement age, which few talk about and make me think a dive into the details is called for. Thanks again.

Expand full comment
author

Back to you soon. Thanks so much for that, MP. (Edited and extra-juiced since the original posting. I can't help myself.)

Expand full comment