Marine Le Pen’s economic program: a dangerous chimera

April 20, 2022

Since World War II, the far right has never been so close to power. Their arrival in business would have considerable consequences for our society and the values ​​of our country. His candidate’s desire to move away from Europe and his democratic principles to approach populist leaders such as the Hungarian and Polish leaders, or even a dictator like Putin seems especially troubling. These points have been mentioned many times, rightly so, to block it. But what about your financial program?

The management of a state can be compared to the budget of a family or a company. If you borrow, you have to spend the money to get it back, you have to be credible and you need guarantees. For France, these three criteria translate into this: to prepare for the country’s economic future, to gain the trust of lenders and the support of Europe.

A Prévert-style list

The Marine Le Pen program is a Prévert list of new expenses, much underestimated at 68 billion euros / year, financed with the help of receipts, unfortunately, partly fictitious. Starting with a saving of 16 billion / year linked to immigration measures. This calculation is based on air: all studies show that immigrants cost almost nothing in public money, because the social security contributions of those who work compensate for the expenses covered by our social protection system. The 15 billion new revenue that the candidate promises to obtain by fighting tax and social fraud seems hypothetical: those that are not, in no case will be generated by the implementation of European regulations on electronic commerce and electronic invoicing (to fight effectively against VAT). fraud), and by the program implemented by the Health Insurance against social fraud. And what about the eight billion savings in the functioning of the state (how will these savings be made?) Or the two billion corresponding to hypothetical spending cuts usually linked to insecurity?

By contrast, the cost of your spending program seems to be greatly underestimated. This is especially true of the highly controversial issue of pensions (the cost of which, according to the Institut Montaigne, is underestimated by 17 billion). There is no miracle solution. Successive reforms have allowed our pension system to be partially rebalanced in recent years, but it remains fragile. Perhaps we want to consider a new reform to consolidate the system, increase the level of certain pensions, take more into account the shortages. But to achieve this, there are only three lasting solutions: (1) increase social security contributions, which are already extraordinarily high in France and which weigh on the purchasing power of employees and the unemployment factor, (2) reduce the amount of pensions, or (3) work. longer as in other developed countries. The choice between these three options is a choice of society. On the other hand, lowering the retirement age to 60 will bankrupt our system, with significant consequences for the most disadvantaged.

The most surprising thing about all these proposals is that this public money will not prepare for the future or reduce inequalities, as spending is misguided. To give just one example, a measure by Ms. Le Pen would exempt a senior graduate under the age of 30 from income tax who earned five times the minimum wage.

Direct costs for citizens and businesses should also be added together; the xenophobia of their program will scare the doctors, scientists and engineers we need and deprive our companies of the manpower they need.

After “everything needed” from the Covid period and the invasion of Ukraine, and in preparation for possible new crises (new viruses, military threats, widespread protectionism), we can no longer load the ship. However, Marine Le Pen’s program essentially finances consumption and includes almost nothing to allow the creation of collective wealth, apart from the reduction in taxes on production, already initiated by the current government. It is a program that never projects itself towards the sources of our purchasing power of tomorrow, education, higher education, research and development. It does not respond to the climate crisis that will severely affect our children and grandchildren (not to mention the fact that the reduction of VAT on oil products, the dismantling of wind turbines, the moratorium on solar energy should lead us to term to buy more carbon electricity abroad).

A European version of Argentina

To fund its program, to attract companies that create jobs, Marine Le Pen will need the trust of investors. Public debt has risen from 100% of GDP to almost 116% of GDP, but this has not affected the credibility of the French state because much of the reforms carried out (in the labor market, vocational training, taxation ) have arrived. to support growth and enable a drop in unemployment. In other words, the markets considered that this increase in debt continued to be sustainable because France was embarking on a path of economic growth. On the other hand, the lack of foresight in Marine Le Pen’s program will not reassure the latter, who will see in France a European version of Argentina (formerly one of the richest countries in the world, sunk by irresponsible public management).

Confidence is also based on attitudes. Like Putin and Trump, Marine Le Pen hates recognized experts, equated with an “above-ground elite” and above all potential adversaries. However, if experts are wrong, they are far less often wrong than those who have neither the training nor the time to understand the complex problems of today’s world; and do not seek votes. Had he been in power, Marine Le Pen would have taken problematic positions on the issue of vaccine and health care, both health and economic.

France is a small country and needs Europe to exist in the geopolitical scene: to protect itself, to negotiate international agreements, to regulate digital, to fight tax evasion. But also to withstand a potential new economic crisis. If the European countries are in debt today, it is partly because of the European Central Bank’s “cost is the cost” and the progress of European construction over the last ten years, included in the budget with the European recovery plan that France is benefited from financing his own investment plan.

However, if Marine Le Pen no longer talks about leaving Europe and the euro (the “Frexit”), its program is tantamount to complying with European standards and will immediately create a deep crisis in the Union, with immediate repercussions on France’s budgetary credibility. Our European neighbors will never accept the creation of a “European Alliance of Nations” that the candidate of the National Assembly would like to gradually replace the European Union, the questioning of the free movement of goods and people, the revision of the constitutional law that would establish the primacy of French law over European law, or the unilateral reduction of the French contribution to the EU budget. He is a Frexit who does not say his name. In the event of difficulties, we would have neither the ECB to protect us from expensive debt nor European recovery plans; and that would be the end of the CAP that so much supports our farmers and rural development.

The French who suffer from a lack of purchasing power, whose work is difficult, who care about their future and that of our planet, young people looking for work and training will not find in this program answers to their expectations. In our anxious world, it is important to resist the sirens of a covert, unfunded program. Let’s think twice before endorsing a policy that will definitely impoverish our country.

This text was first published in La Dépêche du Midi on April 16, 2022.

Leave a Comment