“The economic turning point of Emmanuel Macron”

FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNA – Emmanuel Macron, a candidate for re-election, presented his program to the press and the French on Thursday, March 17. For the researcher Sebastien Laiet, Emmanuel Macron’s economic project is inconsistent.

Sebastien Laye is an entrepreneur and researcher at the Thomas More Institute.


If Prévert-style catalogs of economic measures are back in the presidency, times have changed, and after a bottomless hiatus in 2017 between Bruno Le Maire’s 1,000 pages of reforms (which were quickly forgotten when he took over the reins of Bercy, but under the leadership of macronists) and the absence of the detailed measures announced in the Emmanuel Macron draft, it is the latter approach that now prevails, with the exception of the more detailed sequence of the LR Congress last autumn. It is clear that with the help of the epidemic and the geopolitical crisis, economic topics (purchasing power, inflation, growth, employment), which nevertheless prevailed in the expectations of the electorate, faded into the background.

In this lethargic context, the former candidate for undermining, but who always left us without economic reforms, preferred caution, reducing the economy to education, for example. Thus, one can criticize Macron’s Economic 2022 project for exactly what could be said about it in 2017: to err on the side of obscurity, often unattainable (are we not often dealing with slogans, not achievable reforms?), not take into account the macroeconomic context or public policy assessment (what works and what does not work in terms of reforms based on experiments).

This is originally a reform announcement that was telegraphed before the presentation of the program, namely the pension program and the goal of leaving at 65 years old. It is necessary to remember – let’s not be afraid of words – all the past positions of the candidate and his schizophrenia on this very occasion. In 2017, he pointed out that the kind of parametric reforms (postponing the retirement age or contributions) advocated by the right are futile, anti-social and cruel: they make people dream of a scoring pension project. Never implemented as such in any country, this reform could not be carried out within a five-year time frame: five years later, Macron, faced with an imbalance in pension funds, therefore returned to the “classic” reform, but proposed an option that makes it obsolete. He proposes to increase the retirement age by… nine years! Who can guarantee that his successor will continue the reform? What will be the financial context of pension funds in five or ten years? This reform makes sense if it is carried out in two or three years: it will balance the treasury (an annual break brings 10 billion) and will have a real effect. Extending it over nine years, all economists will explain to you that in fact there will be no reform: first of all, it eludes the real subject, namely the necessary capitalization of part of our pensions to save the pension system. also to protect our industry and our savings. Macron sins here with a lack of ingenuity or ambition.

Emmanuel Macron has abandoned liberal software in favor of a conservative path: taxes will not go down in your lifetime, but your children will get a bigger share of the pie.

Sebastien Laye

We also find him quite against the grain (but more in line with the most unimaginative economic conservative right?) over the fall of the estate tax. Here, again, there is no big bang on the rights, we will talk about clientelism (pensioner electorate): but this is an ideologically real torpedo of macronist software. From 2014 to 2018, wanting to be a left-wing liberal, Emmanuel Macron was a harsh critic of rents while helping entrepreneurs get rich. The message was that you can get rich in a lifetime by accepting inequality, but succession puts all talent on the same level.

Emmanuel Macron abandoned this liberal software in favor of a conservative path: ultimately, taxes will not go down in life, especially for entrepreneurs, but your children will have a bigger piece of the pie. If there’s a revolution happening, it’s here, at the very core of the Macronist software. This reform has no place in the book revolutions 2017 Emmanuel Macron. On taxes, he has also abandoned all ambitions: if the ratio of mandatory fees / GDP is desperately held at 46% for a five-year period, nothing should change. The state takes about 1115 billion euros a year. Macron promises 15 billion cuts, or 1%… And what cuts? The first, beneficial one, concerns CVAE and part of the production taxes. This is 75 billion, twice the European average, and we promise to reduce it by 7 billion: but this effort must be multiplied by 4 to have even the slightest real effect! The second tax cut, the TV license fee cut, is an insult to intelligence: where are the economic studies, the impact studies, that show the negative bias of this license fee? What economic activity is he now inhibiting?

Emmanuel Macron is promising, like all candidates, to return to a deficit of 3% of GDP at the end of the five-year term (a target that was due to be reached in 2024 a year ago) and finance his new reforms with 15 billion in savings. through pension reform (if it was less slow and spread out, he would restore 30), 15 billion savings on local governments (the great classic of the state making others pay, it remains to be seen what specific changes he will propose), and the rest by growth (at this stage it is not possible to estimate within a five-year period).

He also decided to revive the Arlesian in terms of reforms, the issue of the RSA and its counterpart, talking about working from 3 pm to 8 pm a week. Morally, most of the population will join him. But no economist or lawyer would bet on the feasibility of this reform in its current form. First, some departments experimented with it, and the results were not conclusive. If there are activities that take someone 20 hours a week, they lead to work. We do not have hours of general interest for prisoners there, which are also difficult to organize with our current legislation. This is also our second comment on this pseudo-reform: “between 15 and 20 hours,” as the president said, is 17.5 pm, that is, half the working time according to the law. The model exists and it must respect the minimum wage, our hourly minimum wage: either we get an RSA of 750 euros (versus 430 euros today) or we break the social law. Most likely, we will never carry out this reform.

If the main macroeconomic lines are inconsistent or chaotic, some microeconomic approaches, while not revolutionary, are more convincing.

Sebastien Laye

If the main macroeconomic lines are inconsistent or chaotic, some microeconomic approaches, while not revolutionary, are more convincing; assistance in leasing electric vehicles, a reminder of the previously announced innovation plan, testify to the real continuity in the transition to energy and technology. We also find the DNA of the 2017 campaign in terms of work, with the promise of an overhaul of unemployment insurance and Pôle Emploi or the renewal of savings accounts: as if the work of the first five-year term had stopped in transit, between the Yellow Vests crisis and the Covid-19 crisis. and that it had to be renewed if re-elected. Unfortunately, without solving real problems, such as going out of 35 hours or too low a salary in France.

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