Liberal and populist at the same time, because it takes everything to make a world. The head of state wants to distance himself from Germany's Bismarck to join the British Beveridge.
Sometimes journalists ask scholarly questions. "You want to go from the" social insurance "model called" Bismarckian ", financed by contributions, to the model of solidarity via the tax, called" beveridgian "..., question the service dummies. To which Emmanuel Macron answers: "Exactly." As for the reader taken aback by this dialogue at the top, he remembers the famous formula of Woody Allen: "The answer is yes. But what was the question?"
The question is about social protection systems. The head of state wants to distance himself from the German Bismarck to connect with the British Beveridge, we believe to guess.
The "Iron Chancellor", not content with making war on France and winning it in 1870, had created, ten years later, a complete system of social protection, a world first. Covering the three "risks", illness, accidents at work and old age, its principle was that of insurance, with contributions based on salary. For Otto von Bismarck, it was a question of cutting the grass under the feet of the socialist movements, of improving the social dialogue at the level of the companies for the greater good of the German industry.
In the middle of World War II, the British government of Winston Churchill asks economist William Beveridge for a report on health insurance. Which advocates in 1942 a system based on the "three U", universality (all the population), uniformity of benefits, management unit by the State and financing by the tax.
French social security introduced by ordinances in 1945 was inspired more by Bismarck's "insurance" system than by Beveridge's "assistance". Emmanuel Macron intends to break the balance of 1945 under the pretext that "sickness and unemployment are no longer personal risks on which we make sure by the contribution on the work, which was the basis of the contract of 1945. These are societal risks that justify national solidarity. They must therefore be financed by taxes, the CSG, and not by contributions to work ".
In doing so, one has the impression that the Head of State does not fully understand the scope of what is a tax: "a payment obligatory, and without counterpart, to the public administrations" (definition of INSEE). With the taxation of "unemployment insurance", there will be no reason for the executive to receive higher benefits than those of the smicard. However, the contributions paid by the companies will remain, also based on the salary, which could justify a modulation of the indemnities ... In passing, it is strange that the government perpetuates the myth of the "contributions employees" which would be of another nature that the "company contributions", while it is the same thing: the ones and the others enter in the wage cost for the company and they decrease in the same way the net salary of the employee.
The reform of unemployment insurance which will be discussed in October can only lead to a baroque device. Especially since, not content to abandon Bismarck for the benefit of Beveridge, "Emmanuel Macron prefers to approach the Danish model in which the unemployed, who remains mobilized on the return to employment, keeps important rights," says JDD Jean Pisani-Ferry, Macron's former campaign economic advisor to the presidential election.
Last level of complication, the government intends to introduce a bonus-malus in the US, in which companies that dismiss or use the most short-term contracts pay more contributions. All this starts from the naive idea that it would be enough to borrow the best of foreign experiences to arrive at an optimal system. False. "Ask a commission to draw a horse, and a dromedary will come out of it." This is the risk of ideological DIY because you do not have an idea-force. In public finance too, there is a sort of "furious craft". Thus Emmanuel Macron criticizes, rightly, the short-termism of previous governments. "We are a country of meteorologists: we look at the situation and as soon as it gets better, we should not ask for any more effort" (interview at Point). Yet this is what will happen for the 2018 budget: on the pretext that economic growth could be stronger than expected, the government decided to make fewer savings in public spending than it had envisaged at the beginning. It is the opposite that would have been relevant.
Such an approach is humiliating vis-à-vis our neighbors, in the eyes of whom we appear as the bad student who traffics the results (the deficit indicators). "In France, we have neither winter, nor summer, nor principles, but with the exception of these three disadvantages, it is a beautiful country", claimed the American humorist writer Mark Twain. A country that will organize the Olympics in Paris in 2024, could add Emmanuel Macron, who knows about populism. The residence tax exemption for the most part, the abolition of unemployment contributions "which will represent more than 250 euros per year at the level of the smic": the presentation he gives his action maintains the fiction that the state would create wealth and power of purchase. This is the zero degree of economic policy argumentation.
It is true that "macronomics" have no apostles to popularize salt here or there. The Elysee has no economic adviser in the sense that President John Kennedy had at his side in the White House John Galbraith, the great theorist of the "society of abundance" (it was the early 1960s). It is also true that we can not imagine Pic de la Mirandole surrounding himself with other heads of eggs.