Retreat: “It’s time to deal with the real issues!”

With the last presidential election, we saw a fantastic remake of the 80s: retiring as a 65-, 64- or 60-year-old, such was the social election that the candidates offered us. 40 years after the 1982 reform, which advanced the age from 65 to 60 years, the French still appear divided. While we have more than 7 years of life expectancy, we are still only approaching the issue of pensions from the single prism of retirement age.

Could we not talk about anything other than retirement age? That does not seem to be the case, as the debate that crystallized during the presidential election suggests that this is the only issue that interests the French. 65, 64 or 65 years old, all the hypotheses were reviewed. We had the impression of meeting again during the debates on the presidential election in 1981. The reduction of the retirement age to 60 was presented there as a panacea to solve the unemployment problems that raged in our country at that time.

Unfortunately, the future showed that this 5-year progress would have no decisive effect other than blowing up social accounts and entering a vicious spiral combining the erosion of pensions and a fall in the standard of living of working people. As the proponents of a possible retirement from the age of 65 had pointed out in his time – unfortunately preached in the desert – the level of employment depends on many other factors than the simple possibility of leaving more older workers early.

The reality actually turns out to be more complex than the simplified slogans, and the French would learn it at their expense by an economic downgrade of their country. We can turn the problem around, the possibilities are ultimately quite simple:

  • Either we leave later to hope for a higher level of retirement
  • Either we stop earlier and then we have to assume that the amount of mandatory pensions is falling.

And in recent decades, it is not in the absence of public authorities to have tried to restore the situation. Without the reforms adopted (Balladur, Fillon, Woerth and Touraine reforms):

  • Pension expenditure will weigh around 20% of GDP, ie. in 2020, about 460 billion. mod 336 billion.
  • And the deficit would have reached 9 points of GDP, or 217 billion a year.

In the end, the efforts that need to be made (less than 15 billion euros) are modest compared to before.

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But it is clear that the majority of French people hope to leave as soon as possible, even if it means receiving lower pensions.

However, the issue of pensions is not limited to the individual issue of retirement age. We should seriously consider other equally important topics:

  • The financing of addiction, which is still not guaranteed despite the creation of the 5th Division,
  • Effective treatment of difficulties should lead to an active prevention policy that makes it possible to limit the effects instead of focusing on the consequences.
  • The issue of survivors’ pension rights, as women can sometimes be very losers with the current legislation,
  • The incentive to combine employment and pension by creating new pension rights,
  • By infusing a portion of capitalization into our mandatory system, governed by the social partners, which has proven much more than the state in the governance of the schemes entrusted to them.

We could also “get out of the box” by imagining that our system provides more individual freedoms than today. Why not imagine, for example, being able to take early retirement to finance a professional retraining or travel around the world. In return, the starting age for “real retirement” would be postponed or the number of rights reduced. It’s time to take a step back in the issue of pensions and address the real issues!

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