By Patrick Apel-Muller
The new head of the French Employers Association MEDEF, Pierre Gattaz, considers himself to have the ear of power, so much as to say aloud what employers want in France: ‘A tax haven’. He did not mean by this one of those tiny states which are used to launder money from corporations and mafias. Rather, to become a country where, by dint of ‘reduced labour costs and levies’ there would be no limits to the amount of wealth grabbed by capitalists. It is not enough, as new figures published the other day show, that the 500 richest people in the country have quadrupled their assets in ten years.
In describing the situation of small and medium private enterprises deprived of the means to ‘to invest, innovate, hire,’ Pierre Gattaz falsely blames public services, redistributive tax and the share of wages contained in social security contributions as responsible for this crisis. He knowingly spares from criticism the banks that charge excessive interest rates and are failing to provide sufficient loans – an oligarchy that sucks all the wealth from the real economy to the financial markets.
The president of MEDEF is not afraid of being contradicted by the government. Socialist President Francois Hollande confirmed on Sunday, during his speech at the Elysee Palace, his conversion to a competitiveness based on austerity imposed on the people, his conversion to laissez-faire liberalism.
‘What need of darkness is there if there are just hoarders and rogues?’ Robespierre asked with lucidity in the aftermath of July 14 1789. So why, today, hide this disturbing fact: in 2012, the increase in the assets of the ten wealthiest French is sufficient to cover the deficit of the pension system that is expected in 2020. Why, then, present an increase in the period in which employees must contribute to their pension [to gain a full pension] as essential?
The French government is in denial about the reality facing the country and the French people. Reducing public spending – that is to say, the public services that meet the public interest, and first and foremost that of low-income families – further increasing aid to businesses, opening the door to the dismantling of our social model via an agreement to liberalize the transatlantic market – is that ‘the new frontier’ for France that Hollande spoke of in his election campaign last Spring, is it this that is to rally the people of the Left! Not likely.
The heart of the Left is right to beat in unison when unions mobilise on September 10 against a cut to pensions.
Translation/edit by Revolting Europe
L’Humanite July 16, 2013