Today we address the always entertaining topic of…French Pension Reform!?! (Note To Editor: Really?…Okay….*sigh*…)
In all seriousness, Dear Reader, the subject is far more essential than you suppose and portends to affect you even if not French.
Thus, give me 800 words and I'll make you an expert — er, make that 850 words, and a dilettante.
Alright, there is going to be quite a bit of "Long Story Made Short” here but you'll get the gist of things…at least enough to impress your host at a cocktail party…
Ever since inaugurated in 2017 Monsieur Macron has been keen on making French Laborers work longer. (Which should have been a total shock to voters who elected him as he is a FORMER BANKER! Ugh!)
In an obvious strategy of asking for more than you want, Macron originally intended for Laborers to no longer retire at 62 (as today) and instead at 65 (as proposed). This was later revised to 64 for most.
Moreover, under the proposal the amount of years worked would also increase — a significant alteration if you are a woman who wants to raise a child at home rather than abandon it to écoles publiques warehouses.
Incidentally the current French system makes allowances for professions with early retirements such as Ballerina or Police Officer. While not yet final, some of occupations in the new scheme would be excised completely, such as Metro Driver.
Payment amounts would be set at a minimum of 650 Euros and maximum of 11,000 Euros annually.
Sums may appear generous to outsiders but the Pension Philosophy originates in the fabled French Revolution itself and the belief to "sell” one's labor is part of what designates one a free person.
Finally, the rationale for the entire revamp is that in 1960 the Worker to Retiree Ratio was (approximately) 4 to 1…in 2000 it was 3 to 1…in 2020 it was 2 to 1…and in 2040 will be 1.5 to 1.
Naturally there are myriad nuances, but this should give you the proverbial "Long Gallery” view.
Unbelievably, the Laborers of France were less than thrilled (shocking!) to learn that during a time of staggeringly high inflation that they would be required to toil a few more years for what they already thought they earned.
The result — as is the French way — was massive protests.
Indeed, these were the largest civil demonstrations in at least twenty years. There have been six momentous cavalcades across the country in only two months; one with well over a million people.
Most recently was a weekend protest which Labor Leaders claim saw 700,000 but Police say was a mere 70,000…and while far be it from me to denote which is correct…I wouldn't trust a government intent on taking away your rights to also be trusted with doing the counting of who is opposed to that taking.
Either way, it bears knowing Paris has a population of around 2 million so if even 200,000 showed on the best day it means ten percent of the whole city showed — which should be very impressive to anyone.
Lastly there are Public Opinion polls which can be a noble art when practiced with integrity…but this is politics. Yet assuming there is a significant amount of lying taking place authorities still admit at least 60% support the protests and 70% are against the new "Work Longer Slave” reform bill.
In a show of exactly what "Democracy” is worth in our sacred "Rules Based Order”…despite the overwhelmingly unified public opposition the alleged elected representatives likewise evinced overwhelmingly unified bureaucratic support in telling The People to please go straight to blazes.
Initial tally in the Lower Chamber (National Assembly)? A compromise was coming this week.
Early roll call in the Upper Chamber (le Sénat)? 195 for to 112 opposed.
Of course, it did not ultimately matter…
Because on March 16, 2023, when former Rothschild Banker Macron learned his votes in the National Assembly were not sufficient to teach the Plebs a lesson or two about who really runs things in France there was use of the "controversial” (read: blatantly Imperial) Article 49.3 to force through the agenda — even had the Deputies been insouciant enough to choose popular representation.
A capricious media frantically informed Frenchmen it was a mechanism on the books since 1958 and "entirely legal” (in the same way the Covid Abortion Injection was "entirely safe and effective”).
While technically accurate concerning Article 49.3 the reality is it has been almost universally deployed for quick resolution of quibbling issues and never before in situations of momentous societal ramification.
Thus, this week is going to stretch into two years more work for a whole gaggle of Froggies.
Actually, not entirely. (Third "big reveal” shocker of the day!…and in a single article, no less!)
To be candid one cannot lay the blame for this entirely at the feet of King Z and the Gibs Gang. The French have been debating raising pension ages for…well, ages. This is basically in accordance with most Western Powers and even Russia itself in recent years.
In this sense it would be incorrect and in fact insipid propaganda to claim financial support for Ukraine, or the refugees from Ukraine or anything directly involving Ukraine was the immediate cause.
No really, I mean it.
Except…(here is where the clever author gets you)…it may be the Ukraine Conflict is a proximate cause.
What is meant by that is the "Crisis-Opportunity-Solution” Method of governance so prevalent in the West. This is the scenario by which government either creates or makes use of a perceived problem to then capitalize on public outrage or distraction after which is offered an otherwise unpalatable solution.
The manner in which Ukraine would be effective here is to use "Russian Aggression” — "Freedom Crisis” — "World on the Brink” hysteria to redirect the popular gaze.
Élysée Palace promptly takes advantage of this moment to reintroduce the long-stalled Pension Reform Bill which is extraordinarily unpopular with the dirty laboring masses.
Solution accords with lowering the retirement age by one year (even while overall raising it by two years) with perhaps some other little international distraction that week during the final vote…such as a drone collision.
Voilà! — You get what you want, despite angering the entire voting electorate.
The main problem with this thesis?
It took not 850 but 1100 words to explain…yet hopefully what occurred in France is understood by all because whatever is your local essential issue Ukraine will be used to distract you from your own well-being.
Guy Somerset writes from somewhere in America
The Armed Forces of Ukraine will soon launch a counteroffensive against Bakhmut (the Russian name of the city is Artemovsk), General Alexander Syrsky said