Mathias Dewatripont, economist, was the guest of the Grand Oral RTBF / Le Soir sur La Première. In the aftermath of the announcement of the regulated reopening of certain businesses, to prepare for parties which will be organized in ultra minor mode, he takes stock of the crisis and the coming days.
SWhen it comes to relief for traders who will be able to reopen on December 1, thousands of self-employed people in Belgium, especially in the HoReCa sector, are still suffocating. The epidemic has brought the country to a halt and the economic damage is gigantic. Will the state have the kidneys strong enough to support all the promised aid and the financial consequences of 2020? Mathias Dewatripont proposes a solution: “This crisis creates a lot of inequalities, poverty, loneliness. We hear a lot, and this is normal, from people asking for help. But we do not hear enough those who say “I’m fine, and I will help”. People like me who have kept their salary, who can work quietly at home … I would find it normal that there is solidarity on the 2020 income, to help the State not have to increase its deficit too much. There were already solidarity contributions in the 1980s and 1990s. The economist specifies that he is talking about a solidarity contribution which would be here targeted on those who have not lost income, with the exception of workers who are on the front line of the health crisis or, for example , pensioners who took care of children who needed to be looked after.
Between science and the stock market
If the federal decisions announced this Friday evening may seem strict or extremely cautious for some, it is clear that it is a compromise between economic emergencies and appeals, the advice of scientists who hammer home that it is still too early to reopen “non-essential” businesses. Mathias Dewatripont rather welcomes the political position taken. “Clearly, when you look at the numbers, containment is working! At European level, Belgium is no longer one of the most affected countries. The decision of this Friday is good from a global health point of view. In the spring deconfinement, the stores had reopened in phase 1B, here we heard longer, we also have the obligation to wear the mask that we did not have in May. And at the time the measures had worked. “
Frank Vandenbroucke: arbitrary?
Three months ago, we waited for the famous barometer like the Messiah, to count on a clear vision of the day to day situation, with stages, thresholds. Mathias Dewatripont was in favor of the concept, but today Frank Vandenbroucke abandons the idea. Which raises the question: does the concept of exchanges with a scientific committee which is installed alongside politicians still play its role? Or has the federal Minister of Health started to make arbitrary decisions? “I think it would be good to have formal expert committees that would be chosen through a formal process set up by governments. I believe that, generally speaking, in democracies, on the one hand, we want to follow scientific advice, on the other, when science is politically unacceptable, we want to be able to do what we want. The problem today is that there is an official committee whose advice we do not follow. If we don’t even talk about it anymore, that does indeed pose a problem. “