Chronic. The question may seem incongruous, while France is still mired in a historic health and economic crisis. And yet. Fifteen months before the presidential election of 2022, and while the aspiring candidates begin, on the right as on the left, to place their pawns, what will be the economic results of the five-year Macron term? The subject is anything but trivial, when you know the place that unemployment and purchasing power take, alongside questions of security, education or the environment, in a presidential campaign. While France has been living under a pandemic for ten months, the question is all the more complex since the government had, until February 2020, a more flattering picture to put forward: decline in unemployment, sustainable growth, return of foreign investors …
Of course, the Head of State has never been able to get rid of the label of “president of the rich”. But even the social crisis of the “yellow vests” had ultimately allowed him to brandish significant income tax cuts for his electorate, these French “who work”. How will they look at the state of the country, when 2020 marked the worst recession since the 1920s, and whole swathes of the economy are still devastated? What importance will they give to the repayment of the debt when the necessary support for companies and employees has postponed the consolidation of public accounts sine die?
Emergency and partial unemployment measures
Officially, this is not the time for this kind of concern. The curve of the Covid-19 is starting to rise again, our European neighbors are reconfining with all their hands and the prospect of a massive vaccination remains unclear, even if the initial failures have given rise to an acceleration for fragile people and caregivers. For the executive, the priority is always to show that the State protects the French, with emergency measures and partial unemployment. “We have no depth of field: I can see you, but the person behind you is blurry, explains a minister. We may still be there in the spring. Hopefully things will improve in the summer… ” Pragmatism or fatality?
Emmanuel Macron said nothing else, during his brief wishes to the French, on December 31: “The first months of the year will be difficult and, at least until spring, the epidemic will still weigh heavily on the life of our country”, admitted the head of state. A way of emphasizing that the return to the life before is not for tomorrow. How to talk about renewal when restaurateurs have always closed shutters, employees are worried about an upcoming reconfinement and companies are starting to lay off workers?
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