Former Budget Minister, Eric Woerth is a Member of Parliament for Oise and Chairman of the Finance Committee at the National Assembly. For him, behind the smokescreen of the billions spent, the stimulus plan presented this Thursday morning by the government misses the essential reforms.
The stimulus package has just been unveiled. Is this the electric shock that the French economy needed?
Obviously, a stimulus plan was needed, as all other countries do, and I will vote for it. But our plan is late. It should have been unveiled before the summer to build confidence for the start of the school year.
For his part, Jean Castex is pleased that with 100 billion euros, France is the best European student of the recovery …
The Prime Minister pumps up the muscles: “We are the country which has spent the most!” »Yes, but we were already the one who spent the most before the crisis! And it does not highlight the measures, but the volume of billions spent. However, the best stimulus would above all be to reform our social and fiscal model and improve our competitiveness. Eighteen months before the presidential election, unfortunately, I have serious doubts. I think this stimulus plan is a good pretext to abandon all the necessary reforms.
What criticisms do you address to this plan?
Mix apples, pears, cabbage and carrots! And to include many recycling measures, which already appeared in the amending bills adopted at the height of the crisis. Not to mention the ripolinage of even older measures: in terms of energy renovation, we come back for example to the tax credit for the energy transition (CITE).
The plan proposes few measures to revive household consumption. Is it a mistake ?
We had proposed a temporary reduction in VAT or vouchers on certain products to stimulate consumption. Afterwards, the machine for manufacturing sustainable public expenditure has already been widely used! The government has already spent a lot of money via the increase in the remuneration of health personnel, the one to come in National Education or with the hiring of police officers, magistrates …
By spending too much, isn’t France endangering its solvency?
A financing plan should have been foreseen. Any business, any household would, but not the state! Ministers just promise, “We will not raise taxes.” Will they finally do it? I do not know. According to them, increased competitiveness will increase production and therefore tax revenues. Clearly, the recovery plan will finance the recovery plan. I do not believe it at all. We will come out of this debt boom.
The European Union will support 40 billion euros out of the 100 billion. This reduces the bill …
It’s true, we are told that Europe will pay almost half of the expenses. This is a good thing, but this decision has not yet been taken. And now, who is funding Europe? These are the States, France will therefore put in the common pot. This stimulus plan must not turn into a time bomb.
That is to say ?
In each crisis, our national response capacity is hampered by the crisis before. This is all the more worrying as France suffers from higher public spending, debt and unemployment rate than many countries! At some point, some will pay more off the hook than others, and they will likely be the weaker ones.