Text from CNT-AIT France debunking common myths about the government's proposed reforms to pensions.
Life expectancy has increased, boosting the percentage of pensioners from 20% in 1960 to 50% in 2050. But the number of people paying into the pension system has grown steadily right up to the year 2010. Median productivity grew by a whooping 500% from 1960 to 2010. If that productivity is harnessed one worker in 2010 can pay the pension of one retiree just as easily as s/he could pay 20% of someone’s pension in 1960. One problem is that, even according to official figures, 23% of the young people have no jobs and can contribute nothing to anyone’s pension.
The worst case scenario of the Orientation Council on Pensions foresees a deficit of 120 billion Euros in 2010; that would be 3% of French GDP. There is a fact that the well paid alarmists want you to overlook; France is a very rich country. GDP doubled during the last twenty years and is expected to double once more by 2050. During the past thirty years 10% of GDP has been transferred away from wage earners and given to profit takers. That comes to eight times the current deficit of the national pension system. When pension deficits are caused by the transfer of wealth to the already rich, there is no outcry in the commercial media. By definition, those who own controlling interests in media companies are already much too rich to care about pensions. See.
The so-called reforms of 1993, 2003 and 2007 have already pushed pensions down by between 15% and 20%. This has forced one more million senior citizens below the poverty line. Half of the newly pensioned workers receive less than 1000 Euros per month. The group hardest hit is that of women who made sacrifices for the pension system by raising children at the price of interrupting their careers.
The biggest risk is that the contribution based system will be replaced by a capital based one. In 2008 we saw where that leads. Soon enough, there will be another mysterious, unforeseeable crisis and politicians will hand that retirement money over to the billionaires and their mega corporations leaving millions too old to work, too young to die.
Given political will, there are many alternatives. Deficits would disappear if tax breaks and subsidies for the wealthy were eliminated. Consider this number; dividends account for 10% of French GDP.
As so often, there are no "objective forces" making pension cuts an "unfortunate necessity"; there is only the greed of the rich and their lies.
Unconditional surrender or resistance; the choice is ours’ in France and everywhere.