Pensions: the two hidden vices of Marine Le Pen’s program

On the surface, Marine Le Pen pampers the generations who are about to retire. The candidate of the National Gathering offers “to be able to retire between 60 years and 40 annuities and 62 years and 42 annuities, no more”, she reiterated on Tuesday at a press conference. In other words, while demographic aging implies that there will be more retirees and fewer workers in the future, “the candidate proposes a return to the situation before 2003 in terms of age measurements and the number of quarters required to obtain full pension. “, summarizes the Institut Montaigne.

In detail, those who started working before the age of 20 (almost 57% of those born in 1962, who with the current system would have retired by 2024) will see the retirement age reduced to 60 years and 40 annuities. Then, for those who enter the world of work between the ages of 20 and 25, there would be a progressive system of opening rights. Many people may be concerned as according to DREES, for the generation born in 1982, 70% of the first validations of a quarter occurred at age 22 or earlier.

Finally, for people starting work after the age of 25, most of the current rules would continue to apply: the statutory retirement age would remain 62, the contribution period to get the full rate would be reduced from 43 to 42, l he age of automatic cancellation of the discount (for example in the case of interrupted careers that did not allow to reach the 42 annuities) would remain at 67 years to benefit from a full rate pension.

Half share. Declared goal: “to strongly encourage young people to enter working life earlier”. As for purchasing power, Marine Le Pen proposes to index pensions to inflation (like Emmanuel Macron), to revalue the minimum age of old age to 1,000 euros against today’s 916, and to restore the halved surcharge for widows and widowers.

But this program poses two main problems, not addressed by the candidate. The first is the cost. “The measure is equivalent to unveiling all the pension reforms of the last decade for most people, and therefore to bring forward the retirement age by almost two years, the Montaigne Institute points out. However, an additional two years of retirement cohort equates to “approximately € 30 billion in additional pension spending” each year. The liberal think tank estimates the cost of age for the entire year measured at 26.5 billion euros (between 23.5 and 38.5 billion depending on the hypothesis), against the 9.6 billion euros anticipated by the team of the candidate.

This huge difference is explained by the assumption of the number of people who would retire earlier. While the Montaigne Institute relies on the age of first validation of a mandate – before the age of 20 for most generations preparing for retirement, according to DREES – the National Gathering looks at “the age of first meaningful employment” , i.e. a job done at the beginning of a professional career but distinct from a summer or student job. In 2014, the average age of this first job was 22 years and 7 months. “The gap of about two years between these two ages fully explains the difference in cost”, explains a relative of Marine Le Pen, stating that “a one-month student internship at the age of 20 will not allow” to start the counter “.

The candidate goes even further because she hopes that her reform will save € 4.4 billion a year in public finances thanks to “savings on unemployment among the elderly”, fewer accidents at work and chronic illnesses, and “income at work. youth “so encouraged.

Difficulty. For the “distraught economist” Henri Sterdyniak, Marine Le Pen’s measure “is too generous, too expensive and does not sufficiently take into account the difficulties”. “The starting age no longer depends on fatigue but only on the age at which you start working,” she stresses. We should not give the right to leave at 62 to those who have completed only one term before the age of 20, but ask for at least one year. “

The second issue concerns the impact of the reform on the standard of living of pensioners. Marine Le Pen claims to “strengthen it”. However, it is likely to decline relative to that of assets, for three reasons. “Demographics means that there will be more and more retirees, working hours will be reduced because we would retire earlier, and eventually the pension pie will be reduced because there will be fewer contributions paid, because people will work for less time,” points out Victor Poirier. , director of publications of the Institut Montaigne.

In short, “we will be retired longer with fewer pensions. The 60-year pension reduces the contribution and replacement rate, so those who retire in ten, twenty or thirty years will have a much lower income than the average income of workers, compared to those who are retired today. You can’t retire earlier with the same pension level, except to increase old age contributions, but then you increase the cost of labor, and that’s not in Marine Le Pen’s program. “

This is the angle of attack chosen by the macronists. “We totally exclude the lowering of pensions for our retirees or the increase in French taxes,” said Bruno Le Maire on Tuesday morning on CNews. On the contrary, we want to increase the purchasing power of those who have worked all their lives. Putting a pension down to 60 necessarily leads to a reduction in pensions for retirees and an increase in contributions for those who work. Here are the hidden options of Marine Le Pen’s program.

And Aurore Bergé, Lrem parliamentarian, to hammer on SudRadio: “Marine Le Pen lies to the French about pensions. And I tell pensioners: her reform will lead to lower pensions! “But the complexity of three-dimensional thinking about pensions (pensions, contributions, duration) undoubtedly limits the scope of these arguments in the public debate.

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