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Political escalation around Covid debt

Confined youth, sacrificed youth, but also indebted youth. As the 2022 presidential election approaches, the question of repayment of the public debt, the amount of which has exploded under the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, haunts people’s minds.

The crisis is not over yet that we ask ourselves: “Whatever the cost”, how much does this presidential device aim to support the victims of the coronavirus without limits? Who will pay ? When? How? ‘Or’ What ?

Rarely does the issue of public debt “Burden on future generations” from just over 20% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 1980 to around 120% today, dominated presidential debates. But households are worried; Despite the denials of the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, the French are, at 88%, convinced that they will pay the Covid-19 bill with tax increases, according to an IFOP survey of January 22 conducted in partnership with Fiducial, CNews and Sud Radio. If not them, it will be their children and, or, their grandchildren.

Political escalation around Covid debt

Classic arguments

“It is normal that the debt returns in the debates on the eve of the presidential campaign. It is a subject of national sovereignty. It is about controlling your destiny: if you are over-indebted, you run the risk of being in the hands of your creditors ”, abounds the former Minister of the Economy Jean Arthuis, who chairs a commission on the future of public finances, charged precisely by Matignon to return a report on the subject in the coming weeks.

In an attempt to reassure public opinion, the government is using classic arguments. This abysmal debt – estimated at 2,674.3 billion euros at the end of September 2020 by INSEE – contracted to deal with an exceptional situation will be reimbursed. To claim otherwise would be “Irresponsible”, insists Bruno Le Maire. If not through taxes, it will be through future growth.

The era of the “glorious thirties” having passed, no one imagines that the increase in GDP will make it possible, on its own, to pay off the accumulated debt. Bruno Le Maire therefore repeats that the country will not be able to do without reforms and in particular an overhaul of its pension system, whose deficit is close to 25 billion euros. When? ” When the time comes. “

But things have changed. The debate, which once opposed the orthodox advocates of reducing public spending, as Bruno Le Maire intends to incarnate, to more “generous” lax advocates advocating the taxation of great fortunes, has slipped into unknown lands.

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