A few months ago, Marine Le Pen gave a sensible speech on the debt, promising its repayment for “a significant moral aspect” and thus trying to achieve financial credibility, which it had so lacked in 2017. Can this speech survive? campaign?
With powerful tables filled with numbers, the far-right candidate presented his programme’s budget framework on Wednesday, claiming his “seriousness” and “good management of public funds”. With the key, after all, the budgetary magnitude of 68 billion euros, which mixes tax cuts and new spending, for amounts that have already been the subject of disagreement.
With these major budgetary guidelines, Marine Le Pen wants to translate the priority she has set for months now for her campaign into numbers: “giving back to the French their land and their money”. In economic terms, this seems to refer to what political scientists call “welfare state nationalism,” a credo now found in most right-wing extremist parties in Europe.
In fact, if Marine Le Pen intends to open the budget locks wide open, it will above all be to increase social spending and not to redraw the country’s economic structure. This makes a difference to Marine Le Pen’s great model, the Hungarian Viktor Orbán, who to a large extent when he came to power had used all the fiscal grips and nationalization operations to increase the state’s place in the economy.
No such allegation in the candidate RN, who had recently defended the “corporate freedoms” against the bosses of Medef, and limited himself to giving the public sphere “an important regulatory role”. So much so that the budgetary effort in terms of competitiveness is limited to around € 10 billion in reductions in production taxes (with in particular the abolition of CFEs).
On the other hand, it is not the expenditure that is lacking in social affairs. Marine Le Pen has made purchasing power the central axis of its campaign, with some electoral efficiency if we judge a recent Elabe poll for “L’Express” and BFM TV: this showed that the French sent their backs to the candidate RN and Emmanuel Macron on this issue, which she claims to put more than 59 billion.
The flagship pledge concerns the energy bill with a reduction in VAT from 20% to 5.5% for fuel, fuel oil, gas and electricity, which would cost 12 billion according to the candidate. To further strengthen this, Marine Le Pen has added extraordinary and temporary expenses that do not fall within the announced 68 billion, such as the suspension of the TICPE increases on fuels in 2017 and 2018 during the energy crisis (8.5 billion) or the abolition of VAT on a basket of 100 products (4 billion).
Expenditure on pensions
In addition, the welfare state would therefore be strengthened. Marine Le Pen-style family policy is estimated to be very generous (10.6 billion). The exemption for employer contributions for wage increases of 10% up to 3 SMIC can, according to Institut Montaigne, cost 10.5 billion euros (the candidate puts forward a zero cost), and the think tank also calculates the 3.7 billion income tax exemption for those under 30 (2 billion according to the candidate) .
The latter had changed its pension project to 60 years to achieve budgetary credibility, but the same Institute Montaigne estimates that the cost of the new system will still be 26.5 billion, far from the promised 9 billion.
Finally, several key functions in the state also need to be strengthened, with a cost of $ 2 billion for the revaluation of caregivers (while nearly $ 10 billion has already been added by the current government) and $ 4 billion for teachers.
Faced with these expenses, whose unit of account is often in the tens of billions of euros, the candidate claims to have identified 68 billion in savings. The first pillar – and this is a logical consequence of the “nationalism of the welfare state” – concerns expenditure related to immigration, with the abolition of “solidarity benefits” for foreigners. The candidate says she can count on $ 18 billion in savings, though that amount is disputed.
It also claims to be able to earn 15 billion on the fight against tax and social fraud, but such amounts are considered exaggerated by experts. Finally, even though “Frexit” is no longer on the agenda, Marine Le Pen wants to cut 5 billion from France’s contribution to the EU budget.