Editorial of the “World”. Since its onset, the pandemic crisis has continued to take us on the wrong foot. In terms of health, the lack of anticipation and the difficulties of adapting to SARS-CoV-2 mutations punctuated the first months of this period. But no sooner do we begin to learn to live with the virus, thanks to the effectiveness of the vaccination campaign and the implementation of the health pass, than, economically speaking, nothing is going as planned either. . The way out of the crisis is also proving to be destabilizing.
Forecasters expected a wave of layoffs and bankruptcies. Thanks to budgetary and monetary support for the economy, the disaster was averted. The effectiveness of this policy now encourages a reversal of the order of priorities. From now on, the stake does not consist so much in repairing the damage which did not take place as to accompany a growth which is stronger than anticipated, which arouses the inflationary pressures and, at the same time, the claims on the power of purchase.
Less than a year ago, who would have imagined that the question of unemployment would be sidelined by that of wages? In the campaign for the presidential election, which is gaining momentum, despite the almost 6 million job seekers in the country, the debate is now focused on labor shortages and, above all, on power. purchase, which should increase on average by 1.5% this year.
As surprised by the success of the measures taken to protect the economy, Emmanuel Macron must improvise new redistribution devices. Energy check, increase in minimum wage, income from commitment for young people … The accumulation of measures takes the form of a season 2 of “whatever the cost”, which was yet to end with the return of ” happy Days “. The candidates for his succession, focused on winning back the popular electorate, are not left out. They do not hesitate to engage in a vertiginous one-upmanship, financed by money that has become magical.
The question of purchasing power is no less legitimate, even if it does not apply to all French people in the same way. The general price increase, which had almost disappeared for ten years, is making a comeback. It remains to be seen whether the phenomenon is sustainable or not. In the meantime, commodity prices are soaring under the effect of a strong recovery in global demand. Their increase is reflected in the cost of daily living. By the end of the year, eating, heating and getting around will become much more complicated for many French people.
If the crisis has led some to accumulate forced savings, this is not the case for so-called “second-line” employees. While they continued to work “on site” at the height of the pandemic to provide essential services for daily life, their salaries remain low in relation to their usefulness in the functioning of the economy. Finding a way to improve their situation and that of the most vulnerable is essential.
However, in terms of purchasing power, the country cannot be satisfied with patches. The question will not be resolved with checks financed by the debt, but thanks to an employment policy, the only one capable of creating wealth, which can be redistributed in a sustainable manner. These are the issues that should be the focus of the presidential campaign debate, instead of focusing on short-term measures that do nothing to address the root causes of the problem.