The financing of campaign measures, the blind spot of presidential candidates

Chronic. The economy is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. In the demands on wage hikes, in debates over purchasing power and debt, in the measures that the executive is touting to sell its balance sheet. And yet: she could well remain the poor relation of the presidential campaign. Or, more exactly, the cost and the manner of financing the proposed measures.

Admittedly, the pre-campaigns are hardly conducive to a precise quantification of the announcements, and push the candidates to the one up bid to differentiate themselves. It prevents. Impossible to embark on any evaluation of the programs of the ten contenders. “Today, the campaign teams are very weak on this theme”, Judge Xavier Ragot, president of the French Observatory of Economic Conjunctures (OFCE). “In comparison, five years ago, the economy was more present: the subject of austerity stirred the debates, François Hollande made the unemployment curve a political argument and the position of the National Front fueled the controversy over an exit or not from the euro zone ‘, recalls the one who was advisor to Arnaud Montebourg’s cabinet, then minister of productive recovery.

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Nothing like this today. The “whatever the cost” of the government, made possible by a very accommodating monetary policy and by the fierce desire not to reproduce the errors of 2008, prevented an economic crisis from succeeding the pandemic. But he also reshuffled the “budget correct” cards. How to explain that there is no more “magic money” while the debt has gone, almost painlessly for the French, from less than 100% to nearly 120% of the GDP?

The bidding is everywhere

Result: the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, may have whistled the end of the game in August, calling to close the “whatever the cost”, the president has multiplied the ringing and stumbling announcements since the start of the school year . As he travels, he announces extensions for the police, farmers, the self-employed, the city of Marseille or the training of employees and the long-term unemployed. And it does not matter that the appropriations used are often reallocations of sums not spent on emergency measures, or that the budgets are spread over several years. His right-wing opponents do not hesitate to pin him on the subject: Valérie Pécresse accuses him of “Burn the box” and Xavier Bertrand criticizes him for “Campaign with the checkbook of France”.

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