The economic situation of France is now clear: the country is on the very edge of a recession which will reduce tax revenues, and will make it very difficult to bring the budget deficit to 3% by the end of 2013.
So it is out of the question to use the weapon of public spending to boost the economy. France, like other European countries, thus seems destined to increased unemployment and public debt, and to discredit its political class.
Unless she has the audacity to implement finally numerous reforms, widely identified and studied, at no cost, which can unleash economic growth by challenging secure incomes. Reforms that the previous President and the government did not dare to undertake.
If we do not launch them now, in an unimpaired manner, with the time needed to establish a consultation process involving all the various parties, they will be forced upon us brutally, when the creditors, will require of us radical savings for the repayment of our debts.
Here are a few, among many others, in no particular order:
1. Reduce the number of local authorities, by giving , in urban areas, the current responsibilities of departments to agglomerations and consider rural departments as cities.
2. Reform primary school education by developing tailor-made education to reduce school failure.
3. Take back the power to allocate building permits from the mayors to give the state the means to free up some space to build, and in particular to increase massively the height of buildings in major cities, which is at the same time economically, socially and ecologically necessary.
4. Reduce to 20 the number of Ministries and ministers, in order to reduce the number of profligate authorities and regroup their services.
5. Prohibit further publication of a new decree or circular which is not accompanied with the removal of at least twice the existing regulations.
6. As a matter of priority concentrate infrastructure investments to be financed on those connecting urban areas to major sea and river ports.
7. Create taxi jobs through the provision of, around the country, many new authorizations, primarily for company employees, by compensating any loss of wealth of the taxi license owners with a tiny contribution from users.
8. Create home hairdressing service jobs by liberalizing the conditions of access to the profession.
9. Bring together the professions of notary and lawyer into a great law profession.
10. Cut back the dozens of “high authorities” or “standing committees”, which are essentially delaying public decisions, without any social benefit.
11. Cut back drastically the number of public housing bureaus by merging those that are no longer building with their more dynamic neighbors. The same applies to the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and all the managing bodies of parafiscal taxes.
12. Use the enormous resources, now wasted, of lifelong training, for the conversion of the unemployed and the workers threatened with losing their
Naturally, any power that will embark on these reforms will become, at least temporarily, unpopular. Of course, lobbyists from all sides (from the professional associations to the local politicians), who draw their powers from it, will be hostile.
No doubt, as always in France, will it take a revolution for this to happen. Democracy will have nothing to gain from it.