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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: L’austérité nuit à l’économie pour 48 % des Français

by Clotilde Mathieu

Austerity Harms Economy, 48% of French Say

Translated Monday 24 September 2012, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Derek Hanson

According to a CSA poll done for l’Humanité, workers believe that saving 30 billion euros is going the wrong way.

President François Hollande’s announcement that an additional 30 billion euros will be saved in 2013 has not gone over well with the French. 48% of them believe “this is not going in the right direction, because it will probably damage economic growth and job creation,” as against 45% who thing the opposite, because “this will probably make it possible to reduce France’s debt and enable France to keep its European commitments,” according to a CSA poll for l’Humanité.

Questioned two days after the Sept. 9 the French president was interviewed on the TF1 evening news program, a large majority (57%) of heads of companies, artisans and shopkeepers, who are always hostile to a tax increase, are against these measures, even though François Hollande announced there would be no increase on corporation tax, but rather a closing of tax loopholes, while however reserving special treatment for small and medium enterprises. The bottom line is that austerity means a reduction in purchasing power and a fall in overall demand.

Among workers, only executives think that the measures defended by François Hollande are a move in the right direction. But a big majority (53%) of factory workers and white collar workers, the main victims of restructuring, think that these measures are not a good thing for the economy.

With the confirmation of 10 billion euros in cuts in the budgets of the ministries, with the exception of the education, youth, security, and justice ministries, public service workers are divided on this cost reduction plan, with 49% disapproving of it, as against 46% who approve of it.

The political breakdown is breathtaking, to say the least. Contrary to the program for which they voted in the presidential elections, 50% of the Front de gauche voters approve of the savings measures because they will make it possible to “respect our European commitments.” At the same time, 73% of Nicolas Sarkozy voters think these measures are bad for the economy and growth. “In a political context marked by a sharp opposition between the left and the right, a fall in the popularity of the executive branch and morose economic perspectives, the need to back the head of state at this point in his five-year terms seems to be the most important thing for left-wing sympathizers,” is the analysis offered by the CSA polling institute.

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