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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: L’État soigne les propriétaires

by C. P.

The French Government Takes Care of Property Owners

Translated Sunday 30 December 2007, by Gene Zbikowski

4.5 billion euros for interest on home loans, 530 million euros for public housing.

Nicolas Sarkozy keeps saying that the coffers are empty. If you take a closer look, the question is: “empty for whom?” Whereas it is now a well-known fact that, since the turn of the century, government measures for housing have been in a continual slump – even though, during this same period prices have been continually rising and the government has benefited significantly from the resulting tax income – there are some social groups which the government has privileged in a big way, in particular since 2002.

Private investors are among those that the government coddles. The 2008 budget allots no less than 635 million euros to support the construction of housing under the Robien and Borloo laws. And that’s not all, since a new and even more virtuous measure is going to increase the already-heavy bill. At the same time, the government has only budgeted 530 million euros for the construction of public housing, even though 2008 is the year when the law guaranteeing the right to housing [1] comes into force... Find the mistake.

One might also wonder at the 4.5 billion euros that have been allotted to reimbursing part of the interest on loans taken out by new home-owners, when it is an established fact that there is a need for 800,000 affordable homes. Which should be at the top of the agenda for the government of a country that is facing a large-scale housing crisis? Finding housing for the poorest people quickly, or helping those who are able to invest?

[1Under this law, housing will a right, like the right to an education, and a person who cannot find housing will be able to sue the government in court. (Translator’s note)

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