Has the crisis changed politics?
The Covid-19 crisis has amplified long-standing concerns: the fight against social and territorial inequalities, the fight against global warming. But the public policies that aim to address them need to be thoroughly reviewed.
The impact of the health and economic crisis on the design of public policies is multidimensional. The most radical change has already been, and will continue to be, in budgetary and fiscal policies. The inevitable ‘whatever it takes’ has killed, perhaps permanently, the 3% public deficit and 60% public debt ratio norms. New budgetary rules will have to be drawn up, giving priority to the criterion of the sustainability of public debt over time. A criterion that leads to a focus on the purpose of public spending, its necessary control, and the gap between the growth rate and the interest rate paid by borrowers, public or private.
While attention is focused on public debts, the challenge of private debts, those of companies and households, will be just as complicated. The Maastricht Treaty and the Stability and Growth Pact will have to be revisited: from the point of view of sustainability, what counts is the total debt, public and private.
The balance between confidence and mistrust will determine the timing and extent of both the economic recovery and the political upsurge. Without confidence, there will be no real release of the savings accumulated by French households over the past eighteen months. Without reducing the mutual distrust between public opinion and politicians, and the mutual distrust between politicians and experts, it will be difficult for the next presidential election to produce a long-term, ambitious and coherent project for France.
Confédération syndicale internationale
Parti Démocrate, Italie