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Jean-Claude Sandrier: “Public expenditure is not responsible for state debt

Translated Monday 24 October 2011, by Harry Cross and reviewed by Bill Scoble

Jean-Claude Sandrier, deputy of the department of Cher for the French Communist Party, denounces the arguments proposed by a government that bows to the demands of the financial markets and seeks approval merely from the rich élite for its response to the crisis.

How do you react to the judgement of the American credit rating agency Moody’s with regard to France?

Jean-Claude Sandrier:We know we are in a state of disrepair when we find ourselves at the mercy of private firms managed by those responsible for the financial markets. Placing states under the rule of such groups is unacceptable. Here are agents of financial markets who judge the politics of a country with regard to their own selfish interests. This political structure is entirely backwards.

The government seems to be planning a new series of austerity measures.

Jean-Claude Sandrier:The budget in question was constructed on the assumption of a growth rate of 1.75%, whereas economists thought that in the best scenario growth would reach 1.2%, at worst 0.8%. The government will be obliged, before the end of the 2012, to find 27 billion euros, 15 times more than it had previously expected. The problem is that it sees only one solution: attacking public expenditure; in education, health, social security and, once again, retirement…there is a true danger of social regression.

It’s an infernal cycle, where the only path deemed possible is rigorous austerity.

Jean-Claude Sandrier:The government has told us that its solution is the only solution. It says this with such conviction that it does not think to make the financial market pay for its accumulation of profit and dividends. This political choice instead is to tax the people, and in particular the lower and middle classes. In fact, it is necessary today to find already existing wealth to mobilise in favour of economic growth.

Has the money disappeared?

Jean-Claude Sandrier:The money exists. We have to finish bestowing fiscal gifts upon the richest in society who together represent 146 billion euros, as well as offering social exemptions for businesses that the Accountancy Courts tell us do not create employment. We can add to this list the struggle against tax havens, the need to tax capital revenues to the same degree as salaries…the money needed is already in existence.

How should one respond to François Baroin for whom any other political strategy will plunge France into crisis?

Jean-Claude Sandrier:The government would have us believe, by peddling scandalous scare stories with regard to the future of our children, or by saying that we are living above our means, that there is no choice other than the reduction of public spending which is responsible for the deficit and the debt. In fact, this policy has been a continuous one that this government has been driving over several years, to the benefit of society’s richest.

Interview conducted by Max Staat

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