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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le Smic augmente de 1,1 %, la pilule est amère

by Philippe Villechalane

1.1% Increase in Minimum Wage A Bitter Pill

Translated Wednesday 8 January 2014, by Gene Zbikowski

Happy holidays, all the same…

By Philippe Villechalane, spokesman for APEIS

There are times in the year when the pill is bitter, even more than the rest of the time. Christmas and New Year’s Day are two of those times, as are the summer holidays and birthdays. Many things have to be prepared, in order to be united as a family or among friends: the menus, the shopping, the trips, the means of transport, the gifts, the choice of restaurants, the little extravagances. One is really overburdened.

Each at his or her pace, each with his or her culture, family traditions, beliefs or absence of beliefs. But the great majority of people feel this need to come together, to put a little light into this gray time of the year, a little warmth into this social, political and even economic winter, a little frivolity, especially when you need to calculate everything, all the time, relentlessly.

At the same time, for some, the economic weather’s practically tropical: in France, over a dozen top bosses get 300,000 euros a month ladled out to them, while shareholders are demanding 15% profit on their capital investments.

The present French government, rather than giving way at top speed to the “pigeons,” to the “red bonnets”, to the bosses and the shareholders, ought to make possible a little more social equality and a fairer sharing of the wealth that is produced.

How much does tax evasion amount to? Something like 80 billion euros! There are close to 28 billion euros in exemptions from employer social security contributions, and 20 billion euros in competitiveness tax credit.

That amounts to a big stack of cash in a time of crisis, when the “left-wing” government, in a gesture of fine-tuning, announces a 1.1% increase in the minimum wage, which is the equivalent of less than half a loaf of bread a day.

You needn’t have been so generous, my good lords. We hope that you’ll not go short, since we wouldn’t want to deprive you. And then we would like to suggest, for the increase in value added tax, we could go straight to a 25% rate, that could go quickly onto even the noodles and the cheap cuts. It makes me want to throw up!

Despite all that, try to have happy holidays.


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