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Politics

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Les dents

by Maurice Ulrich

Teeth

Translated Friday 19 September 2014, by Sonia Govindankutty

Editorial by Maurice Ulrich. Funds allocated to local bodies shall be reduced to the tune of 3.7 billion. As regards social security, savings worth many billions have already been voted for, or negotiated. Here is why your daughter is dumb, as Moliere said. And here is why the poorest are losing their teeth. A gloomy and cynical situation indeed. Not to mention appalling.

It is not a joke, not even a bad one. The government has done away with funding for the M’T dents scheme in schools for the next three years, a scheme which fully covered the expenses of dental visits of school children aged 6 to 18. Yesterday the Finance Minister Michel Sapin declared that he was pleased that this measure could potentially lead to additional savings of 2 billion to reach the figure of 21 billion as planned in the 2015 budget. "Expenses by the government and its units are set to go down by more than a billion Euros, whereas in the normal course of events, they should have gone up by 6 billion. Funds allocated to local bodies shall be reduced to the tune of 3.7 billion. As regards social security, savings worth many billions have already been voted for, or negotiated." Here is why your daughter is dumb, as Moliere said. And here is why the poorest are losing their teeth.

A gloomy and cynical situation indeed. Not to mention appalling. Barely a week back, Michel Sapin had announced that this first round of cuts aimed at achieving the 3% deficit prescribed by Brussels cannot be done. A cautious move, after considerable effort, towards a rethink on policies of austerity. Except that Michel Sapin has now made an about-turn. A meek submission where France has knuckled under, with scant regard to the consequences. Irrespective of all that has been said, François Hollande by dint of promises and tactics, has always avoided questioning this European policy dictated by Germany. On the other hand, there is no question of touching the 40 billion agreed under the ’Responsibility Pact’ (pacte de responsabilité). The Labour Minister François Rebsamen yesterday tried to allay concerns by calling a meeting of 50 professional associations to take stock of their quid pro quo commitments regarding creation of jobs. CFDT though supportive of the measure admits that the results have hardly been encouraging. Employers are laughing up their sleeves, teeth bared. At times, one is really tempted to bite!


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