“The next twelve months will be decisive in limiting any economic and social tension,” say the organizers of the Meetings in their final statement.
“To maintain the purchasing power of the middle and working classes (…) it would be wise to group together the support mechanisms” for purchasing power in “a single check intended for households who need it most”, and for a maximum period of twelve months to avoid fueling inflation, continues the thirty or so economists who are members of the Circle.
The latter propose to allocate this check to people whose income is up to 1.2 Smic, or just over 1,560 euros net monthly.
“It is those who are suffering, those who really need us to give them a helping hand, who we must give priority to”, summarized the president of the Rencontres d’Aix Jean-Hervé Lorenzi at the end of the event.
The co-president of the Circle of economists Françoise Benhamou for her part called for “increasing the minimum wage” without giving up “fundamental reflection work on the distribution of income”, to avoid leading to a “smicardisation of the whole of society”.
If the government has not been as precise as the Cercle on the degree of targeting of aid, Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne confirmed on Saturday that “work was in progress” to ultimately tighten the scope of beneficiaries.
The Circle of Economists, on the other hand, distinguished itself from the executive by supporting the idea of a 25% tax on the “surplus profits linked to the economic situation” that certain companies would make, particularly in the energy sector.
This “exceptional” measure would contribute to the financing of purchasing power support schemes, “like the United Kingdom and Italy”, add the economists.
In the short term, the Circle also pleads for a “significant reduction in production taxes” on companies. The government has undertaken to abolish one of them, the Contribution on the added value of companies (CVAE), from 2023.
Also recommended are a reform of public policies centered on “the culture of results” and “the integration of a maximum of people of working age into the labor market”, in particular young people and seniors.
In the longer term, the Circle of Economists calls for “massive investments” of 100 billion euros “in the fields of education, research, innovation and ecological transition”.
So many investments which must ultimately “contribute to long-term growth” and, in reference to the theme of the Rencontres d’Aix 2022, “allow us to succeed in the transformations of the world”, we still read in the final declaration.
However, Jean-Hervé Lorenzi acknowledged at the end of the meetings that among economists, “no one (knew) exactly what (was) going to happen in the 12, 13 or 14 months” to come.
Over three days, the 22nd Rencontres d’Aix brought together 5,500 people on site and more than 400,000 people online, according to figures provided by the organization.