France PM Macron Trying To Force Pension Age Increase of 2 Years

French leadership is trying to raise the pension age from 62 to 64. This passed the upper house on Thursday.

The percentage of the French population over 64 has increased by about 30% over the past 20 years. This is projected to increase by about 50% over the next 25 years.

In 2022 in France, the working age population (15-64) is about 40 million and the number over 65 is about 14 million. France is already past the point of having one pensioner to three working-age people. This will become one pensioner to two working-age person. Increasing the retirement age will slow down these demographic problems.

The other alternative would be massively increasing the productivity of the workforce. This could theoretically be possible with the improvements in AI and robotics and other technology.

51 thoughts on “France PM Macron Trying To Force Pension Age Increase of 2 Years”

  1. Proof that politicians have no idea what’s coming. They think millenials, zoomers, even people in their 40’s and older will be working to 60-65.

    AGI is coming and coming fast. Most jobs will be automated very soon.

    I am not talking here about 2030’s, 2040’s or 2050’s. Looking at latest progress and pace of advancement in AI field, world will be totally disrupted by the 2030.

    • Depends on your birth year, they’ve been gradually pushing it up. I was born in ’59, and won’t be able to retire to full SS until I’m nearly 67.

      • And in 2034, where I’m guessing you will be in your early 70s, maybe, they will cut it by about a third unless Congress steps in and saves the day — the solution is obvious and easy and the right people in DC getting together in the same room could prevent that from happening in about twenty minutes.

        But I wouldn’t hold my breath. I give the chances of it happening about 50%. Normally I would give it a much lower chance, but the pressure on them will be, if not immense, much higher than normal.

        Most likely, any “solution” (or part of one), will involve throwing younger people under the bus by continuously pushing their start dates back. Labor unions do it all the time because people that haven’t been hired yet don’t vote on contracts or union leadership.

        And of course, with radical life extension on the horizon, they will push harder and further when moving start dates and payment rates. And if rejuvenation becomes a real thing, the government may offer assistance in getting it (the first time) with the understanding that SS payments will be terminated whether you undergo rejuvenation treatments or not. And, of course, people that haven’t yet started getting SS payments, will get nada.

        In other news, private pensions will probably make a one-time settlement payment and then shutdown.

        If I was offering advice, I would suggest getting a spreadsheet and finding out how long it will take to get to the point where the sum of your SS payments received is exceeded by waiting until 67 or 70, versus 62 or 65 . . . and then consider whether or not you seriously think radical life extension will come about before you die, and the implications on your total amount collected if it does or does not.

        • What makes you think life extension is just around the corner?? I see nothing of it, people keep dropping like flies.

      • Also, keep in mind that rising automation may result in some form of Universal Basic Income, in which case they will likely shutdown SS in a heartbeat and put us all in the same boat with younger folks who never paid a fraction of what we have to Social Security.

  2. A backward ‘rich’ society.
    A culture that does not embrace self-motivating work, individualism, and ambitious technological progress is doomed to stagnation and self-loathing. With such militant and obviously malcontent public unions, bleating their demands for idleness, relief from challenge and actualization, and absolution from responsibility for productivity and usefulness, they sink into a stew of bureaucratic 4-day, 30-hr workweeks. Let them simmer and soak in uselessness and mal-purpose. Good riddance surrender-monkeys. Good riddance.

    • Couldn’t agree more. Spoilt, entitled and dangerously ignorant of basic economics. Like most voters in the West.

    • It’s actually quiet hard to track down comprehensive scholarly papers and statistics on the real health of our financial system/ economy based on the needs of current and future retired people ‘without obvious government-support bias and its agendas’. Some actuarial reports get into it – but way too narrow scope. How many people will own and have mortgages post-60s? What professions are suitable for post-60s full and part-time employment? What are the current retirement savings and expectations for adequate levels within the current working and retired population? Less or more long-term support instutions? Adequate tax base? Diminishing or unreliable private insurance coverage? Restrictive and max-out pensions? Rule of thumb calcs such as: working population -to- retiree numbers’ ratio are simplistic at best, alarmist and deceiving at worst.

      • Probably more of a popular values’ issue at this time. A lot of Pew and gallup polls on people’s opinion of retirement including: perceived financial readiness; availability and interest in work after 60’s; government-supported vs private-savings-supported living and long-term medical; concept of ‘deserved’ retirement-relaxation (used to be less than 10% (7 years or less), now people expect to be ‘enjoying’ retirement in excess of 25% of their life). Also, seems that very few can actually quantify the costs of their remaining 10 – 25+ years and plan accordingly.

      • I prefer ‘fanatique’ – oh wait, the French are proud of that description. The irony is too delish.

          • words of advice: use your vast experience and expertise – consult at your own pace, take your previous jobs best customers (non-compete laws/ clauses are (mostly) unenforceable), collaborate with previous likeable colleagues, and work from a delightful place (home? beach nearer the EQ?). The only thing worse than working full-time with crushing hours is having nothing to do, very few to do it with, and very little money to spend for your next few decades (life circumstances may vary).

            • Thanks for the advice, but in my case it doesn’t apply. I’m a teacher, have been doing it for 35 years, am exhausted and can’t wait to retire. If I don’t see another obnoxious brat for the rest of my life, I’ll be a happy woman. Working from home or from a beach is nothing but a dream to me. And I’m an old crone, if I live for another two decades, I’ll be damn lucky. Enough with work!!

              • Understood. My ex- taught for 25 years and even though I marked most of her math and science homework, I’ve never seen someone with such clear and present PTSD – almost post-Iraq-like. She’s happier now teaching second-language skills in private small clasroom settings to appreciative adolescents and dedicated adults – less cash and no pension but her hair appears thicker and the crows-feet less striking. Cheers.

    • I don’t think that the front-line protesters represent overall French work values, even within unions and government jobs. They’re more likely closet anarchists and ‘day-off work’ ‘enthusiasts’ all posing for the media’s ‘sensationalist’ and mostly-staged photo-op settings.

      • Of course, but parodying and satirizing the French’s passion for their lack of ‘work passion’ is just too juicy.

        • If the French put half as much effort in to work as they put in to protesting work then they would rule the world.

  3. Looking at the graph for 2000 raises a question for me: “Why is such a dramatic change in numbers between ages 53 and 55 as well as between 79 and 81?”

    The end of The Great War and the end of WW2 seem to qualify as triggers for a population boom.

    Any other ideas?

  4. I don’t get why they didn’t do what the US did with Social Security retirement benefits more than 30 years ago in anticipation of the Baby Boomer retirements.

    They don’t have to “raise” the retirement age in some absolute sense they just have to pay different amounts at different ages giving people the choice of retiring earlier but getting less. Once could also put it in without very large reductions at earlier ages but tweak it up over time.

    • Not surprising that life extension also means working life extension, at least until automation saves us.

    • And yet….

      French GDP debt ratio is 98%
      USA GDP debt ratio is 123%

      French life expectancy is 82 years
      US life expectancy is 77 years (And falling!)

      French people work 1,607 hours a year (The max allowed by law!)
      US people work something like 1790 hours a year.

      Its easy to beat the french up as a bunch of lazy decadent fools, but the stats don’t quite make it look like that.

      • I totally agree.
        The main problem is that there is a narrative that claims that competition is always linked to better efficiency and a certain part of those who live in US tend to consider those who work for fewer hours (or years) as entitled slackers. The truth is that while certain levels of competition help productivity, higher levels compromise productivity because more and more resources are redirected from the productive effort to strategies to simply fend off competition.
        The most evident and pathological case for this is the emergence of strategies that are absolutely noncompetitive and completely betray the original mission of an industry. A prime example is the healthcare system in the US where the winning strategy made the healthcare system less efficient (life expectancy in US is lower than most industrialized countries) and more expensive (on average approximately 2 times more expensive than nationalized healthcare systems in the EU). To survive competition healthcare providers in US developed unbeatable strategies: insure healthy and young, and resist covering healthcare costs for the old and sick as much as possible.
        As there is a certain narrative on how US is so much better than other countries (which demonstrably is not) the same type of narrative covers the retirement age,
        While life extension naturally pushes the retirement age forward, most of the narrative on how certain nations are just composed by entitled slackers is simply propaganda to not let the people focus on the fact that in other industrialized countries with very high standard of living people has access to a better lifestyle.
        Many here are mocking the french, but nobody is asking why they have better working conditions and still achieve high productivity and a better standard of living.

        • Blame WWII.

          The European nations got a serious existential shake up during WWII, the countries that actually got conquered by Germany most of all. It shook a lot of the cobwebs out. Didn’t happen over here.

          So our accumulation of rent seekers in government is much worse than theirs. Sure, they have an over-regulated society by our standards, but the regulations are at least somewhat rational, not entirely aimed at financially benefiting somebody’s cronies as is typical here. They’re behind the curve in that regard, to their benefit.

          Regulation can be a drag on the economy, but militantly irrational regulation is worse. A lot of what our government does isn’t simply a bad bargain, but is actually destructive.

          That said, keep in mind that GDP per capita (PPP basis) in France is about $56K, in the US it’s more like $75K. They ARE a poorer country, they’re just a better managed poorer country in some regards.

          • Hi Brett,
            Thanks for your reply.

            While you are right and it is objective that GDP per capita in US is certainly higher than in France (and in general in the EU) I am not sure that at the end of the day, the excess of money that the average US citizens have allow them to buy more goods and services than French citizens. If you have 50% more money but you have significant inefficiencies and distortions (my example about healthcare for example) and you end up spending 100% more then you end up having less despite being richer on paper.
            That being said the wealth verticalization in US is such that for sure being a multi-millionaire in US is much better than in any other country, but it is relevant for a relatively small portion of the population.

            • Notice that healthcare is about the most heavily regulated industry in the US short of nuclear power. It’s terrible performance in the US is not exactly a glowing recommendation for regulation. OTOH, we’re about the only country in the world that actually allows people who develop drugs to recoup the cost of development; Most countries are capping drug prices at the marginal cost of production, which is great for existing drugs if you want new drug development to stop.

              It’s cheap to tell somebody to make out their will. It’s relatively cheap to prevent the illness in the first place. The expensive period in between comes when you know enough to be able to treat, but not enough to prevent. The last thing we need to do is slow our progress through this expensive period to the cheap that follows. But slow it would if we adopted the European approach to drug pricing.

              As I said, regulation is generally a drag on things, but US regulation is distinctly worse than European, given its very heavy crony capitalism and rent seeking element, compared to Europe’s generally at least rationally thought out approach. (Though Europe is trending our way in terms of crony capitalism, from a higher preexisting base of regulation, a scary combination.)

              I don’t think we have the political class to adopt Europe’s technocratic approach to governance. The advantage of laissez faire in that regard is that it doesn’t require a government of brilliant technocrats to stand back and let people mostly do their own thing. Any old idiot can do that. (Unfortunately, our current old idiot isn’t inclined to…)

          • So France is about 3/4 the income of the US. I suspect that that missing quarter is made
            of longer working hours, shorter life expectancy, and top 1% income.

          • I think Brett doesn’t understand European system, because he is from USA and sees it from their perspective.

            Eu system is more social oriented and less capitalistic. For example health care is public right for everyone and mostly free. You don’t have giant healthcare bill. You usually have to pay tiny sum per month, but that is very little compared to Usa and can go private if preferred.

            Colleges are mostly free, you need just money for flat and food, books and that is it. No giant debts here, people finishing colleges are free of debt. Usually students from more poor families get scholarship without problem and almost everyone with interest and enough knowledge can go to college. Even the ones with mediocre income can get free student rooms.

            Even people who loose jobs are not thrown on the street or in danger to become homeless. The state helps to get people on track with money for unemployed, so there is way more security. Food quality is generally higher, healthier than USA with more consumer orientation. Because regulations are stricter and favor corporations less.

            Considered USA here we have more paid leave. Depends on the country, but 20+ paid days per week + 10 public holidays, total about 30 per year, so we have more time to enjoy life.

            Pensions are guaranteed by the state, there is way more security.

            Now if that makes less GDP because more taxes go to state and favor corporations less, the quality of live and other things are just better for most of people. There is more equality, in some countries crime rates are tiny compared to Usa. Because we don’t use guns, we aren’t afraid to walk the street at night. Very low chance of being robbed or something like that, most of us even don’t think about it. We are careful, can happen but very low chance.

        • Well it depends on how you define ‘success’ and ‘better than [others]’.
          To me: a system that prioritizes personal choice, access to great opportunity, minimized professional and personal obstacles (i.e. regulation, taxes, gangs/ crime, etc.), numerous acts of greatness due to individual or collaborative efforts, etc., (i.e. career and personal machismo levels). Such a system emphasizes personal responsibility and accountability, rewards risk, and facilitates opportunity – often a rags to riches (and the other way) narrative.
          I don’t much care for the living standards or working conditions of my neighbor or community or region – though of course I would like to peddle my services, at a profit, to encourage improvement. And its through that miraculous self-interest, readily embraced by others when led by example, that manifests amazing thinking, research, engineering, industrialization, investment, and roll-out on a huge scale. A near jungle-rules environment. And what is further miraculous is that it is not a zero-sum game – almost anyone can win with the right commitment (though I do acknowledge significant nepotism, cronyism, etc – but likely less than most). And this usually fixes identified issues that were part of the Tragedy of Commons – personal selfishness that wrecked common things – because that too is an opportunity.
          At the end of the day – I wouldn’t want to be a poor or lower-middle-class person in the US, but there is no better place to be an upper-middle-class or above person. But to live in a place with Las Vegas, Times Square, SpaceX, Walt Disney, guns, the Interstate system, Silicon Valley, a robust military, and the dominant business language and exchange currency – epic. But this would be easy to collapse if people lost the passion to think of themself first along with their wants/needs – an English-bred system of non-religious Protestantism with more than a dab of ‘open country settler’.

          • Hi Jer,
            Thank you for your reply.
            I must say that on the subject we have very different points of view.
            In general terms, US is one of the countries (if not THE country) with the steepest verticalization of wealth. That roughly translates into the fact that it is much more likely to be poor in US than in other industrialized countries and that what qualifies someone into the upper middle class in US will grant you benefits and the standard of living of the wealthy person in other industrialized nations. On the other hand, billionaires have fewer billions in other nations.
            As I tried to say (poorly) in my previous pos,t the myth that your self-interest in competition with someone else’s self-interest make you both and the system better of is a myth. The fact that A and B do not synergize, but compete with each other leaves more space for them to be crushed both (this is part of the reason for the higher wealth verticalization and poorer working conditions in US compared to all other industrialized countries).
            While cultures develop for several reasons I am pretty sure that certain religious philosophies obviously contributed, but even in that case, it is quite easy to see where the system short-circuited. Christianity based on the premise that success is a merit and a blessing has the downside of marking failure as a sin and a curse, a proof that someone is not worthy, leading society to be less compassionate. I am not particularly religious, but I had a Christian education and I am quite indignated by certain branches of US Christianity.
            Regarding Las Vegas, Times Square… nobody denies the successes that US achieved (I would not put Vegas though 😉 ), but one thing is to see those successes another is to frame them in relation to the life of the citizens. One thing that strikes me is that most of US citizens move through the US during their lives (for work and study), but rarely live abroad (except in the military, but they are somewhat still in a US environment) so they do not see things that are very evident to every non-US citizen that happens to live and work in the US for a while.
            Don’t get me wrong, US is a great country, but most of the people here that criticize the french retirement age do not realize that their own working conditions and standard of living could have been significantly better had they been a little more inclined to do some french style protest to promote certain legislation instead of thinking it would have ruined their nation transforming it into the soviet union (and I say it from the point of view of someone that nonetheless thinks the retirement age should go up).
            That being said, it is obviously just my opinion.
            Have a great day!

            • A discussion for the Ages. Of course, I was cartoonishly describing cultures (both the US and France) that I do not live in but have traveled to (with several local friends) and been educated in significantly. I am quite comfortable in my country of residence though the taxes are high (and fair), most guns are illegal, the universal health/ child (and limited drug) care is creaky but attends to the worst of us unfailingly (and have no defined pension (but am ok) and little knowledge of SS more than 20 years off). I suppose drawing attention to the distinct differences between north-western European social values and US individuo-capitalism provides a teachable moment for all.
              I cannot argue with anything you have said on its face, though I would have you consider that the degree of ‘universal’ benefit may be over-stated and the degree of personal motivation/productivity may be under-stated. Also, what you deem ‘standard of living’ may perhaps be called ‘well-being’ elsewhere – a ‘quality of life’ rather than a level of available services-possibly. I have no political sicence or economics background so wouldn’t even know where to start look for citations. The ‘high level’ frictions between companies, government, and individuals where there is high litigations, under-cutting of market/ price/ product, possible worker/product poaching/ sabotage, and just an environment of chasing market share and destroying competitors is likely quite significant – but I would probably suggest to compare the financials of the companies in the same sector between the two cultures to see how each ‘cope’. Income distribution is a hard concept to analyze. How many people ‘deserve’ to be where they are (due to dismissal/acceptance of numerous opportunities) and how many were victims (or over-privileged) based on circumstances at the time (a qualified doctor in a group of 100, but with only 50 job openings-missed out)(the relative of a successful business owner who nepo-ed you in). How are these universal services used? In a place like the US, without widespread free insurance you live carefully, maybe eat better, minimize risk, weigh the pros/cons of your needs (age, lifestyle, etc) and live ‘efficiently’. In the UK, many will go to clinic/ emerg with an easily copable pain or to get a procedure that would never have occurred if one wasn’t so risk-tolerant, lived poorly (over-weight), etc. Perhaps many universal services are wasted or taken for granted? Perhaps staff are less motivated and less tolerant to change/ improvement in a subsidized system (though still competent)? It has often been attempted to qunatify the pros and cons of a ruthless free-market – in a phrase, certain personalities at certain stages of their life likely benefit from one system over the other. Certainly an endless topic -poorly argued by myself- …. happy weekend.

        • The entire health care system is essentially a cartel and is technically illegal under USC 15 part 1.

          Medicare and medicaid are now the biggest contributors to the national debt. Contrary to the hype on the internet, Social Security is actually solvent for decades to come. Its these medical programs that are bankrupting the U.S.

          The other thing is the interventionist foreign policy, which subsidizes European nation’s social program. This is how to fix the American health care system:

          • Don’t worry we have a good long term plan to address Medicare. The US won’t have to pay as much for people after the age of 67 if they don’t live past the age of 67.

            Make sure to eat your carbs, drink your carbs and smoke everything you can get your hands on- it is what the government needs!

          • Never understood why people care so much about the debt. Most here will never be alive (or their descendants) to see any significant reduction in servicing of said debt and it has such minimal impact on the average person’s access to a middle-class life. When the economy expands hugely to include massive new assets (newly assessed) that are opened up to widespread mining findings; huge natural H2 reserves; the opening of space assets and their exploitation; the expected reduction, if not removal of all ‘endless term’ government (and related insitutional) pensions (you want to stop working, you pay for it); and other such drags the intelligent individual should be planning and paying for themselves (and work longer with a longer expectancy) — this will solve itself. It seems like hyper-fiscal conservative belly-aching – without promise of anything better (just reduced liability). Strange.

            • It doesn’t have any impact… right up until the moment it has enormous impact. And you KNOW that sooner or later it’s going to have that impact.

              At the US’s current debt to GDP ratio, even just carrying the debt would consume our entire federal revenue at historically normal interest rates. That’s why the Fed has been so limp wristed in its response to inflation coming back: They don’t dare raise the interest rates much.

              That means we’re getting quite close to the point where we, Constitution be damned, repudiate the debt, either formally, or by hyperinflation. That’s why you see people like Gates investing in things like land, that will retain their value even as the dollar becomes worthless. They know what’s impending.

              When that happens the US will suddenly have a balanced budget whether it wants one or not, and that’s going to have a ruinous impact on our economy for a while. I am not looking forward to having to live through that.

              We’re better situated than a lot of countries that have gone through that sort of crash, but nobody is so well situated that suddenly having to live within your means doesn’t hurt.

              • There has been some recent interest in selling all Federal Lands to pay down the debt. After considering the potential recoverable (and sentimental) resources as its real ‘value’ that may be a good deal.

      • Exactly! I don’t get all the people defending the “work till you die” mantra in here. There’s more to life than work. Ph@ck work! I wouldn’t work at all, if I didn’t need to. At almost 61 and with 35 years of work full time, I’m more than ready to retire.

        • “Work till you die” is a slogan for, and usually from, people whose career is interesting, challenging and emotionally rewarding, not just a grueling slog that is done purely for money.

          1. Get a good career
          2. THEN work till you die

            • Same.

              Though for me I gave into the idea that because I was kind of clever in some respects that I needed to pursue a job for smart people—one with status and good pay. Unfortunately, none of the respects that I was clever in translated into marketable skills which means that all my efforts got me were student debt, failed academic holes on my resume and time wasted not paying into pension.

              I really wish I had gone into drudgery retail work right out of high-school instead of falling into it later in life. I wouldn’t have gotten a lot of the unmarketable general knowledge I have now but I might have been able to retire before death. But I don’t blame anyone but myself and it is still a better situation than being old and poor before the Industrial Revolution so I can count my blessings as the religious people say.

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