BONDS & SHARES has contacted the candiates at the French presidential level to help enrich a focused debate on economic and financial issues. Jaques Cheminade is the first of the candidates who answered us. He is the founder of the Solidarity and Progress political party and candidate for the French presidential elections in 2017. Jacques Cheminade is a graduate of HEC Paris and ENA and holds a law degree. He was a civil servant at the Ministry of Economy and then Commercial Attaché of France in New York. Since 1996, he has been president of the Solidarity and Progress political party.
What are, in your opinion, the most important economic issues for the French? ?
The economic and social situation in France is catastrophic. The list is long! The unemployed who have lost all hope, the retired living below the poverty line, the workers who suffer at work because of ever-increasing numerical pressure, the farmers who commit suicide because they work without counting for a miserable salary, the factories that close, the homeless… The same devastating logic is at the root of these very worrying examples: that of profitability, austerity, that of the devious finance that F. Holland denounced at that time and that he did not fight. The French are no longer in control of their destiny, finance is in charge and has infiltrated its logic into all strata of society. She is gradually dehumanizing her. That is why France’s major economic challenge is to free itself from financial occupation and the logic of short-term profit. The second issue is unemployment, and there is an urgent need to get the French back to work in order to boost the dynamics of society and make our social security system viable. To this end, the third challenge is to restore a long-term vision of the development of our country and the world that will make it possible to set objectives and have job-creating projects.
How can your program address these issues? >
I propose solutions that have proven their effectiveness in history. Like Roosevelt in his time, after the 1929 crisis, we will put in place a real banking separation law that will protect us from the game of big casino banks by prohibiting states and taxpayers from bailing them out. Then we will have to free up credit when we leave the euro and the ECB, which impose these austerity policies on the Member States, and then we will create a national bank to be free to allocate credit to finance major projects for the future that bring jobs and opportunities, in cooperation with other countries in Europe and the world. In particular, we will discuss the ecological urgency of cleaning the oceans of the plastics that man has thrown into them. Africa and its development will become a priority, we will put an end to the recurrent humanitarian scandals affecting the continent, including famines and the water crisis. Finally, space must also be a major axis of development for our country: our space programmes enable us to make considerable progress in medicine (with the artificial heart or insulin pump), telephony and digital technology, which guarantees us a comfort that few of us would be ready to return to, and above all, which enables us to welcome future generations. We must continue along this essential path.
What are the limits of the economic programs of your main competitors for you?
A program, most candidates have one. The problem is that they don’t have a project to support him. They have a programme without a vision of the future, a sum of measures and compromises to ensure that our country reaches the famous golden rule, the 3% deficit, even if it means making the human being an adjustment variable. On the contrary, a project is about having a certain idea of the world and the main lines of development that are needed so that people and future generations can have a better life. Here is the first limitation common to all my competitors: the absence of a project.
Emmanuel Macron : one of the main limitations of E. Macron’s economic program is the absence of radical measures against finance. Under the Dutch Presidency, he clearly gave in to pressure from the big banks by producing a banking law that was useless and complacent towards finance, although in private he agreed with me that we really had to cut the banks in half. In addition, it supports the uberisation of work, which allows Internet platforms beyond any labour legislation to hire workers whose precariousness is constantly increasing. Finally, if we refer to its economic law passed under the Dutch presidency, the very telling example of Macron buses is symptomatic: it is a clear step backwards that increasingly widens the disparities between the French who have the means and those who do not.
Marine Le Pen Like E. Macron, M. Le Pen does not really tackle the financial issue. By choosing Bernard Monot as its economic advisor, it has betrayed its intentions and undermined its entire policy of independence. Indeed, the one who is at the origin of all the economic policy of Mr Le Pen’s programme has clearly expressed his position with regard to the markets that were concerned about the exit from the euro advocated by the NF: “We are very attached to the monetary stability of the markets. I am a man of markets” (Le Figaro). Finally, Mr. Le Pen remains a true monetarist, a national monetarist whose economic policy would be catastrophic.
François Fillon : F. Fillon is an ultra-liberal and although he agrees that France is facing a serious financial crisis, he focuses his solution on drastically reducing all public spending. It is economic austerity: cutting civil servants’ jobs, cutting social security… unlike him, I believe that there can be no recovery of the country without massive investment in major development projects. F. Fillon, it is the ECB candidate who asks people to tighten their belts at any price: debt, even unfair as in Greece, is more important than human debt.
Benoît Hamon B. Hamon’s program reveals a willingness to adapt, to fix a little social on the unfair system in place. Its flagship measure of universal income or the taxation of robots are typical of this: it does not believe in the possibility of truly creating jobs in France or in increasing wages.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon : J-L Mélenchon opposes the world of finance and financial capitalism. However, in the final stretch (meeting of 18 April), in order to win in the electorate, he backs down about the exit of the EU and the euro by saying that we can change the Treaties. I do not think we can change the Treaties: we need to get out of these Treaties to rebuild a real Europe. Moreover, his program has become far too green! In particular, he wants to get out of nuclear power, which would be a disaster for France. Nuclear power is the energy of the future provided that we focus on clean nuclear power of 4ème génération and nuclear fusion.
Thank you, Sir, for answering our questions