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French pensioners rally as Macron adds more austerity to long-running inflation

Pensioners protesting in Paris on Jan 10, 2023. (Photo by AP)

Pensioners rallied in hundreds of towns and cities in France against President Emmanuel Macron's determination for even more austerity cuts amid the inflation crisis.

When campaigning in 2017 Macron promised he wouldn't cut pensions and that their purchasing power relative to inflation would be preserved.

Seven years later, inflation has progressed by 17 percent while pensions have increased by just 8 percent.

The widely protested pension rollback and retirement age hike by decree in 2023 and the widening gap between inflation increases and pension increases may explain why no sector of society has turned against Macron more than retirees.

Think about it; how is an elderly pensioner who is largely stuck at home and unable to work is supposed to make up this gap?

Now add in the increases we all see in food, heating, and, electricity prices, and you can see why pensioners are so upset with Macron.

Protesting Pensioner 01

I'm active in senior citizen politics and several years back many pensioners would not be interested when we would distribute information leaflets to them.

They'd say things like 'Oh, we're not unhappy' or 'others are poorer than us', but I can report that in recent months no pensioner is saying that or refusing our help.

That's how bad it's gotten in France, and especially in the quality of our health care.

Protesting Pensioner 02

Paris has warned there will soon be a second round of austerity cuts to the already austerity-driven 2024 budget.

There are so many retirees who live on less than 900 per month and everyone should be able to comprehend how difficult that is.

Many of us have also diseases like cancer and diabetes, and I can promise you that none of us asked for them.

We deserve dignity and not to be treated like we are some sort of lower class citizen just because we have finished our working career.

Protesting Pensioner 03

An alternative to public service cuts would be increased taxes on the rich or corporate shareholders.

But the Macron administration said it doesn't want to go digging into the pockets of the French.

While the average household is still reeling from COVID-19 and the disastrous backfiring of European sanctions on Russia, an Oxfam report revealed that the billionaire families of France have gained €230 billion since 2020.

That would be sufficient to give €3,400 to every single French person.

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