the real reasons the French oppose Macron’s pension reform

In the beginning, I raised my eyebrows then pooh-poohed the idea of my fellow citizens protesting against President Macron and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne’s planned reform. But the more I listened (to the protesters, not to Macron and Borne), the more I agree with them. Now I too will be joining the next protest march on Saturday February 11.

WHERE? Place de la République at thirteen hundred hours (1 p.m.) BE THERE!

It’s so much more than raising the legal retirement age from 62 to 64. Here’s one reason out of many why the French are protesting:

Amidst rising energy prices for consumers –

French energy giant TotalEnergies posts a whopping €14 billion profit thanks to soaring oil and gas prices

Calls for bigger windfall tax after Shell makes ‘obscene’ $40bn profit

Oil giants post eye-popping $237 billion record profits

“The pension financing system needs to be rectified because it is in deficit”, the government tells us. The labor unions exhort the government to apply windfall taxes to France’s gas and oil behemoth, TOTAL, which, up until now, pays zero tax.

Those tax payments could help contribute to the pension finance system and spare the workers, many who are underpaid and have physically demanding jobs, from working longer.

Michael Zemmour (no relation to the far-right failed presidential candidate, Eric Zemmour), an economist at Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University, believes the government has ulterior motives. “Our pension system is healthy,” he says. “The government only wants to balance its budget and offset the impact of tax rebates for companies.” He thinks it’s worth putting public money into a system that reduces inequalities. “If there is a deficit, now or in the future, we could finance that by increasing employers’ contributions, which many people would prefer to the reform.”

And it’s not just TOTAL. The top forty companies quoted on the Paris stock exchange earned collectively 174 billion euros in profits in 2021. But did they all pay reasonable taxes in France on those record earnings?

Vivendi, the French media and communications group, made 24,692 billion euros in 2021, on which the company paid 929 million euros in French tax. Very roughly, one third of one tenth of one percent.

Here’s how much ordinary salaried workers pay in income tax in France; I’m in the third revenue band –


“It really comes down to the question of what kind of society we want to live in — one ruled through market-orientated rationality or one which is focused on reducing inequalities,” says Daniele Linhart, a sociologist specializing in work relations at the public research institution, CNRS.

Those protesting the reforms (the majority of the population) believe that, little by little, Macron’s government is dismantling France’s (cherished) social model.

Next up: retirement inequality: Women’s pensions are much smaller than men’s

The inequality stems from career breaks, wage gaps and the choice of lower-paying professions.

8 thoughts on “the real reasons the French oppose Macron’s pension reform

  1. I was so impressed by the protests in France and what they accomplished. The French know the hard truths. Because we are seeing this greed worldwide it’s great to see some success. Helping the vulnerable is the bedrock of democracy. The demands that they made were met and it was so gratifying to see. The dictators are banding together and it’s a force that politicians cannot contain. It’s up to us.

    Now that we know the #Oligarchy is worldwide we can fight them together worldwide. I’m in the U.S. and we are in strict capitalism run by the fascists heads of these corporations. They try to tighten the screws on the people on a daily basis. Food here is poisoned and you must be diligent to find organic or grow your own because everything else has poisonous pesticides and gmo’s in them. We have much lower motality rates now than 20 years ago and it will get worse if something isn’t done.

    It’s been traumatic for the many of us due to the lack of citizen protections being attacked. We are seeing mass deaths in the U.S. from Trump’s neglect of Covid-19 to his attacks on our institutions, children being gunned down at school for lack of gun reform, and the insurrection he incited. He is a known Russian asset. Hillary Clinton tried to tell us. History will prove that the 2016 election was fraudulent due to Russia’s help. This is a disinformation & propaganda war and it’s spreading woldwide.

    Andrew McCabe, ex-Deputy Director of the FBI, is saying publicly on The World Beneath Podcast (Stephanie Koff, known as @LincolnsBible on twitter) that the Italian mafia was over taken by the Russian Mafia in the 80’s.

    So with Reagan administration and the succeeding elected Republican Fascists party dividing Americans with culture wars the fight against the fascists is growing strong here. It’s basically up to the people.

    The media is basically an arm of the fascists heads of the corporations. We have some great journalists but even the NYTimes is both siding the issues here. Craig Unger, American journalist, says that until Americans share a common truth we will continue to have these problems. His books about the Russian mafia are excellent.

    TikTok has some good people to follow like Rabbi Michael Pollack of Philadelphia whose organization March On Harrisburg has been effective in Pennsylvania fighting corruption and running these people OUT. Every state should follow his lead.

    Another great book about corruption is #DarkMoney and how it’s destroying democracy by Jane Mayer from the New Yorker Magazine. The bribery in the U.S. is actually now legalized because the politicians have been bribed. They create their own laws in the dark of night.

    We are also dealing with mass psychosis. Steven Hassan is a cult expert and has a wonderful podcast, website, and he is on twitter @CultExpert. His website is He has helped families for many years and has been working with the U.S. Congress (mostly Democrats).

    The most pressing issue is climate change. The disinformation & propaganda are designed to distract us from how they are ruining the earth’s environment. We don’t have time to waste. The political stunts we are seeing in the U.S. are a cover ups. Psychologically we are dealing with psychopathic murders leading the charge. They are not capable of caring about humanity.

    The good news is there are more of us than them but we need to get the word out. So happy to hear about the Frech protest. I’m so proud of my strong French ancestry.

    All the best. Hope we can get organized here quickly.

    Vive la France.


    Liberté, égalité, fraternité

    • Greed. Passivity (how come there have never been protest marches in front of Big Pharma offices?). Inequality on all levels. A large percentage of unenlightened citizenry. The cult of the dollar (money is the religion in the USA). Corporate statism. Lack of social cohesiveness (but to be fair the USA is huge, so that’s difficult.) The decline of trade unions. Don’t forget, Genna, that it’s the French trade unions powering the protests here. Do trade unions still have influence in the States?

      The protests have accomplished nothing yet, and the demands of the people have not been met. It’s still early days. Which is why more protest marches are planned for this coming Tuesday and next Saturday.

      The French have always had a deep distrust of their government leaders. Although France is a successful capitalist country, I believe the majority of French citizens are socialists at heart: social equality and distribution of wealth is important. No one is complaining about the high taxes we pay here; it’s the obscenely rich corporations who pay zero tax that is the problem.

      Those tax payments could help contribute to the pension finance system and spare the workers, many who are underpaid and have physically demanding jobs, from working longer. All politicians are good at twisting the truth and the people believe that Macron is pulling the wool over their eyes.

      Thanks so much for your insightful comments. I will take note of the book, podcast and website references you mentioned.

      Vive la France indeed! Paving the way to people’s parity.

    • Re “Psychologically we are dealing with psychopathic murders leading the charge. They are not capable of caring about humanity”

      The fact that psychopaths rule is only ONE part of the equation. The pack of leading criminals do not operate in a vacuum. There are 2 destructive human pink elephants in the room and they are MARRIED — “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room”…

      Isn’t it about time for anyone to wake up to the ULTIMATE DEPTH of the human rabbit hole — rather than remain blissfully willfully ignorant in a narcissistic fantasy land and play victim like a little child?

      “Never hide the truth to spare the feelings of the ignorant.” — Mikhail Bulgakov

      Without a proper understanding, and full acknowledgment, of the true WHOLE problem and reality, no real constructive LASTING change is possible for humanity.

      And if anyone does NOT acknowledge, recognize, and face (either wittingly or unwittingly) the WHOLE truth THEY are helping to prevent this from happening. And so they are “part of the problem” and not part of the solution.

      “… normal and healthy discontent .. is being termed extremist.” — Martin Luther King, Jr, 1929-1968, Civil Rights Activist

  2. Oops, I thought the protests had already met the demands of the French workers. Everyone, including me, is busy just trying to keep up. I hope it happens, seems one success leads to another. If any country can do it would be France. They are an inspiration in any case. Social democracy seems the best way to deal with all the world’s issues particularly the climate.

    Here, the unions are active but it takes so long to get things passed because organization has to come from the bottom up. Communities, counties, state, federal. We need massive organization. The unions are the fastest way I know of to get something done.

    The T. administration has wreaked unimaginable havoc for us. Everything is slowed because our courts are also infiltrated. Biden has been busy appointing as many judges as possible but the system is weakened. Many government officials in the justice department like the FBI aren’t doing their jobs or prosecuting the criminals fast enough. They are however resigning when the heat gets to hot and then writing books about the crimes they aren’t prosecuting. We have a very incestuous system at this point.

    Washington DC has a social circuit where these people have known each other for so long and are friends, neighbors of each other, have dinner parties together, their children go to school together, etc., that they have forgotten who they work for.

    Thank you for you input. Love your blog and photos.

    We need to clean house. Period.

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