Réformes : en parler et ne rien faire…

Discuter ŕ longueur de temps de réformes sans jamais passer aux actes fait plus de mal que de bien. Anticiper une réforme, par exemple celle des retraites, du systčme de santé ou des indemnités de chômage inquičte tous ceux qui se sentent concernés. S’attendant ŕ devoir un jour ou l’autre payer des services jusqu’alors gratuits ou bénéficiant de tarifs subventionnés, ils régissent en réduisant leur consommation et en économisant.

Mais comme en Europe on se contente souvent de discuter de réformes, l’intéręt de ces derničres ne se concrétise pas. Or les gens ne travaillent davantage que s’ils ont la certitude que les impôts vont baisser et les marchés financiers ne réagissent positivement ŕ la diminution des dépenses de l’État qu’une fois les réformes adoptées. Mais autant que les politiciens se contentent de discuter, la confiance des consommateurs s’effrite, les indicateurs économiques passent au rouge et le consensus nécessaire ŕ l’adoption des réformes disparaît. Les discussions se prolongent néanmoins, de męme que la chute de confiance des consommateurs.

L’Allemagne offre un exemple inquiétant de ce cercle vicieux. Depuis plus d’une décennie, la réforme du généreux systčme de protection sociale occupe la premičre page des journaux allemands. Quelques timides mesures ont bien été mises en śuvre, mais le résultat d’un sondage réalisé il y a deux mois par le journal Die Welt traduit le sentiment général de la population : “47% des personnes interrogées prévoient de réduire leur consommation ŕ cause des incertitudes sur la réforme des retraites et du systčme de santé”. Il en a résulté une rapide chute de la confiance des consommateurs. L’index de confiance des consommateurs était légčrement positif en novembre 2000, mais il est depuis tombé ŕ -20, la chute la plus marquée de toute la zone euro.

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