Increased longevity and social security reform: questioning the optimality of individual accounts when education matters

par Gilles Le Garrec

In 1950, life expectancy at birth in Western Europe was 68 years. It is now 80 years and should reach 85 by 2050. The downside of this trend is the serious threat that is hanging over the financing of our public retirement systems. Financed on a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) basis, i.e. pension benefits are paid through contributions of contemporary workers, the systems must cope with an increasingly large number of pensioners compared to the number of contributors. For example, leaving the average age of retirement unchanged in France would lead to a ratio of pensioners to workers (the dependency ratio) of 70.1% in 2040, whereas this ratio was 35.8% in 1990. Changes are unavoidable. Maintaining the current level of benefits within the same system in the near future requires to increase either the contribution rate or the length of contribution (by delaying the age of retirement). Continue reading “Increased longevity and social security reform: questioning the optimality of individual accounts when education matters”

Share Button

Reforming the conjugal quotient

By Guillaume Allègre and Hélène Périvier

As part of a review of family benefit programmes (the motivations for which are in any case debatable), the government has announced plans to reduce the cap on the family quotient benefit in the calculation of income tax (IR) from 2014. The tax benefit associated with the presence of dependent children in the household will be reduced from 2000 to 1500 euros per half share. Opening discussion on the family quotient should provide an opportunity for a more general review of how the family is taken into account in the calculation of income tax, and in particular the taxation of couples. Continue reading “Reforming the conjugal quotient”

Share Button

Family benefits: family business?

By Hélène Périvier

Bertrand Fragonard has submitted his report to the Prime Minister; it aims, first, to enhance the redistributive nature of family policy and, second, to rebalance the accounts of the family branch, which have recently been running a deficit, by 2016. A realignment of family benefits towards low-income families is proposed as the first objective. As for the second, the two options proposed are adjusting benefits based on means, or taxing them. How can 2 billion euros be found in today’s lean times? Continue reading “Family benefits: family business?”

Share Button

The taxation of family benefits – is this the right debate?

By Hélène Périvier and François de Singly

Debate on the taxation of the family allowance has begun once again. Faced with a deficit in the government’s family accounts of about 2.5 billion euros in 2012, the idea of taxing the allowance has resurfaced as a way to refill coffers that have emptied, in particular as a result of the economic crisis. The debate often pits an accounting logic that aims to make up the deficits quickly against the logic of a conservative family policy. This post offers a broader perspective that goes beyond this binary approach to the issue. Continue reading “The taxation of family benefits – is this the right debate?”

Share Button

Should family benefits be cut? Should they be taxed?

By Henri Sterdyniak

The government has set a target of balancing the public accounts by 2017, which would require cutting public spending by about 60 billion euros. The Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, has given Bernard Fragonard, President of the Haut Conseil à la Famille, France’s advisory body on the family, a deadline of end March to propose ways to restructure family policy so as to balance the budget for the family accounts by 2016. Aid to families thus has to be cut, by 2.5 billion euros (6.25% of family benefits), i.e. the equivalent of the 2012 deficit for the CNAF, the French national family allowances fund. Is this justified from an economic perspective and a social perspective? Continue reading “Should family benefits be cut? Should they be taxed?”

Share Button

In defense of France’s “family quotient”

By Henri Sterdyniak

At the start of 2012, some Socialist Party leaders have renewed the claim that the “family quotient” tax-splitting system is unfair because it does not benefit poor families who do not pay taxes, and benefits rich families more than it does poor families. This reveals some misunderstanding about how the tax and social welfare system works. Continue reading “In defense of France’s “family quotient””

Share Button