Does the golden rule deserve its name?

The right makes an evil a good, it seems that currently the liberal ideology feeds the worries related to the debt. As a result, Nicolas Sarkozy’s program has a good chance of landing on a background of rigor. The measure that best embodies this ideology remains clearly the golden rule, mentioned a few months ago. We are nonetheless in a position to ask ourselves if this famous rule fits well into a serious policy or rather into a political maneuver.

The golden rule, what is it?

It is a constitutional bill that will aim to balance public finances in three years. The idea did not start today, the Prime Minister had already announced last summer that such a measure would be put on the table shortly. The main idea is to guarantee France a sovereign policy throughout the ages. In fact, since the risk of default by the States is no longer considered as zero, they are plagued by the diktat of the financial markets. In this sense, the governance of the affected nations must necessarily be aligned with the requirements of the lenders, in the event of failure, bond rates would have to rise. This principle of canceling the deficit would enable France to guarantee its signature in the long term.

This measure has a price, however, if the nation gains sovereignty, the parliament clearly loses power. If economic measures are enshrined in the constitution, there will necessarily be a form of disregard for parliament. Indeed, to force the assemblies on such measures is to consider them as incompetent, the legislative power will, therefore, be reduced. Thus, the constitutional council will be able to validate or not laws according to their compatibility with the public finances. In this way, the laws voted will be subjected to a subjective verification. In addition, this golden rule quite clearly limits exceptional measures, such as stimulus plans. If it had existed before, the state could not have helped the banks in 2008, as a result, the crisis would surely have been harder. We must not do excessive rigor.

This law would be a form of a framework that would encompass both the state’s finances and those of social security. Revenue floors and expenditure ceilings are set, if a law goes out of the straitjacket, it can be censored by the constitutional council. Another principal will be included in the law, the government will have to commit in advance to inform the Parliament of its positions that can be held in Brussels. The law was passed in the National Assembly and Parliament on July 13. However, for this to be part of the marble constitution, three-fifths of the Congress should be agreed. This is obviously not the case at the moment in view of the socialist positions.

An economic reform yesterday, a political weapon today

Basically, this idea was born from a good thought, since it seems that the head of state uses it for purely political purposes. The idea is to place the PS in a tight grip, the goal is to put the socialist positions in contradiction with their words, which will have the effect of discrediting them. The trap is very well thought out, the goal is to put all the socialists out of competition for 2012. Even if this law limits the power of the parliament, that it hampers the emergency interventions of the State, the leaders of the UMP continue to hammer the motto of a measure of common sense calling for responsibility.

Continually and in various ways, the right calls the left to abound in its meaning. The PS was clearly in favor of reducing the deficit to 3% in 2013, albeit only informally. By refusing this law, they are in contradiction with their own program, some try to qualify this by passing their campaign as reducing all deficits (budget, social, cultural, …). But it is very difficult for them to stay united in this regard.



The right tries repeatedly, to discredit the left at the European level. The Germans already have a golden rule, other countries are putting them in place as well. The refusal of the PS is likened to irresponsibility by the right. For Nicolas Sarkozy, it would surely be preferable that the law does not pass, indeed it could easily challenge the Socialists. In addition, he still has some cards to play. It is also very likely that the President of the Republic calls for a meeting of the Congress to vote the law, the event will, of course, be very media, in case of refusal from the left, the majority in place do not hesitate to berate them and accuse them of lightness.

In conclusion, this golden rule, based on a good moral background, remains today especially a political weapon used by the power in place. The main purpose of this program is to guarantee the long-term French signature on its debts. It is likely to considerably hamper the emergency measures that may be necessary in the event of a crisis. In France, unlike Germany, the candidate of rigor loses in general, the bet of the president remains very bold.

Does the golden rule deserve its name?
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