Are there more details on Macron's vision of how tax cuts will positively affect (French) society? I found a story from last year his rejection of the well-known “trickle-down” economics narrative, coupled with his talk of “lead climbers” pulling the rest behind them:

Commentators have likened Macron’s policies to the “trickle-down” economics espoused by former U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Britain’s Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher. They believed tax cuts for the rich would benefit the poor through increased consumption and investment.

Macron on Sunday rejected trickle-down economics, opting instead for a rock-climbing analogy whereby he wanted “lead climbers” to be strong enough to haul up those behind.

I found a more recent (June 2018) story that three economists who were close to him pre-election (and one of which previously described Macronsim as akin to a Scandinavian model) have sent Macron a "confidential" note (which nonetheless made it to the press) in which they accuse him of drifting to the right, among other things on inequality:

Macron, who campaigned on a promise to be “neither left nor right”, moved swiftly in his first year to loosen labor rules and slash a wealth tax, earning himself the nickname “president of the rich”.

The economists said there was a risk the French would find these measures unfair and think the government is deaf to the needs of the poorest in society.

“The president must talk about the issue of inequalities and not leave this debate to his opponents,” the economists wrote.

Among proposals to reduce inequalities, the economists suggested a rise in inheritance tax for the richest, scrapping tax credits on property investments, and cancelling Macron’s promise to abolish a housing tax for the wealthiest 20 percent.

Macron’s office confirmed it had received the note, but said it did not foretell government policy.

So clearly the "Scandinavian model" has yet to come through Macron's actual policies... So what is his economic discourse presently (2018)? In particular has Macron articulated his "lead climbers" vision in any more detail?


2 Answers 2


I will venture general observations, because french political discourse for reform sounds like a "vacarme", a collective murmur and an assembly din racket, where the biggest political changes take the form of a controversial scuffle in the media and between politicians.

Macron's voice has not risen above the murmur, regarding trickle down capitalism, taxes and industry, and the French aren't interested in Macron.

"la loi du travail" is not a showman political style like "Obamacare" or "The New Deal" or "Brexit".

His voice hasn't caught their attention. He will therefore be not much different to Sarkozy in the long run. He had the momentum for change in his sails, but he is too diminutive.

His biggest program so far has been "La Loi Du Travail" for which you can find some progress "bilan" and reviews online. It reduces the huge number of trade union representatives and meetings by a small amounts. It's a list of measures.

Macron isn't a spectacular orator, so people aren't very mesmerized by his ideas, as they were by DeGaulle, who had a very loud words which he spoke slowly and thoughtfully.

A lot of very good work is done in the government, and some wise choices are made, and they often go unnoticed.

France doesn't have a flexible national political apparatus, it's slow and monolithic, and ineffective for major reforms and cross party cooperation, so there isn't a tradition for bringing about big government programs, like what we would want to hear about!!! Macron's changes are bogged down the lack of previous examples of how to label and define a political program in France. Political programs of the senate are more like watered down legal documents, than ministerial executive orders and layman visions like you would have in the USA or the UK. In the UK we wouldn't call an ambitions reform project "la loi du travail" "the work law". That's why the debate on the law is unclear.

A rich presidential candidate called Mr Fillon made his children work as secretaries for big sums and his wife had 350,000 for keeping his appointments, and $500,000 fictitious employments as an editor for a billionaire's political affairs magazine... He was completely exonerated, but they stopped politicians from employing their own family, and kept the opaque payment system which permits them to keep their finances invisible to the public. That is an illustration of Macron's lucidity and his power over french politics. That chapter of the french financial system went somewhat under his radar.

In terms of progress, Having lived here for 10 years, I haven't seen people excited about any particular program or other from Sarkozy or Macron, the biggest news stories cover agitation for blockading reforms against worker rights.

The change is more low level government change, which serves to run the country very well at a local level, and sometimes less rashly, simply because French presidents can't force their way forwards with rash or wise decisions either way.

Tax and benefit changes haven't caused significant controversy here, a few changes here and there. The tax system and distribution is very similar to that in neighboring European nations. The workers rights are much stronger than in Germany and the UK, and Macron is managing to reduce by about 15% the amount of time spent by lawyers to enforce workers rights.

The bureaucratic form filling is more complex and repetitive than in more digitized countries. Contracts can't be confirmed digitally in France. You have to fill in about three times as many paperwork forms and documents for businesses and they are very technical and full of esoteric acronyms and definitions like "being a moral or a private entity", CCPI, SPIE. etc.

Despite it's complexity and national inflexibility, it's a relatively very well run and a very intellectually, commercially productive country.


I found a little bit more from his discourse in July, but it's still mostly at the depth of sound bites:

he was determined to push on with ambitious reforms despite losing the backing of many working class and rural voters. “To share the cake, there has to be a cake,” he said.

Previous high taxes in France had only benefited wealth managers in “Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands,” he said.

There's a bit more on Twitter in April, based on a TV interview, which has this written summary:

Je ne crois pas à la théorie du ruissellement. Simplement:

  1. Empêchez les gens de réussir en France, ils iront réussir ailleurs.
  2. Des milliers d’entrepreneurs s’en allaient. En supprimant l’ISF, ils participent maintenant au financement de notre économie.

Basically he says (after repeating he doesn't believe in "trickle down") that (1) "if you prevent people from succeeding in France, they'll succeed elsewhere" [and in the interview he's talking about "the best" emigrating in such circumstances] and (2) he claims that thousands of entrepreneurs were leaving France because of the wealth tax. (In the TV interview he seems to me he might even have said "hundreds of thousands", but it may be because he speaks so quickly that he actually said "hundreds or thousands"; the latter is actually the correct figure [depending on time frame] according to a reply with statistics). Anyway, in the interview he says that the tax cut will allow these entrepreneurs to reinvest in France. And the end of the interview her reiterates (1) "keep the talents" and (2) "have a French financing of our economy". He also said that he'll re-evaluate the effect of the wealth tax elimination in two years.

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