On the economic front, there are still major doubts among the population about the very need for reform, and about the effectiveness of the current reform in redressing the situation.
A report on the financial outlook for the pension systems was published in September 2022 by the COR (Conseil d'Orientation des Retraites), and is the basis for the government's argument that more money needs to be brought into the system.
But the report is actually more nuanced. According to this interview with Michael Zemmour (Senior lecturer in economics at the University of Paris-I):
[The report] tells us that spending is under control and that the system is not in danger. On the balance, it tells us that it depends on the conventions and macroeconomic assumptions of the moment, but that in the long term it is in surplus. On the other hand, he alerts us to a drop in revenues, particularly those coming from the State, which causes a deficit, while expenditures are stable. And in any case, this deficit is not a threat. It is a small deficit on the scale of the pension system. He also warns about the programmed drop in the level of pensions for tomorrow's retirees, who risk having a relative standard of living 20% lower than today. Either we agree with this and do nothing, or we think it is a concern and additional funding will have to be provided.
This analysis has been widely taken up by the unions and is fairly well integrated among the opponents of the reform. An example from the FSU (the main teachers' union):
In the September 2022 report of the COR, the changes in the share of pension expenditure in GDP would remain quite controlled until 2070. The expenses do not explode because the successive reforms since 1993 have taken their toll and lowered the level of pensions. The COR has calculated that, without these various reforms and the change in the indexation method in the basic schemes, the share of expenditure would be 18.9% of GDP in 2070 with a growth assumption of 1.3%. A largely sustainable effort.
While the COR projects an average retirement age of 63.7 in 2040 without reform, and while currently more than half of all employees have left the workforce at 62, postponing the legal retirement age to 64 is unjustifiable both economically and in terms of the cost of the reform.
Another point of opposition concerns the effectiveness of the reform compared to the efforts required of workers.
Indeed, the initial reform foresaw a saving of 17.7 billion euros, to fill a deficit of 13.5 billion euros by 2030, leaving a margin of nearly 4 billion euros. But to make the reform more popular and try to reach a majority in parliament, social measures have been granted (for people with disabilities or inaptitude, for long careers, for mothers), which in the end will cost nearly 7 billion euros, leaving the system in deficit.
Opponents of the reform therefore argue that the efforts required of workers are too great in relation to the announced gains of the reform, and that the estimated deficit of 17.7 billion euros in 2030, which is largely overestimated, can be borne by the state budget (over 600 billion euros).