The French government’s inability to predict economic downturns

In the past fifty years, France has been through four economic downturns. Adobe stock

France has been through four recessions in the past half a century, and none of them were predicted by the public authorities, who are far too frequently in denial of reality.

The phrase “the R word,” which is what people in the United States use to refer to recessions so they don't have to actually say the word, is never spoken by our ministers. Bruno Le Maire, the French Minister of Economy and Finance, has stated repeatedly since the beginning of the current academic year that France will experience positive growth in 2023. Now that the official growth rate has been made public, we know that it will be 1%, according to the government's projections. After rising by 2.7% this year, GDP will consequently experience a significant deceleration in growth next year, but at least it will avoid falling into negative territory. Phew.

For its part, the High Council of Public Finances, which is an independent body from the government and parliament, attached to the Court of Auditors, and composed of a dozen experts from the public and private sectors, considers this forecast to be “a little high” (sic). We are in the company of decent individuals. In 2012, the High-Level Commission on Financial Planning (HCFP) was established specifically for the purpose of ensuring the credibility of the government's scenarios in terms of public finances. This implies upstream that the “…

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