Family, the program duel between Macron and Le Pen

Emmanuel Macron: a family policy that does not give its name

If the issue is not a priority for the presidential candidate, his program includes several actions that affect the family, especially at the two ends of life: early childhood and old age.

Emmanuel Macron says it bluntly: he wants to be re-elected “Building the France of our children and grandchildren”. The formula appears in the preamble of their program. However, the family is seldom called upon to carry out this project: the candidate relies on school for personal emancipation.

→ ANALYSIS. “An unexpected term of five years”: Emmanuel Macron’s reticence in family policy

However, family policy emerges after certain measures are fired in the name of goals consistent with the “progressivism” claimed by the head of state: the reconciliation of family and professional life, the search for “well-being” and “aging well”. , or administrative simplification. As a result, these scattered actions do not draw a global project, supported by a precise vision of today’s families according to Emmanuel Macron, but outline, through small touches, certain changes in the daily life of the families of the future.

A childcare solution for all parents

Its most important action concerns early childhood. The candidate promises a guarantee “An accessible childcare solution for all parents of a child under the age of 3” to reconcile family and work. The idea of ​​such a right, the contours of which have yet to be defined, is not in itself new: it has been announced repeatedly by successive governments and has always been rejected because of the difficulties involved, particularly those related to staff shortages.

However, the decision to propose such a measure remains relevant, sociologist Julien Damon believes: “If it did see the light of day, it would be the major parametric reform that was missing in the five-year period now ending. » Above all, this project meets the times and the expectations of young parents: “All international studies show that childcare for families is the best way to boost the birth rate,” adds the sociologist.

Another advance promoted by the candidate: simplification and increased support for certain categories of poor families, especially single parents. Thus, the disbursement of family allowances such as poverty alleviation allowances will henceforth be automatic to counteract endemic non-take-up, while single parents will see their childcare allowances increase and receive them until the child’s birth is 12 years old.

On the fringes of family policy, the outgoing president also wants to better support parents in their parenting role, promising to install standard parental controls on computers and smartphones to combat children’s earlier exposure to pornography and online violence.

Several measures for old age

Finally, at the other end of life, Emmanuel Macron takes note of the aging of the population and envisages several measures for old age. He wants to make it possible for seniors “Having the opportunity to stay at home” by partially funding their work to adapt to dependency (e.g. installing handrails on the stairs, etc.) and through “set up two hours of socializing a week”thanks to home visits by caregivers.

→ ANALYSIS. Leaving home is an ordeal for seniors and their families

Finally, Emmanuel Macron heats up on social issues, but also opens debates. In doing so, he undertakes not to check the legal deadlines for abortion, which have already been extended by two weeks since he came of age, and not to legalize surrogacy. However, the candidate becomes a question of the end of life in the event of an election “a citizens’ convention that will bring together citizens, ethics experts and professionals”, he warns.

► Marine Le Pen: an ambitious, costly and discriminatory programme

Because of national preferences, the far-right candidate’s family policies would differ greatly from those of previous governments. The announced massive support, which is only focused on families with French parents, would still be very costly for public finances.

In 16 pages, Marine Le Pen tries to pose as the champion of the family, “Elementary cell of the national community” and “First place of solidarity”, she points it out. To believe that was the case “well abused by successive governments”The far-right candidate promises a clear break: In the event of an election, the family will be provided ” in the heart (from) Presidential Project » around four goals: “Promote the birth rate”, “Improve everyday life”, “Support purchasing power” and “Promoting the preservation of the link between generations”.

Marine Le Pen assumes that she will not help all families, only these “whose at least one parent is French”, contrary to the universalist tradition of family policy since 1945. Such a change, now unconstitutional, can only be adopted by referendum to bypass the Constitutional Council.

“This program, certainly elaborate and extensive, also bears an important ideological colouring, according to the sociologist Julien Damon. The aim is to reward families who have French children. to increase the birth rate without resorting to immigration.

Promote a declining birth rate

At the cost of reducing the number of beneficiaries, the candidate argues that substantial aid could see the light of day. In particular, it promises efforts to enable young couples to become owners and parents at the same time.

“The real estate bubble is now a significant obstacle to the creation of new apartments,” she analyses. Even in the case of an election, the state “will give massive support to young couples” through an interest-free loan of EUR 100,000, the remaining capital of which would be lost after the third child.

→ ANALYSIS. In 2021, parents over 30 cushioned the fall in the birth rate

Still aiming to encourage a declining birth rate, she proposes introducing full tax participation from the second child onwards – to make this possible “save €560 per year for a medium-sized household with two children”. In addition, the purchasing power of single parents would be significantly boosted by doubling the support for single parents, the family maintenance allowance (ASF), which would rise from 116 euros to 230 euros per month and child.

To these measures aimed at young parents, Marine Le Pen adds others aimed at this “promote the preservation of the link between the generations” : additional tax benefits for widows and widowers, 12 months of better-paid care leave, compensation of €300 per month for anyone who decides to move into the home of a dependent, etc.

Exclude 10% of newborns

Still, funding this panel for very expensive measures could become a headache, warns Julien Damon. If we are based on births in 2020, limiting the number of beneficiaries of the family policy to only children of at least one French parent would amount to excluding 10% of newborns, ie 72,000 per year, which is a saving of approx “3 billion euros, evaluates the sociologist. This will continue to be very insufficient to fund the arsenal of new policies that represent a huge cost to public finances. »

Finally, at the social level, the candidate promises caution. “after two five-year terms that fractured French society”. It proposes a three-year moratorium during which “The only way to open debates on these issues can only be through the referendum on a citizens’ initiative.” She pledges to strengthen the surrogacy ban by refusing “recognize the parentage of foreign-born children”.

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