Business as usual – Trends-Tendances sur PC

The long term has never been a concern for our democratic society. We have all seen the challenge of pensions for 2050 come for more than 20 years. But who is really ready to change their habits to prepare for 2050? Everyone always finds someone who is better off than themselves, someone richer or a recipient of a more favorable pension scheme to justify the status quo on their own destiny. In a completely different register, we see everyone, from COP meetings to IPCC reports, the climate dangers for 2030 and beyond. But who is ready to cut back on their comfort to preserve 2030? We all see a more polluting or a more energy-intensive one to justify our …

The long term has never been a concern for our democratic society. We have all seen the challenge of pensions for 2050 come for more than 20 years. But who is really ready to change their habits to prepare for 2050? Everyone always finds someone who is better off than themselves, someone richer or a recipient of a more favorable pension scheme to justify the status quo on their own destiny. In a completely different register, we see everyone, from COP meetings to IPCC reports, the climate dangers for 2030 and beyond. But who is ready to cut back on their comfort to preserve 2030? We all see a more polluting or a more energy-intensive one to justify our status quo. Today, there are emergencies before our eyes. They will materialize in a few months and not in a decade or more. They are of very different order, but unfortunately they meet the same resistance. Urgency alone is not enough to unblock the locks and overcome the routine of business as usual. One might think, for example, that when inflation explodes, leading us to up to six wage indexations in a year (this is the Bureau du Plan’s estimate), the debate on automatic indexation would be a bit more nuanced. But no, to review the modus operandi for this Belgian specificity with e.g. a ceiling on indexations remains a taboo for the union bench. And it is a pity if, as Pieter Timmermans, CEO of the Federation of Belgian Enterprises, declares, such wage increases in a few months’ time would constitute “a tragedy for the competitiveness of companies” and could cause great damage to our convalescent economy. In a completely different register, we see a threat looming on our gas supply. This winter, we may no longer be able to heat the buildings we are used to. Deadline is approaching dangerously close. And do you think that changes anything? When the executives of the three largest French energy companies call for sobriety and confirm that “every gesture counts” to reduce our consumption, they only get laughs and shrugs. Like the International Energy Agency, when last spring called for measures such as reducing the speed limits on our roads or returning car-free Sundays. Work as usual. To try to find solutions, our leaders willingly turn to the experts. Academics are getting as wet for an explosive tax reform or for purchasing power as others got wet yesterday for the pension reform (this goes back to the Di Rupo government …). To see how the proposals are then swept away, one has the painful impression that these expert reports above all serve to save time, even directly to justify passivity. The parties quickly set themselves up as rampages against such and such a proposition: “Just look at these horrors that you have avoided thanks to us!”. This will serve as a balance for them at the only time that matters in the political world, namely the next election. Meanwhile, the Belgian car is heading towards the wall, towards several walls even, and no one has the courage to turn the steering wheel for fear of displeasing their constituents.

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