Division value, end of indentation

EXCLUSIVE LETTER SUBSCRIBERS – After a firework of initiatives, the majority takes its time to land on a controversial topic.

Dear subscribers,

Has the majority, or more likely the Élysée, closed a sequence of more than a month, which has boiled over the theme of value sharing? The sequence opened on 12 October with the vote, against the government’s opinion, of an amendment written by the president of the Modem group in the National Assembly, Jean-Paul Mattei, which aimed to overtax “super-dividends”. The text planned to increase the taxation of dividends from large companies from 30% to 35% 20% higher than the average income distributed between 2017 and 2021. Badly written change, according to a source close to the executive. The result of which, laughs another, would partly miss its implicit target, TotalEnergies, which unlike many groups (including tied and forced banks) did not reduce its dividend distribution during the pandemic.

This is not a political coup, but a legislative coup.explains Jean-Paul Mattei, chairman of the MoDem group at the National Assembly. Vincent Isore/IP3 PRESS/MAXPPP

For a month, the debate has, let’s say, gone in all directions. Logical, since several questions have fortunately been mixed up. For some, the topic was to make a promise of social justice, to create a symbol in the context of the inflationary crisis. In other words, don’t stop at “zero”, as Bruno Le Maire opposes any taxation of super profits. The finance minister even dropped the word “scam”. For others, it is about a better distribution of value between capital and labour. For still others, it is necessary to push the ambition even further. Beyond a cyclical response to the inflation and purchasing power crisis, beyond the violence of the left and far left over super profits, it would be a matter of continuing the work of reforming committed capitalism with the covenant law. A work whose paternity is claimed by Bruno Le Maire, author of the law, and by his Minister of State for SMEs Olivia Grégoire, parliamentarian at the head of the subject when the text was put to a vote in 2019, author of a book – And after ? For bourgeois capitalism – initiated by Emmanuel Macron.

Wealth creation does not work if we give too much to the shareholders and the workers do not see the color

Emmanuel Macron on France 2 on October 26

The President of the Republic repeated on 2nd France at the end of October his campaign promise to create an employee dividend, that is to say forcing companies of all sizes to pay a surcharge for profit sharing or participation in the event increase in dividends everyone rushed into the breach, and made a big effort to bring the “boss” the solution.

Result, a number of initiatives. The minister of the interior, Gérald Darmanin, chose to push his social Sarkozyist fiber by defending the idea of ​​a large wage conference, Grenelle style in 1968. A proposal pushed by the minister to the executive office of the Renaissance on 27 October.

People are noticing that their wages have not kept up with price inflation and they are noticing that some of the bosses are being paid and that this remuneration is out of proportion to what some of the employees are receiving.

Gérald Darmanin on RTL, 16 October

The employers are suffocating and reminding, according to a company manager, that times were different and that the economy, more national then, could better support a general wage increase than today, more open and exposed to international competition. IN The ParisianBruno Le Maire abbreviated an idea that “could only lead to indexation of wages to inflation”.

Elsewhere, another initiative, for the Renaissance party, the mission was entrusted to MEP Pascal Canfin to elaborate on the subject. Objective: rewrite the Mattei amendment to find a version to be inserted into the 2023 budget at second reading. It is “Plan B” of the majority, with the headline for the daily on November 10 The echoes. The idea: to respect the willingness of the modem to push “better equality between capital taxation and labor taxation“, and impose the payment of a supplement for participation in the case of “super-dividends”. One way to avoid crossing the red line set by the executive board: no tax increase. But that idea stalled. First, because participation falls under labor legislation and would have no place in a budget text.

So, and above all, all this agitation took place while, on the part of Minister of Labor and Employment, Olivier Dussopt, a major consultation with the social partners on the theme of value sharing is currently underway. “We have to wait for the discussion from the social partners, otherwise it wasn’t worth giving it to them”Elysée informed my colleague from echoes Cécile Cornudet, 16 November. Completion of recess.

So there will probably be no measurement in PLF. Neither supplement, because the line “no additional tax” must be maintained, nor limitation of profit sharing or additional participation, because “this is not the time to f… SMEs”, explains a source close to the boss. It’s complicated enough as it is with inflation and energy bills.

The majority take their time. The sharing of value will be addressed within the framework of the CNR, National Council for Refoundation, dedicated to “productive model and the social model”. In the Ministry of Economy, says a majority official, Bruno Le Maire wants to relaunch “Bercy Lab”a “brain storm” as far as the covenant law is concerned, associated representatives of companies, wage earners, economists, researchers… And at the assembly, a group of ten deputies from the finance committee went on an information mission about the share value. It’s six months. The mission is headed by Member of Parliament Louis Margueritte, former deputy director of Bruno Le Maire’s cabinet. A sign that does not deceive. This time the Minister of Economy won the showdown. How long time ? That is the big question, and the parliamentary debates promise to be lively again. Some are very tempted to go for a tax on share buybacks, the story – it is barely veiled – to touch the first group affected, TotalEnergies of course. And to spice up the debates a little, the Institute for Public Policy published a study on Thursday which estimates that the taxation of the hydrocarbon producers’ super profits – provided in the PLF in connection with the measures decided at European level – which mainly new concern the oil group with taking into account its refining activities, could bring 6-7 billion euros to the state and not a few hundred million. To be continued…

But actually?

Last week, I had an appointment with two key people in this debate, a few hours apart. Let’s listen to the first thing from management: “there is no problem with value sharing in France”. Let’s listen to the other, majority side: “A fundamental answer must be given to the distortion of the distribution of value in favor of capital and to the detriment of wages”.

Suffice to say, in the absence of a common diagnosis, we didn’t leave the hostel!

Behind appearances, it is necessary to disprove this idea of ​​over-remuneration of capital. The bias in favor of the latter has occurred in the United States, probably under the influence of the weight of tech companies, which are hyper-profitable with a relatively small workforce. In France, a note written by Éric Dor of IESEG emphasizes, “After the sharp decline recorded from 1982 to 1987, the remuneration of employees tended to increase from 1988 to 2021 as a percentage of net value added. It reached 82.56% in 2021 from 75.02% in 1988. In the 1st half of 2022 it fell slightly to 81.81%.”. He adds: “The increase in the profit share from 2012 to 2021 was achieved without it being detrimental to wages. The share of wages as a percentage of net value added also increased very little during this period. The increase in the share of profit was first made possible by the decrease in net interest, net rent and other net payments to third parties from 6% to 3.1%. It was also benefited by the reduction of the share of production taxes after deduction of subsidies and of profits from 9.1% to 6.3%.

In his book published in January 2022, The neoliberal scarecrow, a very French evil, Guillaume Bazot also devoted a chapter to dissecting this topic of the distribution between capital and labor. Conclusion: “The ratio between the net share of labor and the net share of capital over a long period (is) quite stable and even increasing since 2007”. In a column for Opinion, Erwan Le Noan hammers home the point: France has neither a problem with sharing value nor a problem with inequality if it has a problem with wages, “its source is on the side of public power, which crushes them with burdens and rules”. The proof with “Insee data (which) indicates that France occupies the fifth position among the countries with the highest hourly costs in the EU”.

This week you must also read

Reindustrialize, they said. It is a story that caused a stir and rightly so. Contrary to the speeches and the ambition of re-industrialisation and simplification, a factory project has been abandoned. The Bridor group’s, with an investment of 250 million euros, in Ille-et-Vilaine, disputed despite permits from environmental organizations. However, we are not in a story to create a new Seveso site! To read the article by Mathilde Visseyrias.

XXL scam. What a story about the bankruptcy of the FTX crypto-asset exchange platform and the fall of its emblematic founder Sam Bankman-Fried. We need to be careful that the crypto world, which I still do not believe for a second, does not try to make it a simple black sheep, whose onslaught would be beneficial to the sector. That said, it’s a huge black sheep. It is sufficient to read the declarations of the executor who was appointed to lead the group’s bankruptcy application. John J. Ray has never in his forty year career seen a band with so few internal procedures. However, John J. Ray is also the one who had managed Enron’s bankruptcy. He has references!

Icons. Tom Ford has sold his brand, including cosmetics and eyewear licenses, worth $2.8 billion, to the American group Estée Lauder. I take advantage of this spectacular operation to reveal to you my latest find in the podcast department: Business Wars, better in my opinion than the book version recently published in French, which tells about dozens of corporate battles over several episodes each, including one for Gucci. , which was against the Pinault and Arnault groups in 1999, or Estée Lauder’s against L’Oréal.

See you next week,

And until then, let’s meet at bigbusiness@lefigaro.fr

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