French president Emmanuel Macron is ramping up his reform goals, according to a video he retweeted on his Twitter account this week.
The video shows a fired-up Macron at his desk in the Elysée Palace, nearly shouting at unseen recipients of the speech about the need to reform the social welfare system in France. According to Macron, the French government spends, “a crazy amount of money on social benefits,” with the only result being that the people “born poor stay poor” and the people that “become poor stay poor” and the government loses money. Macron claims that education is the key to solving poverty, and that addressing this as the root problem will be more effective than doling out handouts. “We have to prevent poverty and make people aware of their responsibilities to lift themselves out of poverty.”
These are bold words from the leader of the most welfare-friendly country in the world. 31.5% of France’s GDP goes to social spending, far above the runner-up, Sweden, and miles ahead of any other world power. Social spending is an intrinsic part of French culture stemming back to the days of the French Revolution, and the French public won’t swallow this pill easily. But as Macron showed with his labor reform and train reform over the last year, he could be more than capable of pulling off his plans for welfare reform.