In 1991, Michel Rocard launched a bombshell into the public debate in the form of a white paper on the future of pensions.
Prime Minister, he had commissioned it for educational reasons, so that everyone could properly measure the magnitude of the task.
The result lived up to his worst predictions: the experts he had sent to the bedside of the pay-as-you-go scheme affirmed that if the working time needed to receive a full pension did not increase from 150 to 168 quarters, the level pensions would collapse.
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To further complicate the equation, retirement at age 60, introduced in 1982, remained the social flagship of François Mitterrand's first seven years.
It was then that Rocard launched his famous prophecy -
"There is enough to bring down five or six governments"
- and decided that his would not be the first to die on the field of honour.
After all, to deal with the emergency, he had just created the CSG (generalized social contribution)!
François Mitterrand let it be known loud and clear how much…
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