Fatality and heroism in politics

By Benjamin Lemoine

This study describes the series of circumstances surrounding the French public debt between 2003 and 2007. The blend of expertise and political professional requirements allows an alternative view of decision making processes in this time period. Prior to the 2007 presidential campaign the successful publication of the Pebereau Report allowed a consensus to be reached among politicians about the urgency of reducing the public debt. The preconceived European view of public finance has been validated; therefore dealing as a priority with the “pathology” of public debt seems unavoidable. Fall-back arrangements and relativist options were temporarily shrouded under politicians’ use of the “debt argument” during the electoral competition. When the time came to honor his campaign commitment on fiscal concerns, the widespread acceptance of the original consensus offered an opportunity for the recently elected candidate to make a heroic break vis-à-vis the budgetary imperative.


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