Two and a half years after its first bold initiatives, it is clear that the Mitterrand presidency has not taken France “beyond the welfare state.” The 1984 budget, announced in September 1983, shows both the durability of the welfare state and its persistent problems.
Prime Minister Mauroy and Finance Minister Delors characterized the budget as “austere,” but it is “austere” in a context light years away from American politics. The austerity came from increased taxes, not from reductions in any major social benefits. The government still plans to spend more on health and unemployment insurances and...
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