Nationwide riots in France have raged on for the eleventh consecutive day following the French government’s decision to force through a pension reform bill that raises the retirement age from 62 to 64. The government used special constitutional powers that pushed through the unpopular bill without holding a vote in parliament.
However, it appears that the rioters have recently targeted BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager. The company reportedly does not have anything to do with the pension reform bill. But one protester told Reuters that BlackRock has been targeted because of its work with private pension funds.
Jack Posobiec said on the Human Events Daily podcast that France's privatization of their pension is essentially the same as the social security infrastructure that exists in the US. Posobiec went on to suggest that the rioters have justification for being angry, saying: "For people who have been paying in [toward a pension] their entire lives, how do you think it feels if the government suddenly comes in and tells you you're not going to have that anymore? Just understand how people are going to react. This is how they're gonna react, and they see it as benefiting who? Benefiting places like BlackRock."
The pension bill means that, starting in 2027, people will have to work two more years in order to receive full state pension benefits.
The French government has noted that unpopular pension legislation is essential to avoid what has been characterized as a looming funding deficit. However, the legislation does not play well with the rising living costs that have swept across the country. CNN reported that French inflation took a downturn in February, primarily due to a “sharp slowdown” in energy prices hiking. But food prices soared during that time.
Even when France’s new pension-eligible age goes up to 64, it is still below the European average and other developed economies. Someone typically has to be 65 to start drawing from their pension plan, but that number could be edging toward 67 on the continent.
It has also been noted that France typically has more generous pension plans than in other countries. Taking up nearly 14 percent of GDP in 2018, the country’s spending on state pensions is larger than other countries.
CNN reported that France’s interior ministry would be deploying over 11,000 law enforcement officers across the country on Thursday.
Despite the riots stretching across the country, President Emmanuel Macron recently traveled to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who he urged to reason with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s onslaught of attacks in Ukraine.
Posobiec noted that Macron committed a faux pas during his visit, speaking for twice as long as the leader he was visiting.
"This is not how you negotiate Emanuel Macron. You're an idiot. You know what you need? You need to read one time, the art of the deal. Have you ever read it?" Posobiec said.
"Macron is an absolute fool. He pushed this pension reform without even a single vote. He's the one who's ruling as an autocrat right now. Not Xi Jinping," he later added.