Francois Hollande

Brussels Attacks Prove PC Police Will Not Defeat Islamic Terrorism

The sun had not yet begun to creep up over the horizon on Tuesday morning when my alarm clock went off, and I was awakened to the somber voice of a news reporter describing the scenes of carnage in Belgium after a series of Islamic terrorist attacks rocked the city of Brussels just a hours earlier as Belgians were on their way to work.

Initial reports indicate that passengers at the Brussels international airport heard gunfire around 8AM local time, followed almost immediately by an explosion at a passenger check-in desk. Moments later, as passengers panicked and fled the area, a second explosion hit inside the terminal. Within minutes rescue operations had begun. Just over an hour later, at 9:10AM local time, a third explosion hit a train at the Maelbeek Metro subway station, near the European Union headquarters. At least one of the explosions has been determined to be the result of a suicide bomber.

It Doesn’t Seem Possible, but France Is Going from Bad to Worse

Remember when Paul Krugman warned that there was a plot against France? He asserted that critics wanted to undermine the great success of France’s social model.

I agreed with Krugman, at least in the limited sense that there is a plot against France. But I explained that the conspiracy to hurt the nation was being led by French politicians.

Simply stated, my view has been that the French political elite have been taxing the nation into stagnation and decline and there is every reason to think that the nation is heading toward a severe self-inflicted fiscal crisis.

But it turns out I may have been too optimistic. Let’s look at some updates from Krugmantopia.

We’ll start with a report from the Financial Times, which captures the nation’s sense of despair.

…if the country’s embattled socialist president was hoping for some respite from what has been a testing year, he can probably think again. … the French economy barely expanded during the second quarter of this year after stagnating in the first. …the result will make it all but impossible to achieve the government’s growth forecast for 2014 of 1 per cent… Bruno Cavalier, chief economist at Oddo & Cie, the Paris-based bank, says one reason is the huge constraint on disposable income posed by France’s tax burden, which has risen from 41 per cent of GDP in 2009 to 45.7 per cent last year – one of the highest in the eurozone.

Gerard Depardieu Goes John Galt

Written by Marian Tupy, a policy analyst, Center for the Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

Few Frenchmen are more recognizable at home and abroad than the movie star Gerard Depardieu. Last week, Depardieu caused a great controversy in his native land by moving to Belgium – partly to avoid the 75 percent income tax on the wealthy that was introduced by the socialist President of France, Francois Hollande. Depardieu’s move was condemned by the French political establishment, including the Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault who called the actor’s action “pathetic.”

Depardieu shot back and, in an open letter to Monsieur Ayrault, wrote, “I’m leaving because you think success, creation, talent and anything different should be punished. I am sending you back my passport and social security, which I have never used.” The French actor claims to have “paid 85 percent taxes on his revenues this year [2012] and estimated that he had paid €145m ($189m) in total since he started work as a printer at the age of 14.”

Regulatory Compliance Costs Don’t Always Have a Dollar Figure Attached

Cross-posted from Friction Tape.

Francois Hollande

Recently elected socialist French president François Hollande.

While I’m not sure I always buy whole-hog the amorphous concept of “regulatory uncertainty,” brought on by the administrative state, as a catch-all explanation for everything wrong with the private sector and our nation’s current unemployment crisis, a fascinating Bloomberg Businessweek Global Economics feature from May 2012 looks at French labor policy (emphasis mine):

[France] has 2.4 times as many companies with 49 employees as with 50. What difference does one employee make? Plenty, according to the French labor code. Once a company has at least 50 employees inside France, management must create three worker councils, introduce profit sharing, and submit restructuring plans to the councils if the company decides to fire workers for economic reasons.

French businesspeople often skirt these restraints by creating new companies rather than expanding existing ones.

No, Barack Obama, the United States should not be more like France

President Barack Obama has an idea, you guys. In his latest pivot on the economy, because everything else his administration is doing failing so spectacularly, he said the United States should offer the same sort of benefits that France requires businesses to offer their workers:

Extolling the business virtues of helping workers balance family and employment demands, including providing paid time off for the birth of a child, Obama said that if France can provide the benefits, so can the United States.

“Other countries know how to do this,” Obama said. “If France can figure this out, we can figure it out.”
[…]
Obama made the comment at the first White House summit for working families, which sought to amplify issues like paid maternity leave and the ability to take paid leave to take care of elderly loved ones.

“Many women can’t even get a paid day off to give birth,” Obama said. “There is only one developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave, and that is us. And that is not a list you want to be on, by your lonesome.”

The White House hosted the summit jointly with the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and it served in part as a campaign pep rally focused on turning women voters out in November.

France’s Fiscal Suicide

Written by Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

I try to be self aware, so I realize that I have the fiscal version of Tourette’s. Regardless of the question that is asked, I’m tempted to blurt out that the answer is to reduce the burden of government spending.

But sometimes that’s exactly the right prescription, particularly for an economy weighed down by a bloated public sector. And, as you can see from this chart, the French welfare state is enormous.

Only Denmark has a bigger burden of government spending, but at least the Danes are astute enough to compensate with hyper-free market policies in other areas.

So is France also trying to offset the damage of excessive spending with good policy in other areas? Au contraire, President Hollande is compounding the damage with huge class-warfare tax hikes.


The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.