Well this article confirms the view most Americans have that France is too socialistic which is stifling it's success in the competitive world markets of today. Those who say the US is too socialistic should note that the US is the least socialistic of all the countries mentioned. Our(the US) problem is not social spending as much as the trillions we squander on foreign wars. If France did that it would be in even worse shape.
The first round took place last Sunday, with the following results:
1. F Hollande, Socialist party - 28.6%
2. N Sarkozy, UMP (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire - Union for a Popular Movement), traditional right, incumbent - 27.2%
3. M le Pen, National Front, extreme right - 17.9%
4. JL Melenchon, Leftist Front, extreme left - 11.1%
5. F Bayrou, Democrat Movement, centrist - 9.1%
6. Five other candidates
. For the first time, the incumbent does not come in the first place in the 1st round of a presidential election,
. The core issue is the level of the extreme right at almost 28%
. The other issue is that when you add Le Pen and Melenchon, and a couple smaller ones, you're over 30%, showing that a third of the voters support positions that are totally economically unrealistic, and extremely anti-European.
This does not demonstrate we have too much socialism, but too little education. History is not properly taught, and citizens, especially the younger ones, do not understand the risks associated with the ascension of fascism. Also Economy is not properly taught as a third of the population does not want to understand the fundamentals of economics.
I think these labels on peopple's viewpoints are not only inaccurate but unhelpful. Why is wanting adherence to immigration laws "extreme" anything? Why is wanting to become more insulated from events that occur a thousand or more miles away "extreme"?
The article notes France's unemployment woes . . do you think admitting more people into a countru helps the employment stats? I think it would worsen them. And, does it help or hurt a country to have sizable portions of the population to whom French culture and laguage means little? Again, I think it hurts that country's stability and solidarity.
World leaders have drug their populations into the illusion (now realized) of properity through globalism. What we have seen since the economic collapse of 2008-2009 has been that globalization can hurt as well as help a country's economy. I bet a lot of people in Western countries wish they were as insulated as Brazil is . . . Brazil hasn't gone through the crisis that so many other countries have becaquse they didn't buy into globalization. Is Brazilian leadership "extreme"? Is so, I think extremism can be very beneficial.
the message of your references is: France has succumbed to the "plague" of conformity, as "evidenced by" 18% of French voters casting votes for Marie le Pen, the feared "extreme right" candidate. This conformity, allegedly based in fear of differences, you apparently believe (but don't me put words in your mouth) underlies most of the woes of your country. Do I understand correctly? If not, then spell it out for this dumb American.
My question is: Do you attribute a significant portion of problems in France to the "extreme-right"- inspired "fear of differences" between peoples and their insistence upon conformity . . thus minimizing differences?
If appears your answer would be "yes" and your solution is promoting more diversity.
Traditional right responsibility is extreme right growth
May 11 2012, 4:10 PM
Here is what i meant about the extreme right growth.
Nicolas Sarkozy during his whole term has been playing communities against each other and designating scapegoats for each issue. Of course, the #1 scapegoat is the immigrants. Of course, this is the usual themes defended by the extreme right, taken over by the traditional right.
As WWII is still in the mid of the older generations who had a chance to learn history, there is a general poison that the thesis of the extreme right are not acceptable. This was especially true with Jean Marie Le Pen, who had been directly involved in killing people and in torturing in the war in ALgeria, and surrounded by collaborationists from WWII. His daughter is much smarter. She tried to make the extreme right more presentable, and to get away rom the negative image of her father.
Nicolas Sarkozy, by using the anti immigrants, racist, anti EU, etc.... arguments from the extreme right made these arguments more acceptable. In the past National Front voters used to hide, not to declare they voted for the extreme right. Now, making these ideas more acceptable, allows people to revendicate they voted for the extreme right,a nd more to follow suit.
I hope you will understand my point, even if you may be lacking some background on French politics for the art few decades. If not, don't hesitate to ask more questions.
as I will try to understand things foreign to me by seeking parallels to things more familiar. I understand what you wrote, but maybe not all the meanings can be conveyed in a few sentences or even paragraphs. I will offer an example and see what you think of it.
In U.S., we of course have people of various political bents and beliefs as well, from those on the "progressive". "Liberal" or far left (though never referred to here as "extreme left" -- that word is reserved for the right, as in "extreme right wing" . . mainstream media here do not consider anything left as "extreme"). Then there is some nebulous position called "moderate" or "centrist", which is somehow supposed to be where the most sensible, or at least "reasonable" Americans can supposedly be categorized (though, in my opinion, the "moderate" collection of positions has been shifted left during the past 20 years, such that most any conservative positions can now be referred to as "extreme" unless one repents, admits one's ignorance and that once one was properly informed they cast aside those false conservative beliefs and now aspire to being perceived as "moderate").
In France, you say that Sarkozy, and even more so Le Pen, seeks to grasp and maintain power by emphasizing differences . . that the differences are evil and it then becomes us-vs-them . . . the them being what the non-right thinks are really harmless scapegoats, such as immigrants.
In U.S., I think this process of dividing and blaming various groups is utilized by both the Democrats and the Republicans, the Left as well as the Right, the Liberals and Conservatives, by minorities and by the (at-the-moment) majority white population, by women and by men. But a funny things happens then: Divisions promoted by the right, the conservative, the white, by Christians, and the male segments are cast as evil and blamed for causing most of the problems in my country. Divisions promoted by the left, by non-whites, by non-believers, and by women are depicted as not evil at all, but as some semblance of "the natural reaction of reasonable and noble peoples when confronted by the wicked haters and discriminators, and the totalitarians, and ignorant segments of American society . . that must be defeated by good people everywhere it raises its ugly head." The reality, as I see it, is that the distrust and divisions are present and promoted by people in all the various groups in U.S. But only the right (and its evil minion groups noted above, get blamed for it.
Do you think something like this can occur in France, or other countries, and where you choose to assign the blame most depends upon what you choose to believe? Could your characterization of Sarkosy be colored by your beliefs, just as (I think) Nat's characterization of events pertaining to U.S. is colored by his beliefs?
But from the link . . . my guess . . . le Pen supporters will not want to vote for either remaining candidate. If they do vote, it might be like the votes of many Americans, who ask themselves "Who is the least worst candidate?" and then bite their lip and shake their heads as they make the no-win selection. That is what the 2012 U.S. Presidential election will be for me . . that is, if I even bother to vote.
Certainly France is not alone in running a deficit and national debt, and the possible remedies being discussed are not unique either. As in my own country, there is the debate about whether to cut govt spending and/or raise taxes. From the article, it appears that raising taxes is the more politically tolerable option in France (whereas in U.S., it tends to be cutting govt spending that rank-and-file Americans favor . . at least until their favorite program is to be cut). My impression is that French taxes are already high, as are taxes in any European country that supports an impression social welfare system. If that is true, how much more can taxes be raised there? (I just saw on the news two days ago that U.S. now has the highest corporate tax rate "in the industrialized world" at 39+% -- that obviously includes France, so where do the high tax revenues come from .. . from the average French citizen?)
The other familiar comment in the article is that French workers get paid excessive wages. Again, many Americans say the same about American workers. To be compettive, they say, workers need to accept less . . or see their jobs continue to be out-sourced to lower-wage countries. Is the same said about French workers?
It seems funny to me how workers' pay is allegedly too great . . but (at least in U.S.), the pay of top execs and the profits of large corporations continue to be HUGE . . . and the % of the country's wealth held by a few people continues to increase and increase. So, where is the REAL problem? Is it REALLY the "little guy" worker who is greedy and expects too much . . or is it REALLY the wealthy bosses and their companies that have been way too greedy and have the bank balances, spread sheets and stock portfolios to prove it? I think the latter.
Marseil, what is your take on all this, as it regards France? . . the European Union?
That 39% corporate tax rate is a joke Bob- there are so many special credits and loop-holes that hardly any companies pay that. Some pay none at all. Thats the problem- our political system has become so corrupt that those with money can literately "buy" the laws and regulations they want to enable them to get even richer- and the public be damned!
In the last 30 years I've seen countless rules and regulations in my business that were put in place for the good of the public repealed because big chain broadcasters went to Congress money in hand to get these laws repealed. One example is the rules that use to limit how many stations one company could own- it was there to insure that monopolies wouldn't control the industry and put small local stations out of business. Now there are virtually no limits and big chains come in and buy up all the locally owned stations so instead of local owners providing programming tailors to local needs- you get robot stations that relay some satellite feed out of NY or LA and doesn't care beans about what the local market needs.
The same thing happens in just about every other business as well. As soon as a small company begins to have some success it is gobbled up by some big conglomerate- invariably resulting in lost jobs and higher prices. Antitrust laws are a joke now. We have the best politicians money can buy.
Yes indeed, France is not alone in running deficit and debt. But unlike the US, we cannot create money to limit this debt. The ECB is an independent body that has as a single objective to limit inflation. For this reason, the Euro is still quite high, as there is little (or no?) money creation.
Everyone in France is favorable to limit government expenses, but whenever it comes to concrete actions, everyone protests. No one wants to have less teachers, less doctors and nurses, less policemen. Even, cutting less obvious expenses, will always raise protests. for instance, there has been years of debate whether France should have a new nuclear propelled submarine. A large part of the debate is that it should be built to give jobs to the people building it, and considerations whether such a submarine would be useful or not in a global strategy come second.
a very deltialed article in english about Frecnh taxation is herehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_France . Maybe a short way for you to get is is here: TVA: is VAT, or sales tax, IR: tax on individuals' income, IS: tax on companies income, TIPP: tax on gas.
No one says French workers are paid excessive wages. Most of them are paid the minimum wage or close to it. Current value is EUR 1398,37 gross / month, which ends up as less than EUR 1200 net / month (US$ 1,586) , after social charges, before income tax. What is clear is that the cost of labour is extremely high. For instance, a person paid at the minimum wage makes around EUR 1200 / month, but costs over EUR 1885 (US$ 2492) to the employer, as the largest part of social charges is paid by the employer. And the level of social charges increases faster than the wage level.
Of course, people complain top execs get too much money here. And a part of the debate is on the level of taxes imposed to the richest. Accoridng to me thais has to do more with the symbols than actually solving the deficit and debt issue.
It seemed to me that the French Presidential election finished within a matter of a few months, with several candidates still in the running until a couple of weeks ago. U.S. Presidential elections drag on and on, a minimum of 18 months, It is a gauntlet of campaign stops, fund-raising and barbs thrown at each other until (I think) the electtorate here is numb and wants it to be over. Even when the field gets down to 2 (or 3) candidates, there is still about three months to go before the election. It sucks to keep seeing constant political ads bashing the other . . . I think "You are both liars1 Neither of you should win . . get off my television!" I would much prefer a short process, say 6 months, to what we now have. I think Americans' attention span cannot stand much more than that.
So, what do you think of your outcome? Do you like Hollande, and why (or why not)?
(I hear that the Greek election process is also going on -- as in France the "extreme right" gaining support, but still a small minority there).
The US market is not happy about this. The fear here is that Europeans in general are going to rebel against the austerity needed to get their financial situation in order and that will in turn effect our economy as well. We live in such a global society now that what happens in one country effects all. I don't think such inter-dependence is a good thing really but its a fact of life now.