Monday, 7 May 2012

Hollande wins French Presidency

I haven't said anything about the French presidential elections, not least because I know little about French politics.  However, the election of a socialist president for the first time in 24 years will be interesting.  According to the BBC, Hollande describes himself as a moderate and was praised by former conservative president Jacques Chirac.  Of course, this is France; Hollande has proposed a 75% upper income tax bracket (to apply to incomes above one million Euros).

I don't describe myself as a socialist, but I do tend to broadly align with socialist economic opinions.  So I'm tentatively welcoming of this result.  In particular, I hope it will encourage a reconsideration of the politics of austerity that have hit Europe in recent years.  Times of economic recession are exactly the times that governments would be expected to run deficits.  High poverty and unemployment mean that welfare spending should increase, while low tax returns cut government income.  To be sure, too much government spending can lead to excessive inflation and make things worse.  But I think things have swung too far against this.

Of course, ignoring Hanlon's Razor it's easy to believe that this is deliberate.  The push for austerity and tax cuts by the IMF and other organisations seems tailor-made to benefit powerful corporations and wealthy individuals, at the expense of the poor.

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