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Ségolène's big day - 'With me, never again will politics take place without you'

by Jerome a Paris Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 04:29:19 AM EST

Today was the big day for Ségolène Royal - the day she unveiled her programme, ending her "listening phase" and entering fully the campaign. Worries have been expressed that her campaign was losing out to Sarkozy, because of her supposed "gaffes" (controversial foreign policy pronouncements, or her use of inexistent words), discord within the Socialist Party, and Sarkozy's perceived dynamism, all self-reinforcing as the mass media mindlessly repeated it on and on.

afew had a couple of diaries on this recently, and I can only invite you to go revisit them (all the links at the end of the diary - I've dug most of the diaries in the past 18 months on ET on the French presidential campaign), and today's speech was beginning to be seen as a "last chance" to change the campaign dynamics.

I was invited to attend her meeting (as a blogger) but could not make it, so this is only based on comments by others, but the general tone seems, so far, quite favorable within France, and quite nasty in the English language press as she dared - gasp - present a political programme on the left. The New York Times wins the prize for the most dishonest title with Socialist candidate in France unveils far-left platform


This was a typical "before" article:


Guardian
With just 10 weeks to go until the election's first round, Royal still has no platform. She has made gaffes on international affairs, and her popularity with intellectuals and ordinary voters alike has slipped, leaving conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy at the top of the polls.

Royal, 53, will take a big gamble Sunday in unveiling, at last, some of her plans for France in a platform speech that will be judged by especially tough standards because she has waited so long to make it.

Until now Royal has been in a ``listening phase'' of her campaign, collecting ideas during debates and on her Internet site, where people post 2,500 messages a day. That strategy has given her an image as a rare French politician in touch with the problems of ordinary people.

But it has also left many wondering whether the former environment minister's listening is a cover-up for a lack of concrete ideas.

This is a typical "after" article:


Royal signals shift to the left

Ségolène Royal on Sunday unveiled a 100-point plan for reforming France, signalling a clear shift to the left. The socialist presidential candidate promised the government would be more interventionist in the economy and do more to defend the country's generous social model.

The surprisingly detailed "presidential pact" is based on feedback from 6,200 debates across the country for three months. It promises ambitious reforms in the economy, education, social security, immigration and environment, which Ms Royal said would make France "fairer and stronger".

In Ms Royal's battle to become the first woman president of France, she has chosen to paint herself as the candidate who will defend France's generous social model against the threats of globalisation and economic liberals, notably Nicolas Sarkozy, her centre-right rival for the presidency.

or this:


Herald Tribune / New York Times (without the dismissive title)

"With me, politics will never again happen without you," a combative Royal, 53, told the crowd of flag-waving supporters wearing her logo on T-shirts and stickers. "Today I offer you a presidential pact: 100 proposals for France to rediscover a shared ambition, pride and fraternity."

Sunday marked the end of the two- month "listening phase" Royal decreed after her nomination in November. (...)

Royal's speech was attended by all senior Socialists, including her two rivals for the nomination. Cheered by supporters and frequently interrupted by applause, she spoke with more ease than usual. When she talked about France's volatile suburbs, where riots erupted in November 2005 and high unemployment rates continue to curb the opportunities of second- generation immigrants, the emotion was evident on her face and in her voice.

"I want for the children in these suburbs what I want for my own children," she said, clenching a fist before her bright-red blazer and prompting the crowd to erupt into a two-minute interval of applause.

A former schools minister, she vowed that she would tackle the social exclusion in the suburbs by reducing the number of students in classes. She also promised free tutoring for students that have difficulties keeping up, and workshops for parents to teach them how to discipline their children.

The full programme can be read, in French on this page (thanks Laurent Guerby for the html version). There are a heartening 9 measures out of 100, and a specific chapter, on the environment, the first one of which is "anticipate the depletion of oil resources." The FT article above actually has a pretty good run down of the proposed measures - quite detailed, quite comprehensive, unashamedly on the left, and meant to address the concern of average French persons. There is a specific focus on youth, on security.


The chapters of her programme:

  • restore confidence
  • protect purchasing power
  • make it easier for all to work
  • focus on educational and cultural excellence
  • preserve social security
  • fight violence
  • promote environmental excellence
  • build a new Republic
  • make France strong in Europe and active for world peace

Overall reactions in France, on news sites forums or on blogs, seem quite positive, with the main criticism being that the cost of her programme is not yet identified or paid for. But people seem impressed by the ambition of the programme, and its coherence with her stated method of listening to what people had to say and using that feedback to build something that would actually respond to their needs

On the forums

On the blogs
  • Desert d'avenir (hostile)
  • Netpolitique (happy that one of their ideas was used in her speech
  • Versac (centrist, one of the best known French bloggers, lots of comments)

One comment I found on Libération that I liked:


Une force de conviction
Je pourrais dire que j'y étais au discours fondateur de Villepinte. Quelle ambiance ! Des gens normaux, de tous âges , de toutes origines . Une chose que je n'avais jamais vu avant : des mamans seules avec leur enfants : mais qu'est-ce qui pouvaient bien les pousser à venir jusqu'au Hall 5 de Villepinte un dimanche après midi ? Une femme : Ségolène Royale et un discours, long , intense et prenant, jusqu'à l'émotion . Et puis la sérénité qui se dégage . Elle était étonnamment détendue vu l'enjeu de ce discours . Au fur et à mesure que les propositions sont énoncées , on se dit que c'est évident ,que ces mesures sont du bon sens , qu'il faut les faire connaitre ,les démultiplier. Le 22 avril , je voterai S.Royal et le 6 Mai aussi . Je ne partirai pas en congés comme la dernière fois ...

A strength of conviction.

I'll be able to say that I was in Villepinte for this foundational speech. What a crowd! Normal people, of all ages and all origins. And something I had never seen before: single mothers with their kids: what could have pushed them to come to this Exposition Hall on a Sunday afternoon? A woman: Ségolène Royal, and a long, intense speech that captures you and grabs you. And her serenity. She was unexpectedly relaxed considering the stakes today. And as her proposals come, they appear obvious, full of common sense, and each of us need to pass them on and "multiply" them around. On April 22, I will vote for S. Royal, and so will I on § May. I won't go on holiday like last time...

So here's hoping that a resurgent left, not ashamed of itself and its achievements, can prevail.

Earlier Presidential elections diaries:
On European Tribune:
Ségolène Royal - a rising star in French politics? by whataboutbob
Sègo vs Sarko: presidential poll update by whataboutbob
Finally it is clear: 'Blairite' = critical of the moderate left by Jerome a Paris
Big Ségolène Royal interview in Le Monde by Jerome a Paris
Sarkozy feeling increasingly nervous, turns to Blair for advice (and other thoughts) by Ben P
Royal strides ahead? by afew
Jospin Pulls Out (again) by afew
Tale of Three Candidates (Poll and Update) by afew
French Socialists: live blogging by Alex in Toulouse
PS Primaries - Voting has begun by afew
Ségolène Royal chosen as Socialist candidate by Jerome a Paris
Ségolène Royal, the Middle East and French politics by Jerome a Paris
French candidates go wild on wrong problem by Migeru
Not Monsieur Hulot by afew
Press Review: An American Neo-con with a French Passport by redstar
Sarkozy loves Anglo-Saxon model, calls Blair "one of us" by Jerome a Paris
José Bové Wades Into the Fray by afew
Trendspotting: French Presidential Race.  by ManFromMiddletown
11 in a row for Sarko by afew
Royal and the Roots by afew
Roots versus MSM, synthesis? by afew

On DailyKos
Ségolène Royal chosen as Socialist candidate for French presidential election
French elections (II) : Royal in the Middle East

Display:
I couldnt believe she will tax the french living overseas, if it is not a far-left idea of hating the "entrepreneur et le bourgeois", what is it ? pure demagogy as cache-sexe.

I already pay quite lot of tax in Australia (more than 40%), i am not willing to be taxed 2 times. I didnt wanted to vote since i am not in france anymore but i will rush to be able to vote Sarko.

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 05:22:16 PM EST
It's not in the programme (checked the doc I linked to)


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 05:29:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, can the origin of this claim be traced? That's a task for bloggers.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 05:36:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This was quite public, as it is one of the proposals in the report by Dominique Strauss-Kahn to Ségolène Royal on tax policy. He proposes to set up a tax on French expatriates that have moved all their capital outside of France.

I have not yet found a lot of details, but considering that this is what the US does (taxing all citizens, even when abroad), I fail to see how our expatriates should complain. The key, of course, is the offset with local taxes - if you left France to go to a low tax jursdiction, you will lose out; if you went to a "normal" country (and remember that France has one of the lowest income tax burden of all industrialised countries * ), there should be no impact.

* note: I'm talking about income tax, not overall taxation, of course.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 06:08:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reasonable tax codes avoid double taxation by discounting tax payable to other countries.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 06:18:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
will see but it s look so ridiculous, especially from DSK, the guy likely be PM or Finance minister.

There are more than 2Million of expat, and this kind of stuff is likely to make the difference between 51% and 49%.

i forecast a Sarko-Bayrou at the 2nd round.

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 06:22:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it would touch at most 50,000 people.

Count on the right to pointlessly tickle the selfish bone of expatriates.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 06:27:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you ve seen her program, it is all about Expenses and demagogy, they will have to tax many more than 50,000 to finance it.
by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 07:38:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope this will be so Fredouil. How people can buy this Segomagogery is beyond my understanding. It's Mitterand revisited, the man that made France lose 20 years of evolution towards a better society. She won't touch any of the real problems France has to face, like the debt, the trade deficit.. she will increase it by "buying" social peace, by postures...

the SMIC at 1500€ "when we can" .... how is that to be financed ? within 5 years, it's the normal inflation indexed increase.

free healthcare for the youth under 25 ? isn't it already free ?

pensions paid every month, Hallelujah !

obviously a palette of small measures, to satisfy every little complaint, and thus avoiding the big questions :

how tho finance future pensions, unemployment, defense, Europe etc... not a word...

rethorics, rethorics, rethorics

the NYT isn't maybe that wrong, Besancenot seemed quite happy on France Europe Express ad Laguiller salured her "courage" the other day...

pauvre France... doux pays de mon enfance

vote Bayrou, so we don't get LePen again in the second run...

by oldfrog on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 08:17:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My French is not good enough to understand these texts perfectly, but while there are differences of emphasis, there seem to be some similarities of concern and even approach to particular issues.

Bayrou: Impôt sur le revenu et sur les sociétés - Bayrou 2007 - Réduction et financement...Royal: Fiscalité : ce que prévoit le projet socialiste
Je propose un principe de stabilité fiscale, afin que les particuliers comme les entreprises puisse penser leur avenir dans le long terme.Pour accroître les revenus les plus modestes et rendre notre fiscalité plus redistributive et plus transparente, nous irons dans la direction d'un impôt citoyen sur le revenu en harmonisant les bases fiscales de l'impôt sur le revenu, qui seront élargies, avec celles de la CSG.
Second principe, la simplification, pour que la fiscalité devienne enfin lisible. La multiplication des niches et des dérogations, la survivance d'impôts archaïques -- de certains impôts locaux notamment -- rend notre fiscalité illisible, complexe et injuste.La première étape de cette réforme consistera à simplifier l'assiette de l'impôt sur le revenu par la suppression des niches fiscales inefficaces et à rendre la CSG progressive, notamment par l'intégration de la prime pour l'emploi.
L'impôt sur la fortune tel qu'il est conçu a fait beaucoup de dégâts. Une nation qui accepte l'exil de ses citoyens les plus riches, accepte de s'appauvrir. Je suis partisan d'une imposition sur le patrimoine à base large, sans aucune niche défiscalisée, sans exemptions, mais à taux léger : un prélèvement de seulement 1 pour 1000 sur les patrimoines au-dessus de 750 000 euros, rapporterait 3 milliards, à peu près l'équivalent de l'ISF aujourd'hui !Nous reviendrons sur les réductions d'impôt accordées depuis 2002 aux hauts revenus, et nous supprimerons le bouclier fiscal.

"mettre en place un impôt citoyen que paieraient tous les Français même lorsqu'ils ont décidé de délocaliser tout leur argent à l'extérieur" et de "lutter contre cette manière de se désintéresser de ce qu'est la France quand on est Français".

Je m'engage pour une fiscalité écologique, menée- c'est le plus souhaitable - en concertation avec nos partenaires européens. La seule manière d'obtenir un changement complet de comportement à l'égard de l'environnement, c'est que cela coûte plus cher de polluer que de ne pas polluer. Une `fiscalité carbone' permettra de planifier, sur le long terme, une régulation des prix des énergies fossiles. Et ce sera l'un des moyens d'alléger les charges sociales qui pèsent sur le travail.Je suis favorable à une utilisation très importante de la fiscalité écologique, pénalisant les activités polluantes, encourageant les usages efficaces de l'énergie, et pour l'utilisation des recettes qui en résulteront pour financer les travaux nécessaires.

Les taxes existantes doivent évoluer pour mieux appliquer le principe pollueur-payeur : taxation des émissions de gaz à effets de serre, taxation de l'eau à son juste prix, taxation européenne du kérosène pour les vols intérieurs, etc.

L'objectif est d'agir réellement sur les comportements, sans pour autant nuire à la compétitivité mondiale des entreprises européennes. La fiscalité écologique mise en place en Suède depuis 1990 est un bon exemple de politique efficace. Je me battrai pour que nous avancions dans cette direction.

Une réforme de la fiscalité locale est d'autant plus nécessaire que 75 % des investissements civils sont pris en charge par les collectivités. La décentralisation ne signifie pas que l'Etat se désengage : les transferts de compétence doivent être entièrement compensés par l'Etat.Nous mettrons en oeuvre une réforme ambitieuse des dotations de l'Etat et de la fiscalité locale. Les communes pauvres bénéficieront de mesures d'urgence et d'une péréquation financière importante. Il sera créé un Fonds National pour l'Egalité entre les Territoires. Ce fonds sera alimenté notamment par un prélèvement sur la taxe professionnelle.


Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 10:05:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
not really,

Bayrou the Taxes are to be fair and thus nor forcing valuable citizens to leave the country.

For the socialists, They need money and the Expats are an untapped source tax.

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 10:29:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The CSG is the tax that hurts the most the lower salaries. It's a disguised income tax. I don't see that Sego is going to abolish it for just that class, just "redistribute" it.

the proposed Segolian 5% increase on pensions for the category "low pensions" is an insult to that category. It gives them 20€ more a month !!! Bayrou proposes 90% of the smic (minimum wage). So they don't have to queue at 80 for charity. This problem which is a remnant of the prewar generation was solved in Sweden in the sixties through the ATP reform there. It's a shame that in this country (France) elderly and widows that have been working all their lives still earn 300-600€ a month.

Everybody has an ecologic fiscality on its program since they signed the "Hulot pact". Except Lepen of course and the far left.

by oldfrog on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 09:33:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]

How people can buy this Segomagogery is beyond my understanding. It's Mitterand revisited, the man that made France lose 20 years of evolution towards a better society.

Mitterrand did a lot to bring France to a better society. Not just on the social and cultural fronts, but also actually on the economic and industrial fronts. Nationalisations saved whole chunks of French industry which were basically bankrupt. The French State managed the terrible restructurings of the steel and coal industries. The increasingly destabilizing "competitive devaluation" policies of the earlier years were weaned off. Major steps forward were made towards a more unified Europe.

Even if you ignore the rest, just for the European bits, Mitterrand was a great President. The picture of Kohl and him in Verdun is enough.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 03:06:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mitterand did two good things : Europe and the abolition of the death penalty. That's about all.

On the home front :

  • nothing was done about the coming pension catastrophy, despite the warnings of Rocard

  • unemployment and precarity sailed away, and Mitterand didn't care : "I've tried every mean"

  • nationalisations ? you're kidding. He had to give up 3 years after. Anyway it was a dead end.

  • all the modernisation that France needed, education, universities, research postponed for the future. 1994 I started to surf on the Internet in Sweden, every civil servant had a computer. In France it was a cool gimmick shown on fairs.

besides :

  • gave green light to the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior

  • supported a whole parallell secret family on tax payers money

  • illegally wiretaped journalists, politicians and known people

  • lied about his health and published faked health reports

  • didn't act in time regarding the Rwanda genocide despite all the signs

  • had two suicides during his presidency, one prime minister and the other one, a confident, suicided with two bullets (!) in his head (at the Elysée).

Do you know any other Presidents in the West with such a record in recent years except Nixon and Bush and probably Berlusconi ?

Every asshole has a good side. If Nixon hadn't been caught on Watergate, he'd probably ended as the great president that ended the Vietnam war and made the big opening towards China...

by oldfrog on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 09:16:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
nothing was done about the coming pension catastrophy, despite the warnings of Rocard

What pension catastrophe? That's just a lie pushed by the insurance industry to put their hands on the biggest loot of all. In every single country. We managed to get from 0% to 10% of GDP, we'll manage to get to 15% in a few decades as our populations get older. Incremental change will be enough.

unemployment and precarity sailed away, and Mitterand didn't care : "I've tried every mean"

When in doubt about how to criticize France, bring up unemployment. Yep, it's an issue. It was a choice by a generation, the babyoomer generation to protect itself and pull the ladder behind it. Once that choice was made, it was really hard to undo, and we're paying this - the young people are, anyway. But other countries made other categories bear the brunt in other ways. France has made the choice to let people stop work at an early age - older people work much less. Is that really such a bad thing?


nationalisations ? you're kidding. He had to give up 3 years after. Anyway it was a dead end.

all the modernisation that France needed, education, universities, research postponed for the future. 1994 I started to surf on the Internet in Sweden, every civil servant had a computer. In France it was a cool gimmick shown on fairs.

And we built nuclear energy, high speed trains and other bits of useful infrastructure which might alos oturn out to be usefum in the near future... And we had the minitel in the mid 80s, 10 years before anyone else had anything approahcing it for the services it provided. Different sorts of modernisation.

One model is not so absolutely superior to the other that you should treat the other so contemptuously.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 10:30:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the Mitterand model is not a social-democratic model nor even a socialist one. It's a "I keep the power to myself-model at any price". Thereof the contempt.

  • pensions : the actual model isn't sustainable and unfair. Most of the best pensions go to the public service employees and the "special regimes" (motivated once upon a time) are today an insult to many French. Why should someone working as a secreterary at the RATP go at 55 with the best possible income ?. Sovietic model. The Pyramid age is a fact in the whole of Europe. Obviously it doesn't apply to France or is a capitalist conspiracy. Even Sego acknowledges the fact, the problem is that she has no solutions... yet...

  • A lot of European countries are revisiting their pension model. Most of them have a system similar to the French (that is to say not privately funded). In what way are they "tricked " by insurance companies ? Why is France an exception ?

  • unemployment wasn't "the choice of a generation", it was the result of the incapacity (or even the lack of will) to see ahead the fundamental changes coming. The Nordic countries never got to the level of the French unemployment with keeping decent welfare - through adapting - and nobody there consider himself worn out at 60, unless for some small categories into hard manual labour. The French must be the frailest population in Europe.  The "choice of a generation", go and tell that to the guys queuing at the ANPE... they'll punch you on the nose.

The Swedes and the Finns understood already in the late seventies that they weren't able to compete against the Japs, the Canadians and Australians regarding shipyards, pulp mills and mining. So they taught their blue collars to deal with electronics and computers with Eriksson and Nokia as tremendous successes. Women in for example the dying textile industry were reconverted towards services, specially services towards elderly (a thing France has "discovered" 2 years ago). They reconverted their construction workers into high-tech specialists that build the Saudi cities. So even if there were failures and a certain toll, no Swedes or Finns ended up without a roof and on the street 1995. Some didn't adapt and used welfare, but no need for l'Abbé Pierre.

- of course France didn't stand still during the Mitterand years, but many of the achievements you cite (nuclear, TGV etc.. were started before Mitterand).

This is not the fight between two models - a "socialist one" and a "liberal one". Both presidencies Mitterand AND Chirac have failed, mostly for the same reasons, the unwillingness to take the tough decisions that all paradigm shifts include. Same in Bush's America : rather keep my little cosy power than piss off some privileged groups at whatever level of the society you may find them.

This is what this election is about : repeating the mistakes until final catastrophy or find a new way. One thing is sure : neither Sarko or Sego are the right answer. They are going to keep the monarchic French system in place and appease it with postures and spraying of small measures, another words for band-aids. Then they will be "astonished" if Marine LePen/DeVilliers win the presidency 2012.

by oldfrog on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 04:48:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Swedes and the Finns understood already in the late seventies that they weren't able to compete against the Japs, the Canadians and Australians regarding shipyards, pulp mills and mining. So they taught their blue collars to deal with electronics and computers with Eriksson and Nokia as tremendous successes. Women in for example the dying textile industry were reconverted towards services, specially services towards elderly (a thing France has "discovered" 2 years ago). They reconverted their construction workers into high-tech specialists that build the Saudi cities.

Could France have done more along these lines, given the big differences between France and these "nordic" countries?  Was the problem just one of lack of imagination and/or will?

neither Sarko or Sego are the right answer. They are going to keep the monarchic French system in place and appease it with postures and spraying of small measures, another words for band-aids.

If you could "design" the perfect policy platform for a candidate in this presidential race, what would it look like?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 08:06:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see you just put up a diary about François Bayrou's Europe speech.

While I like his vision and ambitions for a "union of Europe to change the world" and "to defend our model of society (...) our social values in particular", could you elaborate how his proposed policies would address the problems and concerns you have with Sarkozy's and Royal's "rhetoric" (I am doubtful you would agree to call them "proposals").

For example, according to the article you diaried:

Pointing out the amazing level of the French debt, he invited his supporters "to ask explanations from Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal, who every evening in their speeches promise tens of billion euros additional expenditure".

So, what is Bayrou's position on French debt, and how to resolve the problem?

What does he propose to do about unemployment, pensions, and other issues that you have identified in other comment as urgent issues for France?

(I will post this comment over in your diary as well, where it may in fact be more relevant.)

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 08:38:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]

the Mitterand model is not a social-democratic model nor even a socialist one. It's a "I keep the power to myself-model at any price". Thereof the contempt.

Your (not unreasonable) contempt for the man makes you ignore the economic policies that were pursued.

On the pensions front - of course there is a demographic evolution. Of course the system will need to adapt to it. All I am saying is that it can be done via fine tuning and tinkering over the years, as we've done over the past 40 years to adapt to new population distributions and needs. There will be a combination of slightly higher contributions by workers, slightly longer years of work, and slightly lower pensions, comapred to what have been, but as productivity keeps on increasing, we'll be able to oafford the system and not leave anybody behind.

One thing - on the public pensions thing. I'll let you argue this with my father, who has a simple argument. As a professor, he has had for his whole life a lower salary than his qualifications could have gotten him in the private sector. In return, he got a safe job and a safe pension. You may make a different choice, but it was a deal, a full package, and it is quite unfait to change one part of the package after the fact - and after one party to the deal has already given all it was supposed to.

As to employment/unemployment, the main difference between France and the Nordic countris is the employment rate of the seniors - much higher in Scandinavia. Unemployment has gone to pretty high leves in Finland (above 15%), Denmark (10%) and even Sweden (8%) as well.

You mention Ericsson and Nokia. But the reverse point is that having just one such company is enough to distort all statistics relative to the very small countries that host such a large company. Alcatel or Airbus is not enough, on its own, to have an impact on French macro-economic statistics. Ericsson and Nokia are.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 05:06:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 10:07:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 10:08:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]

  • gave green light to the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior
  • supported a whole parallell secret family on tax payers money
  • illegally wiretaped journalists, politicians and known people
  • lied about his health and published faked health reports
  • didn't act in time regarding the Rwanda genocide despite all the signs
  • had two suicides during his presidency, one prime minister and the other one, a confident, suicided with two bullets (!) in his head (at the Elysée).

Yes, the monarchic presidency is probably not the best feature of the French system, and Mitterrand sure adopted the ways he was criticising two decades earlier....

And indeed, I have a lot of admiration for the transparency, openness and simplicity of the Nordic governments - and that is certainly one feature that I'd like to see adopted here.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 04:51:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it is not in the program because Sego conveniently forgot to talk about the Tax the part after talking so much about expenses.

if i have to be taxed because of my citizenship i want that only those who pay taxes ( ONLY 49% of the population) could votes and ofcourse foreigners who pay taxes in france should get their citizenship automatically.

it is ridiculous, i will go to the consultat tomorrow.

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 07:34:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm really happy to learn that 50% of the french population doesn't pay the Value Added Tax.

From the discussion on my blog:


total VAT paid divided by income tax in France:

1994  1995  1996  1997  1998  1999  2000  2001  2002  2003  2004  2005
1.94  2.01  2.12  2.34  2.41  2.32  2.24  2.27  2.44  2.42  2.63  2.68

VAT is 145 billions, income tax is 55 billions in 2005.

by Laurent GUERBY on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 06:50:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Royal hasn't included the "expat tax" in her program : Click here

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 09:41:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you pay more than 40% of your income in tax, then you're a damn sight better off than most people on this blog.

And you're the one who's whining? LOL.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 02:05:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i enjoy a confortable income, but i take risk and need to save because i am independant and if i do not sale or i am sick i have NO income.
not really a kind of jalous and lazy public worker.
by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 07:11:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If it is so fiscally painful, why don´t you become a public worker?

If it is not as painful as it sounds, you can still get involved to improve the system.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 01:34:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/2/11/17753/7588

Thanks for your support over there.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 05:23:30 PM EST
Awesome diary. I can not comment because I do nto know that much but I do appreaciate the effort.

But what about the 1500 euros as minimum wage? from Spain looks like thinking very big.. it is the equivalent of a middle-class for everyone motto.. is it possible? feasable, workable?

I am sure you will cover this topic in the future.
Great

a pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 01:24:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French minimum wage "SMIC" for full time (151.67 hours worked per month) is 1254.28 euros gross, net is 984.61. At this level you'll getting negative income tax of about 59 euros per month, so you're slightly above 1000 euros per month. You have additional money from state for birth, two children or more, housing, etc...
by Laurent GUERBY on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 02:29:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Spanish minimum wage for 2006 was €541 per month (source).

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 02:34:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there anything other than income tax between groos and net, and why would you have to get negative income tax?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 02:36:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Difference between gross and net are mandatory social taxes (retirement, health, unemployment ...). More social taxes are paid by your employer but that's not counter in what we call gross.

To get negative income tax you just have to work and be paid under 1.4 times the minimum wages, its amount is maximum at exactly the minimum wage.

If you look at the spreadsheets on my blog spot on taxes, you'll see that low incomes ranges "pay" a negative income tax.

BTW it's called "prime pour l'emploi" in France if you want to google.

by Laurent GUERBY on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 02:56:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note that as I mention on my blog, this is the first time "logiciel libre" (free software) appears on the programme of one leading presidential candidate.

Ségolène Royal invited Richard Stallman (free software inventor) for a chat when the right-wing ministers refused to met him.

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 07:06:31 PM EST
Clinton ran on universal health care and failed to deliver. After that he didn't even try to fulfill any of his promises to voters. It's good that Royal is promising good things, but I'm not convinced she means any of them.

On the other hand, if she wins, it will be because of the new program, so she could interpret that as stridently left-wing equals popular. But then again, she could pull a Clinton and decide that any win must be due to the few conservative planks, like the one about the reform schools.

by Alon (alon_levy1@yahoo.com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 09:21:23 PM EST
it's SO obvious. Why don't the French see that ? BTW it's exactly the same for Sarkozy, with the difference that he doesn't wear a skirt.
by oldfrog on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 09:53:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What does "all skirt, no cattle" mean, other than a slur on women?

The expression "all hat, no cattle" (or horse) is a cowboy or rancher metaphor that can be applied to anyone, male or female. Your substitution of "skirt" implies that Royal's only argument lies in exploiting her femininity (charm, good looks, etc).

If that's what you mean, then you should argue it properly. Or stop making allusions of this kind.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 01:59:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Segolene doesn't wear a hat. If it can make you happy I can say about Sarko "all pants, no cattle".

Yes you can say that that looks and posturing are not enough to make a good president.

It has nothing to do with slurs on women.

by oldfrog on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 09:39:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most people of whom it is said: "all hat, no cattle" don't wear a hat. And no, I don't accept that you would ever have said: "all pants, no cattle" of Sarkozy, unless I had objected to your use of "skirt".

It's just casual sexism.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 02:01:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As a person who has supported a female candidate for president three elections in a row (Rehn, Rehn, Halonen), I for one think "skirts" can be excellent presidents.

Also, you have no idea what Sarkozy does behind closed doors. I don't judge, though.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 04:50:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, you have no idea what Sarkozy does behind closed doors. I don't judge, though

And no wish, whatsoever, to know. Yeck.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 04:52:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you care to rephrase this ...., please?  

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 01:37:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's your suggestion to lock candidates into a rock-hard pact to keep their electoral promises?

Your reflections apply to any candidate. Why only apply them to Clinton and Royal?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 02:02:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They apply more to candidates whose main selling points are insane charisma and charm, rather than a solid record. Incumbents have the easiest time being believed, as long as what they say is a continuation of what they did in office. When Sarkozy promises to get tough on crime or to gut immigrants' rights, I can compare what he says to what he did during the riots. When Royal promises to keep the 35-hour week a few months after she promised to repeal it, I reserve the right to doubt her credibility.
by Alon (alon_levy1@yahoo.com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 08:39:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it's even worth arguing about your "insane charisma" language, but you're mistaken in saying Royal "promised to repeal" the 35-hour week.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 09:02:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I got the 35-hour week thing from Wikipedia, back when she won the primary.
by Alon (alon_levy1@yahoo.com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 10:01:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She criticzed the 35-hour, indeed, but from the left, i.e. saying that it was too favorable to companies and not to workers (which is actually true in some industrial sectors, as work timetables became ste on a yearly basis, with much more flexible - i.e. less stable and less predictable - hours)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 10:23:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wikipedia's Ségolène Royal page now says this:

She also criticized some side effects of the 35-hour working week that Lionel Jospin wrote into law when he was Prime Minister

[me not wikipedia]: Those side-effects were mainly, she said, that women in some jobs had been forced to work hours that were difficult for them in view of family commitments.

(It's not often noted that the 35-hour laws included negotiations between labour and management on flexibilisation of working hours within the week and within the year - to the considerable benefit of businesses).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 11:35:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can correct the wikipedia article. Among other things, the quotation you give "needs a citation".

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 11:45:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just in case, "insane" in this context doesn't mean lack of sanity, but just means very large. I don't think many Americans would object to the phrase "Clinton had insane charisma and charm", and they would not interpret it as implying that Clinton is insane.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 10:03:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know ;)

I'm just a bit tired of hearing this "Royal is charisma, charm, a pretty face, and then nothing behind the mask" that is after all the right's main narrative thrust in this election.

I don't think Clinton was just a pretty face either...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 11:44:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, people can be charismatic and still have serious content. I'd analogize Royal to an American or British politician here, but Clinton and Blair are the opposite of what I'm trying to demonstrate. Unlike them, Royal seems to have some political principles. Whether Obama is a Blairite more than a Royalite remains to be seen.
by Alon (alon_levy1@yahoo.com) on Thu Feb 15th, 2007 at 07:28:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mention "insane" and you leave out a certain unmentionable and the last 6 years in the US???  

What are you really getting at?

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 01:15:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...stridently left-wing...

Only somebody from the United States could find SR's programme "stridently left-wing"

I guess anything including the words "social justice" or "equality" sounds "stridently left-wing" to you...


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 05:20:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In my defense, she is stridently left-wing. I'm not insane enough to think she's an extremist, but the way she's presenting her views is very strident.

Also, I can't think of a single country where the minimum wage is two thirds of GDP, which is what Royal is suggesting. I'm all for it, but let's call a spade a spade. That, and it's time someone finally told the Germans that it would be awfully nice if they didn't impose their dysfunctional monetary policy on the entire Eurozone.

by Alon (alon_levy1@yahoo.com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 08:35:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On Germany, you might like to look at Franco-German Trade Gap.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 12:01:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Having at last bought a new set of batteries, I have been able to listen to my favorite almost MSM, quite overlooked here on ET, which is French public radio.
This morning was France Culture, a rather elitist radio, on the lines of Arte TV, ie not for the masses, sometimes boring, often interesting.

Well the reaction was quite positive, à la B.H. Lévy, they didn't expect her to be that good and they rather liked the mix of leftist and pragmatic propositions. Which of course confirms what all her political adversaries have ignored at their own expense : she is a political killer.

As to the color of her skirts...

As you may have heard/seen, she wore red, after a lily white period. One is supposed to not notice, of course, I mean who would report Sarko's new suit color ?
Well, it is important, not because she is a woman, but because not enough politicians play this chord. Think Steve Jobs and his trademark black turtleneck : elegance helps even though it's politically correct to say it doesn't or shouldn't.

My money is on her to regain the initiative.

by balbuz on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 05:07:38 AM EST
http://fr.news.yahoo.com/14022007/202/sondages-royal-ne-semble-pas-beneficier-d-un-effet-villepinte. html

She convinces the left but not the middle. If he doesn't make a major mistake, Sarko is the next president.

unless we use the Condorcet criterion

The voting paradox (also known as Condorcet's paradox or the paradox of voting) is a situation noted by the Marquis de Condorcet in the late 18th century, in which collective preferences can be cyclic (i.e. not transitive), even if the preferences of individual voters are not. This is paradoxical, because it means that majority wishes can be in conflict with each other. When this occurs, it is because the conflicting majorities are each made up of different groups of individuals. For example, suppose we have three candidates, A, B and C, and that there are three voters with preferences as follows (candidates being listed in decreasing order of preference):

Voter 1: A B C
Voter 2: B C A
Voter 3: C A B

If C is chosen as the winner, it can be argued that B should win instead, since two voters (1 and 2) prefer B to C and only one voter (3) prefers C to B. However, by the same argument A is preferred to B, and C is preferred to A, by a margin of two to one on each occasion. The requirement of majority rule then provides no clear winner.

Also, if an election were held with the above three voters as the only participants, nobody would win under majority rule, as it would result in a three way tie with each candidate getting one vote. However, Condorcet's paradox illustrates that the person who can reduce alternatives can essentially guide the election. For example, if Voter 1 and Voter 2 choose their preferred candidates (A and B respectively), and if Voter 3 was willing to drop their vote for C, then Voter 3 can choose between either A or B - and become the agenda-setter.

see even here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condorcet_method

So vote Bayrou and Sarko won't be elected.

by oldfrog on Wed Feb 14th, 2007 at 05:35:03 PM EST


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