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Much of the deficit may be structural but there's a reason it's still there. Are you suggesting the slaughter of a few sacred cows? Know of any which might be electorally very palatable in Germany or in France?

On the other hand, it is true that the GSP is restrictive of necessary investments. 3% is hardly sufficient for the tasks at hand, one of which is full EU integration (and not just economic, but social as well) which, in the long run, should spur growth throughtout the Community. And suggesting that politically less than feasible budgetary choices are the only way to make room for such investments is to my mind not responsible. I would imagine there might be creative ways to make funding available in a fashion which would be growth-accountable rather than the classic mountain of butter and sea of olive oil scenarios.

I'd counsel pursuing growth first, then go after sacred cows. People tend not to notice a cow or two gone missing when the total number of cows is growing for everyone.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:00:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Increasing taxes on the wealthy could go a long way towards allowing greater investments while keeping the books balanced. [And note I said wealthy, not high earners, although one could do that too]

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:01:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I remember computing once on the back of an envelope that one half of french sovereign debt was in the hand of the french themselves (either directly or through funds or regulated savings schemes like "Livret A" and all the gizmos of Caisse des Dépôts et Consignation), and that conversely one half of the savings of the wealthy french were in french debt.

So it should be livable to cancel at least that half of the debt, without pissing of trade partners too much, and  the "french wealthy" would still be well off, on average... :->>

Not a very politically correct way of "adjusting", huh ? Then there is the "good old soft way" of cancelling debt: 25% inflation. But then we have to get out of the € (or the BCE must change it's policies), and I'm not sure any of these would really pay off in the long run (you know, when we're dead).

Seriously, with the rates going up again, we can't afford more debt. Lenders just won't lend anymore. And there will be no real growth to repay it, ever. State must save, just like anyone.

Pierre
by Pierre on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:12:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
or the BCE must change it's policies.

Absolutely.

And it doesn't need to be 25%, but a 3% target with tolerance of up to 5% or so during the natural turbulence of Euro integration, absolutely, in addition to explicit employment targetting as well.


The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:34:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
or the BCE must change it's policies.

... absolutely, in addition to explicit employment targetting as well.

So you don't think giving the EU a social leg is a bad idea.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:41:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not hardly!

And in the interim period of integration, I'd advocate helping pay for it on the new entrants' behalf. What's the point of project Europe project if not?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:53:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you taken the Political Compass test, by the way?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:55:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I have, and you?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:57:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Follow the link...

and add your score at the bottom.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:03:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't figure out how to add it. I score -9.5, -5.74.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:08:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Click on the "edit page" link on the margin.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:09:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Done. Don't know if I did it right, but it's in there anyhow.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:24:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
State must save, just like anyone

Legalizing prostitution and cannabis would make the State so rich ...

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:09:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So why is the Dutch government not swimming in cash?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:10:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because Dutch prostitutes are too stoned most of the time.
by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:12:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(supposing that prostitutes would earn the state a lot more money than cannabis would)
by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:15:42 PM EST
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One thing just came to mind, I'm not well aware of the Dutch system, but I believe that the State there does not control cannabis production?

I was thinking of a Seita-like approach here in France. By which the State grows the stuff, packages the stuff, sells the stuff, and on top of all that taxes the stuff (for social security or whatever other good reason they could find). And I'm not even necessarily talking about packaged joints, because that's nocive ... even chewing gum will do.

According to INSERM & SOFRES studies, there are an estimated 2 million regular cannabis smokers in France (and 3 million occasional), "regular" meaning god knows what as no quantity/regularity studies have ever been made. But judging from friends who used to be heavy smokers but who are now reasonable due to having work/children etc, I would say that regular, at an average/working age, would mean 2 joints a day.

A joint (or gum) could easily yield a 90% profit margin (including 60% tax). Sell it at 1.11 euro piece, and that's a 1 euro profit a take. Or 4 million euros a day for the State. or 1.5 billion a year on regular users only.

Ok I'm off to watch the match now, alala Togo or not Togo.

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:33:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok I still have 10 minutes Togo.
1.5 billion won't make the State dirt-rich. Cannabis could additionally be sold in, say, spice shops (under govt brands) to flavour foods, etc. A nice marketing campaign for new cannabis cheese and other recipes, and all of France could be stoned within one generation.

Ok now I think I should really get going.

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:36:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, yesterday the Dutch parliament was unable to pass through a proposal to start an experiment with governmentally regulated cannabis production, to cut off illegal cannabis factories that have been sprouting everywhere. Right now, the Dutch policy on soft-drugs is nothing short of schizophrenic: they condone purchase and smoking of soft-drugs, but pursue a zero-tolerance on the growth of cannabis and the selling of it to drugshops... It's enough to make you head spin 360 degrees.

Now in a weasselly move, the right-wing liberal VVD party decided to play nice with the government (of which they're part). The parliamentary proposal was in a direct collision course with Minister of Justice, Donner, who has been a strident opponent of anything that looks like legalisation, also claiming it would be unacceptable within the European framework. He threatened to resign if parliament would push through. Opposition parties PvdA (Labour) and others who've been working for nearly a year on the experimental project are, unsurprisingly, furious.

by Nomad on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 05:01:48 AM EST
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As for pursuing growth first... Growth for how many?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:07:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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