Hollande Drives His Car Into Reality And Gets Totalled
“President Francois Hollande is banking on a turnaround in French unemployment by the end of the year. Not only that, he has upped the stakes by making it the top political priority of his Socialist government. "I will be judged on it," he told the nation in a Bastille Day television interview last month. ‘Politics is not magic,’ Hollande told the Bastille Day television cameras. ‘It is will.’” --Reuters, Aug. 5, 2013
Francois Hollande is a well-meaning politician trying to create employment growth without an understanding of capitalism. His thinking proceeds from the socialist idea: the size of the economic pie is stagnant, but income and wealth redistribution can create jobs. Hollande and his economics team believe that they can grow employment while cutting the government budget in the face of negligible growth. "Unemployment can start to ease by itself at a growth rate of around one percent," said Reuters' "government source".
Their plan: to create jobs by increasing the number of unproductive state employees and by “retraining” people who are lucky if they can read and write.
Reuters: “When French children return to school in September, they will be welcomed by an army of 30,000 new classroom minders and playground assistants in many cases taken straight from the dole queues. Such public sector posts are a category of jobs whose average duration will be doubled to 12 months. Add to these the so-called "jobs of the future" which the government will fund to help unqualified youths aged between 16 and 25 take up jobs in the health, charitable and other non-commercial sectors.”
That’s his plan. How is he planning to pay for this new serving of government largesse? France has no fiscal room to increase spending, so this program will have to be paid for with new taxes or with magic. Most likely magic (or, should I say, “will”).
What is Hollande’s vision of the future for France? A society of classroom minders and playground assistants, plus subsidized jobs for the unqualified in the health, charitable and other non-commercial sectors. France will be a nation of social workers and the clients of social workers. The “engine of growth” will be ever-higher taxes on the rich.
Subscribe to Project Syndicate
Enjoy unlimited access to the ideas and opinions of the world's leading thinkers, including weekly long reads, book reviews, and interviews; The Year Ahead annual print magazine; the complete PS archive; and more – All for less than $9 a month.
What this poor man needs is an economic advisor who never studied economics at a European university, and who can explain the quantity theory to him in words that he can understand: “Mr. President, we surrendered our money policy to Germany fourteen years ago, and it is urgent that we get it back. Zero growth is killing our economy.”
Failing that, Hollande should read Irving Fisher:
“Unless some counteracting cause comes along to prevent the fall in the price level, a depression tends to continue, going deeper in a vicious spiral for many years. There is no tendency of the boat to stop tipping until it has capsized. Only after almost universal bankruptcy will the indebtedness cease to grow. This is the so-called ‘natural’ way out of a depression, via needless and cruel bankruptcy, unemployment, and starvation.”