Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Exclusive Debate Preview

Tomorrow night at 9:00pm (3:00pm EST) Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal will debate on live French television; the International Herald Tribune has a preview. But this won't be the first time these two candidates have come face to face on TV:

When they debated in a TV studio in 1993 they were both political youngsters. The resulting "don't speak to me like that!" outburst from Royal can now be watched on the Internet. She compared him to a "steamroller" and said, "All the television viewers can see that what you are saying is completely off-base!"

But both are formidable talkers, equally combative and prone to override television interviewers who try to butt in. But it would likely require a complete loss of cool, major mistakes or a blatantly misogynistic attack by Sarkozy — which all seem very unlikely from a now seasoned, media-savvy campaigner — for Wednesday's debate to significantly boost Royal's chances of being elected the first woman president of France. (...)

Aides of Royal and Sarkozy organized Wednesday's debate down to the smallest detail. The candidates will face off for two hours, seated at a wooden table and filmed by at least eight cameras. They drew lots to see who will sit where. Fittingly, chance put Royal on the left of the TV screen, and Sarkozy on the right

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piktor said...

I'm rooting for Sego, so my guess is that either she convincingly knocks him out by sheer pantomime and smart-aleck good looks or she's caput.

It will be a show to name champion of champions, like in a horse show or farmer's fair yodeling contest.

All will be in decided on sheer looks and charisma. How they yodel and not the words said.

If she is able to perform as she did in the final socialist debate where she acted like she was already the winner and her rivals looked like spent old stiffs- then and only then she will win on Sunday.

Alden said...

Form over substance has worked well for the Socialists for generations. Mitterand was the classic and brilliant master of same. I somehow tend to believe that the French people understand the urgency of their situation well enough that they will not be swayed in this election. They are looking for strength, conviction and a clear direction. Sarkozy has it. Sego doesn't.

piktor said...

This is a new age of youtube and internet face to face interaction with the candidates.

Sego doesn't have to be better, she has to look better.We will all be judging at a distance from the nose to the computer screen. One candidate can take over or it could be a draw.

Also, I have a feeling it will be a youth vs. old contest and depending on the numbers of young people voting that Sego has a chance.

The numbers say Sarko wins on Sunday. The emotional jolt from the Wednesday debate might defeat all wise predictions.

ariane said...

Puis-je me permettre de demander à Alden s'il est Français ou s'il vit en France?
Quelle est cette si grande illusion qui menne chacune de tes réflexions (pourtant sensées) à faire l'éloge de ton cher Sarkozy?
Un minimum d'objectivité pourrait crédibiliser un tant soit peu ton propos.
Il n'y a pas de "bon" et de "mauvais" candidat, et encore moins de potentiel sauveur de la France si ouvert et conscient des maux du pays, que le peuple serait aveugle de ne pas le choisir.
Les Français ne sont pas si manichéens, mon cher Alden, faire la part des choses est possible.

evan jones said...

I'm with Ariane. Alden claims that the French people are looking for 'clear direction' and Sarko has it.
Actually his direction has been well camouflaged in the media and by Sarko-supporting 'experts'.
The French bourgeoisie are voting for him out of self-interest, not out of the French national interest.
Sarko's 'clear direction' is towards polarising and divisive agendas domestically and towards joining the Atlanticist/pro-Israel (and anti Europe) line in foreign policy. THis diverges from the line taken by the established media in Anglo-America and in France (C/f Eric Le BOucher in Le Monde) that Sarko will revive the French economy, will revive the European project, etc.
'Clear direction' translates as obfuscation as a matter of principle. When it comes to form over substance, the Sarko supporters here win hands down.

Alden said...

Dear Ariane

Thank you so much for the advice even if it is delivered in such a typically condescending tone.

Of course I am swayed by illusions: France’s national debt does not exist, you don’t have double digit unemployment, the immigrants in the suburbs are as happy as pie in their Socialist paradise, the burning in the suburbs was really just happy people having a barbeque, your economic growth is not really zero, wealth creation is not at a dead stop, your image in the world is not sliding, your pensions and health care systems are guaranteed viable for eternity etc….”

Ariane, get your head out of the sand. Brush the sand out of your hair. Start to read and learn how other countries who faced these kinds of problems were able to overcome some of them and “progress.” Then take a look at the visions of the two candidates and you will see that Sarkozy’s ideas for change have a chance of working while Sego’s constitute the “fuite en avant” of a Socialist party that has lost its ability to think in a revolutionary way because it has become the Establishment and is reactionary. You cannot tax and spend your way out of problems.

I used to be a Socialist too. I didn’t leave the party, the party left me. The once grand Socialist party has left us all in the lurch and that explains why many of us have found some small bit of hope from a candidate whose greatest asset is the willingness to confront reality. He is far from perfect. I will leave it to Sego, the media and hundreds of other blog writers to tear down the man’s reputation with virulent ad hominem attacks. 53.5% of the French voters agree with me in saying that vile personal attacks do not replace substance and vision.

Hopefully Sarko will implement serious free market reforms in the country. France must be competitive once again in the world to create the growth and wealth that will help those suffering needlessly in the suburbs. Such a turnaround will also return true pride to the twinkle in every Frenchman’s eye.

evan jones said...

Alden, you really are a dill.
There is no such thing as a free market, period. And Sarkozy does not have any ideas for change. other than to divert more slush to his supporters.
You have accepted all the simple stories at face value, without looking inwards. Have you looked behind the figures in the US and the UK?
Looked at the racial divide behind aggregate US employment figures? Looked at the racket that is imprisonment in the US? Metropolitan France has 52,000 prisoners, the US 2.2 million, 8 1/2 times per capita the French figure. Behind that, the black/white ratio in US prisons is 5 to 1.
Re the UK, add in the people on (non-retirement) pensions, and what does the unemployment figure look like? And consider the appalling decay of vocational and skills training after the devastation of the Thatcher years. The whole point of the attack on France (or anywhere in Western Europe) is to divert attention from the home front.

Alden said...

Sticks and stones may break my bones, Dear Evan…

Comrade Evan makes some excellent points. Prison populations are much lower per capita in France because Socialist judges let “multi-recidiviste” criminals loose on the streets to murder and rape in the communities of France. Of course they don’t commit these crimes in the salons of St. Germain des Pres, they target unprotected, vulnerable citizens outside the chic quartier of the “left” (sic) bank. So not only do those the Socialists refer to as “boeufs” have to worry about feeding, clothing and educating their children and providing for their future, they also have to worry whether a known predator is lurking outside the door.

In any case French prisons are more like Hiltons for criminals. They manage their businesses from there and if they have to leave, they just call for a helicopter!


ariane said...

"In any case French prisons are more like Hiltons for criminals"???

Mon cher Alden, mon intention n'était pas de te dicter que penser et ce "in such a typically condescending tone", il se trouve juste que nous ne partageons pas les mêmes idées. Cela dit, je respecte les tiennes et me permets (et oui) d'exposer mon opinion.

Revenons aux prisons en France, décrites par l'OIP (Observatoire International des Prisons) comme lieux de "promiscuité dégradante", et de "violations de la dignité des personnes détenues" : c'est la surpopulation carcérale qui est pointée du doigt, amplifiée par la politique répressive de M. Sarkozy. Ce dernier souhaitant d'ailleurs appliquer aux mineurs récidivistes les mêmes peines que les majeurs. (Dénonciation de ce projet par la Ligue des Droits de l'Homme). Une alternative à la prison semble ainsi nécessaire, celle-ci ne formant que de futurs délinquants.

Il faut dire que la politique de M. Sarkozy à l'Intérieur fut un désastre (suppression de la police de proximité, instauration de quotas dans les commissariats, créant un nombre croissant de bavures policières, propos violents et provocants assimilant jeunes de banlieues et délinquants, non sans lien avec les émeutes de 2005).
Ce bilan dont il veut s'exempter illustre à merveille les résultats d'une politique répressive et stérile. Monter les policiers contre les jeunes, les juges contre les policiers, plus encore ceux qui "se lèvent tôt" et les autres, ce qui travaillent et les autres... ne conduit qu'au désordre.

Mais le plus grave selon moi est l'assimilation de la Gauche, de ses adversaires donc, à de laxistes politiciens, proches des délinquants, des fraudeurs, des malhonnêtes. Ce discours est d'un extrémisme redoutable.

Non, il ne s'agit pas de porter des attaques personnelles à l'encontre de M. Sarkozy, il faut reconnaître sa grande intelligence, son éloquence et sa compétence (du moins son parcours).
Mais ses résultats sont là, et son discours aussi violent que simplifié.
Il est bien plus facile en effet d'adhérer aux propos d'un candidat charismatique affirmant pouvoir à lui seul relever la France de ses maux (que je connais fort bien pour y vivre depuis toujours), que de prêter plus d'attention à une candidate moins présente dans les débats, mais plus complexe et subtile dans ses propos.

Alden veut du changement. M. Sarkozy, homme de droite, ministre depuis 2002, à la forte connivence avec les puissances d'argent et le monde médiatique, ne saurait apporter que fracture sociale et concentration des pouvoirs. S'aligner sur la politique des Etats-Unis ne semble pas être le meilleur remède à une décrédibilisation de la France sur la scène internationale.
Une femme présidente, n'est-ce pas cela le changement? Plus de moyens à l'éducation, à la famille, à la recherche, aux plus démunis. Relancer la croissance peut passer par une augmentation des salaires, et si elle est loin d'être parfaite, Royal est sans doute la mieux à même de redonner à la France confiance et assurance.

Voilà mon idée cher Alden, ta vision des choses est biensûr respectable. Sarkozy a le dynamisme et la promesse facile, Ségo la grandeur et le pragmatisme.

On verra bien dimanche, et quel que soit le vainqueur, je souhaite à l'opposition une contestation forte et inaliénable.

Vive la démocratie.

evan jones said...

Voila the francaphobe. Every post gets more absurd.c/f
Excerpts from that definitive exposé of your hero:
Est-ce une moralité sans faille qui permit à Thierry Gaubert d’organiser son vaste système de gestion arnaqueuse du 1 % logement dans les Hauts-de-Seine à l’ombre des réseaux sarkozystes dont il fut, un temps, l’un des principaux rouages ? ...
Sarkozy n’est pas du tout un malhonnête homme. Simplement il est, fût-ce à son corps défendant, le pur produit d’un système, celui du RPR des Hauts-de-Seine, dont Florence d’Harcourt, l’ex-députée gaulliste de Neuilly, a crûment décrit l’irrépressible mafiosisation, renforcée par le déferlement des flux financiers immobiliers générés par le développement du quartier de la Défense, dont Sarkozy tint d’ailleurs à présider l’établissement public. ...
Quand [son grand ami le député-maire de Levallois Patrick Balkany], archétype lui aussi du roi de la magouille affairisto-municipale, employeur à son seul profit du personnel de la mairie, accablé par la justice et accusé, en prime, de se livrer à des fellations sur menace de revolver, écarté du RPR, est défié par un gaulliste clean, Olivier de Chazeaux, qui soutint Sarkozy ? Patrick Balkany. C’est-à-dire le délinquant. Etc.
In short, a provincial spiv elevated to the national stage. The significant criminal activities will be taking place not in the comfort of the prisons but in the comfort of the Élysée Palace.

ariane said...

I totally agree with you, Evan Jones.
"Le vrai Sarkozy" par Jean François Kahn dans Marianne est excellent, et plus fort encore, dans Le Nouvel Obs, l'entretien de Michel Onfray avec M. Sarkozy.
Il faut bien reconnaître la dangerosité du personnage, et qu'il cesse un peu la victimisation, cet individu a tout fait pour être élu, que cela soit de l'ordre de la trahison (Pasqua puis Chirac pour Balladur en 1995), du ratissage à l'extrême droite (cf ses propos sur les "immigrés" excisant leurs filles, pratiquant la polygammie et égorgeant leur moutons dans les baignoires), ou de la bassesse morale et intellectuelle (détermination génétique inclinant à naître pédophile, suicidaire, homosexuel, cancéreux).
Sarkozy peut être élu car il sait dire tout et son contraire, on verra ce que ce populisme et cette démagogie apporteront à la France.

Alden said...

"Vive la démocratie!"

Ariane, the good news is we have found something we can agree on.

“Plus de moyens à l'éducation, à la famille, à la recherche, aux plus démunis. Relancer la croissance peut passer par une augmentation des salaries..”

I agree and it’s a wonderful idea as all these things are necessary. How do you pay for it? You need to “create” wealth before you can redistribute it. Today, France is effectively bankrupt. So economic reforms have to be implemented to make France and its companies more competitive and more profitable. The more these firms earn, the more taxes will be generated that can be used for investments.

If you won’t make any changes in the economy, will you raise taxes? How high? Why not go to 100% corporate and personal tax? Then you will see companies and individuals leaving en masse. When you raise taxes your revenues will actually go down. So this is not a solution.

Fact: Your candidate refuses any kind of economic reforms, even reforms of the ridiculous 35 hours work week. She promises tax increases that have a proven negative effect on revenues.

Right out of the box, Sego is out of contact with reality. Her argument is invalid. You cannot spend money you don’t have. Part of her problem and that of a large number of the bourgeois Socialist elite is that they come from privilege, from wealth. They probably and honestly do not comprehend what it is to earn a euro from labor and that if you don’t earn you can’t spend. As I have watched many societies evolve over time, I can guarantee you that none of them has spent their way out of problems. Find an example in history, you can’t do it because it has never happened. Maybe Sego has the magic formula but chances are she is the one promoting simplicity and illusions.

On the other hand, Sarkozy’s list of economic reforms destined to create growth and wealth that can be tapped into by society to pay for the necessary projects, has been successful in four major countries: US, UK, Spain and Ireland. So there is solid historical and documentary evidence here to build on and it is irrefutable.

I have to say that it is Sarko who is practical on these issues and Sego who is trapped in imagined grandeurs.

“que de prêter plus d'attention à une candidate moins présente dans les débats, mais plus complexe et subtile dans ses propos.”

I suppose it will be the subject of a lot of debate on May 7, but I must say from a very objective point of view that Sego ran a disastrous campaign. Her obsession with Sarkozy is nearly pathological. She really needed to forget her opponent and focus on the issues and her vision. It just does not come through. She seems to be running a campaign against Sarko and not for France. This makes her look petty and politicienne and it makes Sarko look like a Statesman. Frankly, if you would have asked me six months ago, who would win the election, I would have said Sego easily. She destroyed herself. It’s a pity.

The roots of this can probably be seen in the reaction of Jospin to his defeat. It was unbelievable to hear a politician say that “the bloody boeufs voters are too stupid to understand my message.” Of course, then he threw a tantrum, picked up his marbles and went home to mother. My god, we are talking about someone who, amazingly, was PM of France!

Jospin could not conceive, from his elitist Zeus position on Olympus, that the people should not respond to his oracles. In the same way, Sego thinks she just needs to show up, to appear, and people should accept what she says as gospel, as if she were a Queen and not a candidate. That’s why we call her followers, the Royalists.

She comes off in the campaign as being detached, cold, a kind of Nurse Ratchet figure (One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.) It’s all about perception. She maybe is a completely different person in reality. But perception is truth. You can see this also in the debate she had with Sarko a few years ago with the “don’t talk to me that way” comment. No one questions Sego, no one!

Sarko interacts with the people in an altogether different, more natural and more efficient fashion. His approach is very effective and his campaign has been nothing short of brilliant. At the end of the day, the ability to organize a campaign reveals how the candidate will lead a country once elected.

Ariane, when I listen you, I hear someone who truly cares for her country. We probably agree on the results we would like for France, its just that we disagree on how to achieve them.

An active opposition is the guarantor of a democracy. I am sure the Socialists will do their duty in this regards, should Sarko win. If I were to counsel them I would suggest they need new leaders, new visions, energy and charisma. The contingent of Jospin, Fabius, Sego, Lang, Holland et al are ringard, showing their patrician instincts too readily, fabulous wealth, custom 5K euro suits, jewelry..its not the stuff Socialists are made of. Hulot might be an example of someone who has a new and healthy vision. We shall see…

Alden said...

“Il faut bien reconnaître la dangerosité du personnage, et qu'il cesse un peu la victimisation, cet individu a tout fait pour être élu, que cela soit de l'ordre de la trahison (Pasqua puis Chirac pour Balladur en 1995), du ratissage à l'extrême droite (cf ses propos sur les "immigrés" excisant leurs filles, pratiquant la polygammie et égorgeant leur moutons dans les baignoires), ou de la bassesse morale et intellectuelle (détermination génétique inclinant à naître pédophile, suicidaire, homosexuel, cancéreux).”

Ariane, a wise person once told me this:

“Un minimum d'objectivité pourrait crédibiliser un tant soit peu ton propos.”

Take a few deep breaths, count to ten, relax….feel better? Ok, start again but don’t bust any blood vessels this time..!!!

Sarko is not the problem. The problems of France is the problem! Let’s solve those…how do you do it?

ariane said...

Mon cher Alden, j'ai déjà plus de plaisir à débattre avec toi. Je suis pour ma part également convaincue que nos intérêts pour la France sont les mêmes, mais il est clair que nous ne partageons pas la même conception de la politique et du rôle de l'Etat (grand débat!)

Ton idée de l'économie est fondée sur une théorie libérale intéressante, mais qui selon moi ne peut que précariser les salariés. Comme je le disais, augmenter les salaires relancerait la consommation, donc la croissance, d'où l'argent nécessaire à une société de solidarité, illustrée par la promotion de l'école, de la recherche etc... par l'Etat.
La société française est de plus très attachée à ses services publics (hôpitaux, poste, administration) et une privatisation partielle des universités (comme le veut Sarkozy) serait très mal perçue. Les services publics sont incompatibles avec un libéralisme trop aigu.

Il ne s'agit pas de récuser le progrès, mais de préserver des droits acquis dès 1936 par le Front populaire, protégeant les salariés d'une main mise de l'élite financière sur notre société.
Je suis pour ma part opposée aux 35h, qui me semblent être un frein à la croissance, mais il ne faut oublier ceux qui subissent quotidiennement les abus de leurs employeurs, et qui voient en la réglementation du temps de travail une véritable liberté.

Les abus ne sont pas tolérables, mais la stigmatisation des RMistes par M. Sarkozy est insupportable. De plus, sa promesse de baisser de 4 points les impôts sur le revenu est simplement irréalisable et digne des plus populistes. (Des économistes de droite n'ont pas hésité à lui faire savoir)

Selon toi, les Socialistes seraient de vulgaires élitistes incapables de concevoir la valeur même du travail, je ne suis pas tout à fait d'accord. Comme il est de mise durant cette campagne, comparons les deux candidats : l'un vient d'une famille bourgeoise de Neuilly, l'autre d'un village des Vosges. Je pense donc pour ma part que Royal conçoit très bien la notion de l'effort et du mérite.

Tu cites des pays comme les Etats Unis ou l'Angleterre (de grands pays par ailleurs), en espérant que leur modèle inspire l'économie française.
Sur ce point, je pense que deux écoles s'affrontent. Les travailleurs pauvres, cumulant des emplois et licenciables du jour au lendemain sont en effet très nombreux dans ces pays. La France a choisi un emploi stable et sécurisé contre une précarité accrue des travailleurs à bas salaires.
Ce sont à mon avis deux conceptions (sécurité et flexibilité) qu'il faudrait conjuguer, "à la danoise" en quelque sorte.

Comme je l'ai déjà dit, le charisme de Sarkozy est indéniable, et je suis d'accord avec toi sur le fait que Royal est desservie par son manque d'éloquence. Justement, je crois que leurs aptitudes à s'exprimer valorisent incroyablement des propos souvent scandaleux, quand elles nuisent à la candidate, pourtant loin d'être creuse.

Son parcours politique est exemplaire et l'efficacité de la politique qu'elle entend mener est prouvée au sein de sa Région du Poitou Charente.

Tu blâmes l'attitude de Jospin quand celui-ci est à l'opposé même du programme de Royal (il était contre sa candidature et n'est pas présent dans sa campagne). Je partage par ailleurs ton opinion sur le personnage.

Je pense au contraire que la campagne de Ségolène a été très efficace (débats participatifs, forte mobilisation militante), contrairement à celle désastreuse de Jospin en 2002. (Elle a parlé hier devant 60000 personnes à Charléty)

Les "Eléphants" du PS sont je le crois aussi plus encombrants qu'autre chose, n'oublie pas cependant Strauss Kahn, de loin indispensable à le Gauche d'aujourd'hui.

Comme tu le vois, je n'apprécie pas du tout le personnage Sarkozy, j'ai conscience des lacunes de Royal, mais vote en âme et conscience pour cette dernière.

Un président rassemble et ne divise pas, parle aux gens et ne les agresse pas, incarne une France juste et fière.
A mes yeux, Sarkozy est un des problèmes du pays, espérons seulement que la fonction le calmera.

Pour ma part, je reconnais un manque certain d'objectivité, mais préfère blâmer Sarko qu'encenser la candidate.
Comment veux-tu qu'une quelconque politique de redressement soit menée par ce Berlusconi français?

Je commence à penser que Chirac va nous manquer.

A bienôt Alden!

Alden said...

Dear Ariane,

We can have a better debate than the one tonight!

I can give you some thoughts on two subjects in this post based on my own personal experiences: precarite in employment and services. I can well remember the US election of 1980. The American economy in the late 1970s had double digit unemployment, double digit inflation, massive debt, no economic growth, a lifeless stock market, morale was very low, taxes were high, the combination of stagnant growth and inflation resulted in a national malady called “stagflation.” It was not a pretty picture. Ronald Reagan championed a cut in Corporate and individual income taxes combined with a huge reduction in the size of government.

The size of the tax cut proposed by Reagan was not four points, Ariane, his proposal would reduce income taxes from seventy percent to twenty-eight percent. That’s a whopping thirty-two percent reduction. But reducing taxes was not enough. It was essential to reduce costs as well and especially the size of government ( fewer fonctionaires.) Reagan proposed to reduce the administration by two-thirds. At the time, the Democrats’s prophesy was apocalyptic. They predicted the end of the world. There would be no public services, water, electricity, hospitals would close, people would die without health care, disease would spread, pestilence would reign etc.

Reagan won the election, and implemented his model. The result was economic growth and enrichment unparalleled in economic history. Contrary to what was predicted, services improved. Infrastructure improved as well. Why? Because the revenues to the government increased dramatically just as the economist Milton Friedman had predicted. The result of the tax cut, was increased revenues to the government. The administration that was now smaller and better organized, performed better and since it had more money to work with, the government had better results. Instead of reduced services, the result was better services. This was the exact opposite of what was predicted by the doomsday fear mongers.

Cutting taxes increases revenues to the government. Raising taxes reduces revenues to the government. More importantly, cutting taxes leaves money in the private sector that can be invested and used to create new businesses, the result is full employment. If investors make money they create so many new businesses that the salarie, the employee, has the perfect liberty and ability to change employment as he or she sees fit because there are so many jobs available. Why be forced to stay in a job you hate for an entire life, because there are no other possibilities? That is not living.

If investors make money, there is MORE security for employees not less! And not only this, employees can change jobs as often as they wish until they find a job that pleases them. The biggest problem in the US or UK for businesses is competing to keep employees since they can change jobs whenever they want. So how does a firm keep employees? They pay them better, they give them better quality of work, they give them better retirement plans, health plans, insurances, cars, options, vacations etc. So if you want to know why in other countries employees earn so much more money, its because a free economy creates many high paying jobs and workers pay less in taxes. It must seem very strange to you because you have been maybe indoctrinated in a Socialist theory and propaganda based on FEAR that is completely untrue.

The truth is exactly the opposite of what the left in France says. Plumbers, carpenters, farmers, police officers and trades people become millionaires in many countries of the world because of their work for the simple reason that they are able to keep and invest their earnings. And by investing, all citizens benefit and great wealth is distributed naturally. This is impossible in a state controlled environment where taxes are abusive, employment laws restrictive and no one is able to invest and create wealth. Precarite in employment increases in a closed, protected, state controlled system. The proof is that France has some of the highest unemployment levels in the world. Full employment is reached by rewarding investment and profits, not by punishing success.

To summarize, full employment that is the fruit of the profitable investment of private sector funds improves services and assures stable and full employment at high levels of earnings. This is not my opinion, it is reality in many countries of the world today. And these fundamental concepts of individual freedom would work in France as well. Or maybe the system and personality of the people is so different that it would never work. I can’t say I am completely sure. What I can say is that in the last forty years, the right and left in France have made little progress in improving the lives of the people, so maybe a liberale strategy would be worth a try. It might work.

Cheers Ariane!

PS: Sego just finished the debate and promised to raise taxes dramatically. This will reduce revenues, and strangle the economy and employment in France. I think it is the wrong strategy.

evan jones said...

Alden's prescriptions for France is derived from his understanding of the US. But he doesn't understand his own country. He subscribes to a myth which he then imposes on the blank slate that is France. Ergo?
The Reagan Presidency did not reduce the size of government.
Between 1980 and 1988, outlays in constant dollars went from $1175bn to $1446bn, the budget deficit from $147bn to $211b; compared to GDP, outlays were relatively constant, while the deficit c/f GDP was slightly higher in 1988 but significantly higher in mid-Presidency.
Gross federal debt grew from $909bn to $2601bn, from 33% to 52% as a percentage of GDP. So much for small government and efficiency.
Military expenditures escalated, social expenditures were reduced, the anti-inflation crunch was catastrophic for myriad communities, businesses and workers; financial deregulation benefited the well-connected and the speculators (c/f the Savings and Loans debacle), income distribution went backwards (the top quintile's share of national income went from 41% to 44% 1980-88 while the other 80% stagnated, and the top 5% share went from 14.6% to 17.2%.
The US miracle economy has generated declining real wages since the end of the long boom in the 1970s. The labour market, far from generating choice, dictates effective compulsion for many workers on starvation wages, onerous conditions and no benefits. Welcome to the Wal-Mart/Tyson dystopia.
Every country has its Achilles heels, but Alden needs to start with those of his own country. Somewhere way down the track after a sea change of mentality, he might earn the right to gaze across the Atlantic.

ariane said...

Je laisse le soin à Evan Jones de descendre ton argumentaire économique point par point (ce qu'il fait brillamment).
Mon cher Alden, il y a quelque jours, c'est moi qui m'exprimais "in such a typically condescending tone", et aujourd'hui c'est à toi de me dire : "It must seem very strange to you because you have been maybe indoctrinated in a Socialist theory and propaganda based on FEAR that is completely untrue" ???

En effet, je n'ai pas du tout la même conception de l'économie française que toi, est-ce une raison pour insulter ainsi mon intelligence? De la même façon, je pourrais te dire obnubilé par une doctrine libérale individualiste et avide de profit, je ne m'y abaisserais pas.

En France, je ne sais toujours pas si tu y vis, les deux modèles de pensées se sont toujours affronté. Economiquement, l'un keynésien et l'autre plus libéral. Le problème du chômage de masse doit être résolu absolument, mais il n'y a certainement pas de solution miracle.

Sarkozy, puisqu'on en parle, a tenu des propos insupportables, en divisant, prétendant à un rassemblement difficilement concevable, insultant parfois, trahissant, et allant même jusqu'à s'excuser d'une politique étrangère française auprès de Bush, alors même qu'elle était reconnue raisonnable.
Le personnage me dérange fortement (et ce n'est en aucun cas des attaques personnelles). De plus, ce n'est pas au Président de mener une politique économique, mais à un gouvernement (et Strauss Kahn est largement rassurant de ce point de vue à gauche).

Tu critiques ma façon de te présenter mes idées, mais te permets de dire : "The truth is exactly the opposite of what the left in France says". Si tu détiens la vérité, il fallait le dire plus tôt.

De plus, le Parti socialiste ne prétend certainement pas à un "state control", si tu ne sais toujours pas différencier le socialisme de l'URSS (le communisme donc) et la pensée française de Gauche, arrête de regarder Fox News !

Je pense que comme moi tu as regardé le débat. Je doute de notre objectivité à ce sujet ! Ségolène, dont on disait qu'elle se ferait écraser, à tout à fait tenu le choc. Economiquement, il a été très bon (j'ai toujours reconnu sa brillante éloquence), mais elle l'a achevé sur l'Education (selon moi une grande priorité), l'environnement, la politique d'immigration et internationale. Il était très à l'aise, elle beaucoup plus surprenante que prévu.

Je ne pense pas que cela jouera pour l'un ou l'autre, les deux caractères se sont affirmés, les deux politiques et aspirations aussi.

Au revoir petit sarkoziste. Tu vas pouvoir chanter dimanche!


Alden said...

Dear Ariane,

I will sing when France has become one of the leading economies of Europe, when she is at ease with her oldest allies, when she sees the world (globalization) as an opportunity and not a threat, when her workers have decent salaries (salary levels from #17 in the world back to #7), when she has integrated her immigrants by providing an economy built around opportunity instead of regulation, when her tax system allows families to invest and create wealth for their futures, when Socialism ceases to rhyme with elitism and returns to be a creative, revolutionary force in the world from a bourgeois and reactionary one, when the French people wake up and see life as an adventure and opportunity that is within their own control and not the dictate of some cold group of bureaucrats who decide everything for them!

That is when I will be glad to sing the Marseillaise with you Ariane and not a minute before. It’s just that Sarkozy is the one who has the best chance of making this joyous chorus a possibility as of today. Tomorrow it may change and you may identify a leader who has the qualities and desire to change France too. I will be with you.