Monday, January 06, 2014

Even Newsweek: "There is a grayness in France that the heavy hand of socialism casts"

It’s a stretch, but what is happening today in France is being compared to the revocation of 1685
quips Janine di Giovanni in Newsweek (merci à Damian, who bewails the fact that "The tone of the article is shock and sadness, 'Oh how sad that socialism has ruined France' ").
In that year, Louis XIV, the Sun King who built the Palace of Versailles, revoked the Edict of Nantes, which had protected French Protestants – the Huguenots. Trying to unite his kingdom by a common religion, the king closed churches and persecuted the Huguenots. As a result, nearly 700,000 of them fled France, seeking asylum in England, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa and other countries.

The Huguenots, nearly a million strong before 1685, were thought of as the worker bees of France. They left without money, but took with them their many and various skills. They left France with a noticeable brain drain. 

Since the arrival of Socialist President François Hollande in 2012, income tax and social security contributions in France have skyrocketed. The top tax rate is 75 percent, and a great many pay in excess of 70 percent.

As a result, there has been a frantic bolt for the border by the very people who create economic growth – business leaders, innovators, creative thinkers, and top executives. They are all leaving France to develop their talents elsewhere.

And it’s a tragedy for such a historically rich country. As they say, the problem with the French is they have no word for entrepreneur. Where is the Richard Branson of France? Where is the Bill Gates?
At this point Hervé jumps in to make a point:
I haven't read the whole piece yet, but this made me barf:
As they say, the problem with the French is they have no word for entrepreneur.
I thought only GW Bush would be stupid enought to come up with that... But hey, she's a journalist.

I will read the rest though. But as you say, what's Newsweek's point? As I recall, they were in a state of trans when the Afromarxist was elected. Somehow it wouldn't work in France but it would in the US? I guess English speaking journalists don't have a word for bullshit.
Back to Newsweek:
 Pierre Moscovici, the much-loathed minister of finance … was looking very happy with himself. Does he realize Rome is burning? 
Granted, there is much to be grateful for in France. An economy that boasts successful infrastructure such as its high-speed rail service, the TGV, and Airbus, as well as international businesses like the luxury goods conglomerate LMVH, all of which define French excellence. It has the best agricultural industry in Europe. Its tourism industry is one of the best in the world.

But the past two years have seen a steady, noticeable decline in France. There is a grayness that the heavy hand of socialism casts. It is increasingly difficult to start a small business when you cannot fire useless employees and hire fresh new talent. Like the Huguenots, young graduates see no future and plan their escape to London.

  … Part of this is the fault of the suffocating nanny state. … With the end of the reign of Gaullist (conservative) Nicolas Sarkozy (the French hated his flashy bling-bling approach) the French ushered in the rotund, staid Hollande.

Almost immediately, taxes began to rise. 

I did not mind, initially, paying higher taxes than in Britain in exchange for excellent health care, and for masterful state-subsidized schools like the one my son attends (L’Ecole Alsacienne – founded by some of the few remaining Huguenots at the end of the 19th century). 
As a new mother, I was surprised at the many state benefits to be had if you filled out all the forms: Diapers were free; nannies were tax-deductible; free nurseries existed in every neighborhood. State social workers arrived at my door to help me “organize my nursery.” My son’s school lunch consists of three courses, plus a cheese plate.

 …  When I began to look around, I saw people taking wild advantage of the system. I had friends who belonged to trade unions, which allowed them to take entire summers off and collect 55 percent unemployment pay.

 … But all this handing out of money left the state bankrupt. 

Also, France, being a nation of navel-gazers à la Jean-Paul Sartre, refuses to look outward, toward the global village. Who cares about the BRICS – the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – when we have Paris? It is a tunnel-vision philosophy that will kill France

 … From a chief legal counsel at a major French company: “France is dying a slow death. Socialism is killing it. It’s like a rich old family being unable to give up the servants. Think Downton Abbey.”

 … To wake up, France has to rid itself of the old guard, and reinvent itself. 

François Hollande made his first trip to China only when he became head of state in 2012 – and he’s 58 years old. The government is so inward looking and the state fonctionnaires who run it are so divorced from reality that it has become a country in denial.

  … politicians like Hollande have to let the people breathe. Creativity and prosperity can only come about when citizens can build, create, and thrive
Finally, Damian returns to answer Hervé's comment and make another point or two about the ("We Are All Socialists Now") Newsweek article:
I guess English speaking journalists don't have a word for bullshit.

Actually most news services do have such a word. They call it "the news". …

Notice that the writer doesn't linger on hard facts or statistical evidence of decline. No it's all talk with her "friends". So. If only her "friends" had better attitudes or weren't cheats -- or if she had a better set of "friends" altogether -- French socialism might work fine!  I mean, FREE DIAPERS!