If you have read Political Realities for any length of time, you will know I seldom write about foreign news. I simply feel there is plenty of news to write about in America, without having to delve into the goings on in other countries around the world. There was, however, something happening in France this weekend that is more than newsworthy. In a close runoff election, Socialist Francois Hollande has defeated conservative Nicolas Sarkozy for the presidency of France. You may ask, what does this have to do with America. Directly, nothing at all. Indirectly, well that’s a different story.
To get a feel for how this may affect the rest of Europe, as well as America, let’s go to The Washington Times, who has the story from the Associated Press.
Socialist Francois Hollande defeated conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday to become France’s next president, heralding a change in how Europe tackles its debt crisis and how France flexes its military and diplomatic muscle around the world.
What kind of change, do you suppose, is Francois Hollande wanting to make to the way Europe is handling the crisis it is in? It’s no secret, not really. He has made it plain how he plans to tackle the problem.
Mr. Hollande wants to renegotiate a hard-won European treaty on budget cuts that Germany’s Angela Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy had championed. He wants more government stimulus and more government spending in general despite concerns from markets that France urgently needs to trim its huge debts.
It sounds like Hollande is nothing more than a big-government socialist who thinks the government can and should do all things. In that spirit, he would like to remove the spending cuts that are in place and in fact, have the French government spend even more money to “stimulate” the economy. Because they are a member of the European Union, whatever he does is likely to affect the entire EU.
Along that same line of thinking, Hollande also wants to tax the very wealthy in France, at an incredible 75% of their income. Of course, this proposal is popular with those who aren’t wealthy, but it seems to have escaped them that this will bring in very little extra money, compared to the amount of money in the budget. Does any of this sound familiar? Isn’t this the same policy of tax the rich President Obama has espousing for about three years?
I think this does not bode well for the EU, or for America. What if Francois Hollande is able to push this through his parliament, and is able to force Germany to renegotiate the treaty, thereby forcing European countries deeper into debt? I am afraid it will embolden socialists everywhere to try the same thing. Barack Obama doesn’t call himself a socialist, but his policies tell a different tale. The last thing we need is for an American president to feel he needs to follow the example of France and raise taxes on the people who are able to drive this economy upward by investment and more employment.
Francois Hollande will be coming to the United States for NATO and Group of Eight summits. I would like to be a fly on the wall in the meetings that are certain to take place between Barack Obama and Francois Hollande. I just hope Hollande refrains from encouraging Obama to push his policy of tax and spend even harder.