May 8, 2012
The people of France elected Socialist Francois Hollande as president, dealing a blow to those urging European governments to get their runaway spending under control.
“Decades of big government policies have now brought several European economies to their knees,” The Heritage Foundation’s Nile Gardiner argues. “Soaring taxes, spiraling unemployment, mountains of red tape, stifling labour regulations, and ruinous levels of public spending needed to fund vast and unsustainable welfare states and entitlement programs have created a perfect storm of economic malaise.”
Heritage’s Mike Brownfield explains Hollande’s campaign promises:
[Hollande] promised to raise taxes on big corporations and wealthy individuals, implement a top rate tax of 75 percent, increase public spending by 20 billion euros, raise the minimum wage, hire 60,000 more teachers, and lower the retirement age from 62 to 60 for some workers.
France’s new policies reflect Hollande’s belief that government stimulus spending will restore France’s economy. But by drastically taxing corporations and job creators, France is removing the incentive for self sufficiency and creating a nation even more dependent on big government programs to provide for their basic needs.
The socialist agenda of France’s new president sounds eerily similar to the policies touted by President Obama. Brownfield elaborates:
President Obama came into office on a promise of hope and change, appealed to young Americans and promised renewed prosperity. His solution was more government spending to the tune of a near-trillion-dollar stimulus, a government-run health care plan, a bailout of government unions, and a call for higher taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations.
Other European leaders are still advocating budget cuts. British Prime Minster David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both spoken out against increased government spending as a solution to Europe’s massive debt crisis.
What do you think? Does America run the risk of following Europe’s path to big government and socialism?