Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another Sarko-Bilan

From Charles Wyplosz.

An American TGV?

Ray LaHood, the American secretary of transportation, is in France to study the TGV. The US is preparing to invest $13 billion in high-speed rail. LaHood called the French system splendid. It's time for Sarkozy l'Américain, hyper-VRP, to revive his love of America, which seems to have waned somewhat since the election of Obama. Sarko didn't mind lavishing affection on George Bush: befriending the friendless W made Sarko look magnanimous. He finds it hard to conceal his jealousy of Obama's popularity, however. But French industry could use a boost right now. Let's hear three cheers for Franklin, La Fayette, les boys, and le hamburger and take another US summer vacation.

Socialists Cooperate!

Imagine! Une opération trans-courante, they're calling it. Socialists joining together to help out one of their own in trouble, in this case Benoît Hamon. This is such a rare thing in the Socialist Party that it's worth remarking. Also worthy of notice is the fact that this is apparently an initiative of younger Socialists. If les quadras discover that there's actually strength in unity, who knows? It might catch on, and the PS might begin to find a way out of its Prisoner's Dilemma. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Budget

Receipts are down, expenditures are not, and the resulting increased budget deficit is more a consequence of policy and its execution than of the crisis. Such is the conclusion of the Cour des Comptes report on the state budget. Sarkozy's experience thus reproduces the failure of other tax-cutting, state-paring reformers before him: it is easier to cut taxes (and thus gain votes) than to cut state services.