Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Carbon Tax Debate Continues

Alain Juppé, who was to have been Sarkozy's Green Czar until he lost his bid for a seat in the Assembly, has come out in favor of the carbon tax proposal, but his embrace of the measure should really be described as oui, mais ... Although he criticizes Ségolène Royal, rightly, for her incoherence on the issue, he more or less echoes her complaints about the inequitable impact of the new tax, which, perversely, his party insists on characterizing as "not a new tax"--it's such a pity that the French haven't picked up the handy American phrase "revenue neutral," the slick way of saying that a tax isn't really a tax at all.

The problem with all green issues, of course, is that everybody is for doing something to--fanfare!--"save the planet," but no one wants to bear the cost. It should all just happen. So what you get is a dance of the seven veils, and all the parties are currently whirling and sashaying to the music of planetary time.

Lest Ségolène's backtracking on the carbon tax confuse anyone, Martine Aubry reaffirmed that her party's leadership group is unanimously in favor of some kind of contribution climat énergie, as long as it's not Sarkozy's. So we are back to the Left's old tricks: we'll give you what the Right promises to give you, only we'll do it in a more social way. Just as we had "social Europe," now we have "social ecology." But this will-o'-the-wisp is never bodied forth as a full-blooded counterproposal.

Then the Right muddies its own position in response: in addition to Juppé's equivocations, you have Jean-François Copé saying that he's "not hostile to the principle" of a carbon tax, but of course one mustn't "mistake the target," and the "incentives" have to be got right. Well, sure. So what incentives do you propose?

More comment here.

More on Martine

Bernard Girard picks up on my comment about the change in press coverage of Martine Aubry and takes it a step further. Not only has the characterization of Aubry changed in recent weeks, but so has the pictorial portrayal. I quote Bernard:

La virago vaguement alcoolo [ouf!!-ag] qu'on nous montrait il y a quelques semaines a cédé la place, non pas à une beauté mais à une femme déterminée, au regard plein d'espérance qui n'est pas sans rappeler certaines héroïnes soviétiques. Comme Martine Aubry (qu'on peine à appeler Martine, comme on fait avec Ségolène) n'a pas changé en quelques jours, comme elle n'est pas devenue plus photogénique, il faut en conclure que ceux qui choisissent les images ont saisi ce frisson dans l'air du temps.