Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hortefeux's Outrageous Words

In the United States, a remark like this would end Hortefeux's political career:

Sur cette vidéo que s'est procurée "Le Monde", le ministre de l'intérieur, Brice Hortefeux, a posé pour la photo en compagnie d'un jeune militant, samedi 5 septembre lors de l'université d'été de l'UMP, à Seignosse dans les Landes. "Il ne correspond pas du tout au prototype", plaisante M. Hortefeux en référence à l'origine arabe du jeune homme, avant d'ajouter : "Il en faut toujours un. Quand il y en a un ça va. C'est quand il y en a beaucoup qu'il y a des problèmes."


It's particularly astonishing that this hasn't created more of a flap in view of the firing by Brice Hortefeux of the prefect Paul Girot de Langlade for an alleged remark of similarly racist tenor.

The Collapse of Trade

Why has global trade fallen at a faster rate than global GDP? A variety of economists look at the reasons here. Several single out the increased importance of global supply chains. Barry Eichengreen puts it best:

When a U.S. household decides not to buy a
$40,000 Cayenne sport utility vehicle from Germany,
German exports to the United States go down by $40,000,
but Slovakian exports to Germany go down by perhaps
half that amount, since while the final assembly is done in
Leipzig, the coachwork is done in Bratislava.

Carbon Tax Details

Sarko's speech. The initial tax will be 17 euros per ton, up 3 from the 14 previously announced by Fillon but still well below the 32 recommended by the Rocard Commission. Still, Sarkozy deserves some credit for sticking to his guns and rejecting those in his own party who wanted to renege on this initiative.

Elle s’appliquera à tous les consommateurs d’énergies fossiles, ménages comme entreprises à l’exception notable de celles soumises au système européen d’échanges de quotas de CO2 dont notamment l’électricité. Elle couvrira 70 % des émissions de l’Hexagone et devrait rapporter de l’ordre de 4,3 milliards d’euros par an. Cette somme sera placée dans un fonds autonome et son utilisation sera soumise au contrôle d’une commission indépendante comme l’avaient souhaité les experts réunis autour de Michel Rocard.

Mitterrand on German Reunification

François Mitterrand's opposition to German unification was no secret, but previously secret British documents reveal its depth as never before:

Secret British government documents to be published on Friday reveal that François Mitterrand privately warned Margaret Thatcher that a reunited Germany might “make even more ground than had Hitler”.

...
Another notable encounter took place over lunch at the Elysée palace on January 20 1990. Mr Powell reports that Mr Mitterrand talked about how reunification would see the re-emergence of the “bad” Germans who had once dominated Europe.