Friday, September 17, 2010

Automatic Stabilizers

Do automatic stabilizers cushion the effects of an economic downturn? If so, how much? An attempt to answer these questions can be found here. Below is a comparison of the effect of stabilizers in various countries:

Another Presidential Whim Down the Tubes

It was not so long ago that President Sarkozy stunned the country with his decision to end all advertising on French national television. But now that signature measure of Sarkozy's presidency has been put on hold: "We are moving toward a moratorium," announced culture minister Frédéric Mitterrand. Chalk up another failure for le volontarisme présidentiel.

Astonishing Rebuke

Nicolas Sarkozy, under fire in the EU for his policy of expelling Roma from France, invoked the support of Angela Merkel:

«Mme Merkel  m'a indiqué sa volonté de procéder dans les prochaines semaines à l'évacuation de camps, nous verrons à ce moment là le calme qui règne dans la vie politique allemande.» «Je dois dire que j'ai été très sensible au soutien complet, total et entier une fois encore d'Angela Merkel sur cette question comme sur tellement d'autres», a-t-il ajouté.

The problem is that this statement was a lie, according to Merkel. In an astonishing public rebuke, Merkel's spokesperson issued the following statement:

n'a pas parlé de camps de Roms en Allemagne avec , «ni lors du Conseil européen, ni lors d'entretiens en marge», a déclaré le porte-parole de la chancelière allemande jeudi soir à Berlin, récusant ainsi les les propos tenus par le chef de l'Etat français, à l'issue du sommet européen qui s'est tenu à Bruxelles. L'Elysée n'a pas souhaité réagir, peu après l'annonce du démenti.
 This open disavowal of the French president by the German chancellor is simply flabbergasting. The idea that Sarkozy would simply have invented an exchange with Merkel and that he would have invoked her "total and entire" support without having cleared it with her beggars belief. A president who behaves in this way permanently discredits himself. Plummeting in polls, attacked for human rights violations, chastised by the Pope, sued by Le Monde, and now slapped in the face by Merkel, Sarkozy seems to be coming unhinged, prepared to say anything and do anything to retain his increasingly tenuous hold on power. How long before an open revolt breaks out in his own party?

Times on the Roma

The New York Times looks at the sources of the Roma problem.