Monday, July 23, 2007

Entre Quatre Valls

Another bilingual pun in a post title: the suggestion is that the ubiquitous Valls has us surrounded. And another media opportunity for Manuel Valls, this time on RMC, faithfully echoed by Libé. Valls criticizes the RSA promoted earlier today by Fillon and Hirsch. Only 25 million euros have been allocated to this program, compared with a tax reduction package of 13 billion.

Yes, the contrasting figures are striking, and polemically useful. I've used the same contrast myself, and it is a rhetorically convenient way of emphasizing that even if Sarkozy's economic package succeeds in inducing growth, it may also exacerbate inequality. But since the purposes of the two programs are so different, the strict numerical comparison isn't precisely fair. The RSA is intended only as a measure to reduce a perverse incentive not to work, since under existing programs it was possible for a recipient of public assistance covered by a so-called "social minimum" to receive more than the same person would earn if employed at the SMIC. The RSA removes this economic incentive to remain unemployed. If 25 million is enough to accomplish that goal, the program will have achieved its modest purpose.

Hence it's really not quite kosher to say that Sarko is handing out 13 billion to the fat cats and only 25 million to the poor. But it makes for a good sound bite.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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