Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Right Frays

The Right managed to maintain a fair semblance of unity through the first round of reforms. It had the wind in its sails and the coast of the Promised Land in sight. So it passed the TEPA act (which cut taxes here and there to the tune of 14 billion euros) with nary a dissenting voice. Suddenly, however, in the wake of what the prematurely disgruntled Jean-François Copé has called a "thrashing" (un dérouillé) in the municipals, others have found their voice. In retrospect, the problem with the TEPA suddenly looms large: it was too generous to the rich, with its tax shield and estate tax reform. "Justice" is the watchword of the new dissidents of the center-right. As one of them, Charles de Courson of Nouveau Centre, puts it, "Le thème de la justice, c'est bien un truc de centriste, non?"

Well, I would have thought that "justice" merited somewhat more full-throated praise than un truc de centriste, but it's a start. Twenty deputies signed a petition in which they pledged in regard to future legislation that "Nous resterons très vigilants vis-à-vis du contenu des réformes, qui ne peuvent se faire sans esprit de justice." One member of the group offered a blunter assessment: "Les 15 milliards pour les riches, on se l’est pris dans la gueule pendant toutes les municipales. Maintenant, il faudrait enfin comprendre qu’on ne travaille pas que pour ceux qui payent un ISF." ("The 15 billion for the rich hit us smack in the face in the municipals. It's finally time to understand that we're not working only for those who pay the tax on large fortunes.") The Socialists could use un truc de centriste like that.

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