Tuesday, July 7, 2009


In the end, the Front National did not win in Hénin-Beaumont, but it came close. This narrow escape has emboldened some in the Front Républicain ("ripou-blicain" according to FN ticket leader Steeve Briois, who shares Le Pen's liking for puns in bad taste) to see a continuation of the party's decline. I prefer to see a warning of the kind of electoral trouble that could arise in other places if the economic downturn continues to worsen.

Business Failures

The rate of failure of small and medium businesses in France is skyrocketing.

Jon Stewart & Kristen Schaal on the Burqa

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Burka Ban
Daily Show
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Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

Carbon Tax

Some thoughts on the carbon tax and France's role in setting an example for the world, from Jacques Le Cacheux and Eloi Laurent.

Stimulated Yet?

Patrick Devedjian, who was given the make-work job of stimulus czar as consolation for being booted out of his previous position as head of the UMP, has apparently persuaded a gullible NY Times reporter that France is racing ahead in its economic stimulus program by sprucing up le patrimoine culturel, etc.

She apparently missed this item, which appeared a couple of months ago:
"The latest industrial production figures were dragged lower by a weak Italian, Spanish and French performance."

And this one:

The French economy may lose 350,000 jobs in 2009 as it faces the worst recession since World War II. The number of unemployed seeking a full-time, permanent contract increased by 90,200 in January to 2.2 million, the biggest gain since the start of available data in 1991 and the ninth straight monthly increase, the government said on Feb. 25.

Mark Thoma takes a somewhat more positive view than I do:

While the scale, $37 billion versus close to $800 billion, is a bit different and probably ought to be accounted for in the comparison, there does seem to be a difference not just in the speed of deployment, but also in the focus of the policy. It will be interesting to see how that difference, which seems to place somewhat more emphasis on boosting employment and aggregate demand immediately than on long-run growth in France as compared to the U.S., translates into a differential response to the fiscal policy boosts in the two countries.

And an interesting comparative comment from Matt Yglesias.