Saturday, June 12, 2010

Le Monde

Le Monde's fate will be decided this week. Apparently Sarkozy has taken a hand in the negotiations, according to Philippe Cohen:

Mais si la solution existe, elle est aujourd'hui rendue périlleuse par le comportement de Nicolas Sarkozy lui-même. Selon diverses sources internes au Monde, Eric Fottorino se serait entretenu avec le président en compagnie de son conseiller social Raymond Soubie. Il aurait laissé entendre au patron du Monde, comme l'a rapporté Emmanuel Beretta du, que Xavier Niel n'était pas une bonne solution pour le quotidien à cause de son passé dans « le business érotique ».

The business about "le business érotique" got my attention, so I checked it out: more information here. I don't vouch for its reliability. (h/t FM) We've come a long way from the days of Hubert Beuve-Méry. More on Niel.

Jouyet the German

Jean-Pierre Jouyet, formerly Sarko's Mr. Europe (and before that, Jospin's), now the top stock market regulator, is all for Germany's austerity plan and wishes France could follow suit--if only it weren't already "at the limit." But he's willing to make a gesture: he would accept a cut in his own salary. As for increasing the VAT, as the Germans have done, France can't squeeze any more out of the lower brackets and needs to go where the money is. He doesn't mention the tax shield but does speak of an increase in the income tax. As for the risks of contagious contraction, he says simply: "When you clean up your finances, you enhance the value of your assets."

Paul Krugman has been railing in recent days against economists who favor pain for pain's sake and who make recommendations based on no discernible economic model. This rapidly spreading epidemic seems to have spread to France. Perhaps some of those unused vials of flu vaccine ought to be rolled out now to inoculate the political class against the German influenza. Seriously, this is shockingly one-sided advice from such a seasoned official.