Monday, October 2, 2017

En même temps, mais pas tout de suite

Emmanuel Macron's habitual use of en même temps during the campaign (essentially in order to convey "balance": je suis de gauche mais en même temps de droite) has become the butt of ridicule, even as his economic policy has tilted decisively to the right, deferring whatever was supposed to happen en même temps either to later or to the European empyrean, where all good things will come, but mañana.

His champions say, But he is doing precisely what he promised to do, which is more or less true when it comes to the wealth tax (ISF) but not quite true with the equally symbolic, if rather risible, slashing of the housing allowance (APL). The wealth tax remains on real estate but not on stocks, bonds, or--rather notoriously--yachts, private jets, show horses, or racing cars. These constitute le capital mobilier, which is supposed to be set en marche! by tax relief, where it will create jobs (for butlers, jockeys, and yacht salesmen?).

Budget minister Darmanin views this trickle-down stimulus as "Sarkozy en mieux," and I'm afraid this is an apt description. The Medef is cheering the labor-code reform with full throat, but Jean-Claude Mailly's leadership of the FO has been challenged from within his own ranks.

Macron has no doubt heard the criticisms. Further success depends on his ability to respond constructively, and not by calling his opponents "fainéants" or insisting that he knows best. The time for balance is now.