Does Hollande read the French papers?

Trying to drum up some business for France, François went to Japan where he reassured the business community that Europe is in rude economic health.

“What you need to understand here in Japan is that the crisis in Europe is over,” he said, unwittingly explaining why he had to travel so far to deliver this pronouncement. Closer to home he would have been pelted with rotten tomatoes.

The eurozone is in the grip of its longest recession, with five continuous quarters of shrinkage and close to 20 million out of work. For example, in Spain a quarter of the young labour force is no longer in the labour force – and that’s an official, meaning dressed up, estimate.

France’s own unemployment rate is the highest in 15 years, and her economy would welcome mere stagnation as a huge improvement.

Moreover, the dire economic situation is contributing to growing social unrest, with riotous demonstrations breaking out all over southern Europe, including France.

To be fair to François, not all riots are caused by his harebrained economic measures. Some are triggered off by his social activism, specifically his ‘success’ in shoving homomarriage down people’s throats.

Hardly a day goes by without violent protests, raging in numerical strength from hundreds of thousands to a few intrepid individuals, such as those who disrupted the French Open finals yesterday.

Yet it would be unfair to single out such protests – after all, opinion polls suggest that most French people have been successfully brainwashed not to care about the destruction of marriage. What they do care about is the destruction of their economy, which is proceeding briskly under François’s sage guidance.

He took office last year with a clear understanding of how the French economy could regain its health: expropriating the rich (faire payer les riches, was how François put it) and spending on the poor. François was undeterred by the outcome of similar measures taken throughout history in many countries, including France.

Nor did he heed the warnings of those who didn’t learn their economics from Lenin. Unjust tax rates (such as François’s pet levy of 75 percent on high income), they were saying, won’t increase tax revenue. They’ll lower it – by driving wealth producers out of the country and depressing consumer spending.

Sure enough, the naysayers were right, and this weekend’s Le Figaro devoted several pages to showing just how right they were.

Since April 2012 France’s budget deficit has grown from €59.9 billion to €66.8 billion, which is pretty good going for just over a year.

Meanwhile, receipts from consumer taxes have gone down dramatically, up to 10 percent in some categories (more than a billion euros less in VAT alone). Predictably, people who get to keep less of their money end up spending less.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. François should be given credit for a huge, indeed 5-fold, increase in one indicator: economic emigration. Rather than sit around waiting to be punished for their success, France’s wealth producers flee in droves.

What they take out with them is vast amounts they would otherwise have pumped into the country’s economy, and also jobs, which they’ll now create elsewhere.

“I believe that the crisis, far from weakening the eurozone, will strengthen it,” declared François to his perplexed Japanese audience. No doubt they all nodded politely, as the Japanese tend to do.

The French, adhering to a more Occidental etiquette, mutter the French equivalent of ‘tell it to the marines’ (quelle connerie). Of course, the eurozone will be strengthened by its present recession. A depression would be even better. And just imagine how much stronger the economy would be in case of a total collapse.

All Europe needs to achieve such a bonanza is to act on François’s economic insights across the continent. Always provided that it’s he who gets to judge the results – prudently 10,000 miles away from home.

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