Suddenly, there’s a solution to France’s economic crisis. Unlike the cacophonous clamor from the far right to drop the euro, this one is attractively presented with graphs and in terms that even a French politician might understand. And it’s not contaminated by partisanship.
Entries in Europe - France (106)
"Insurrection" is showing up in the French media, though it's still more an exaggeration than a description. "Fiscal discontent” is better, but not broad enough. Now François Hollande, the most despised French President in the history of polls, is going to turn this mess around.
Gagging Doubt: French Crackdown On French And American Bloggers Who Question Megabank Balance Sheets
France’s Financial Markets Authority slapped fines on two bloggers, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Chevallier and American Mike “Mish” Shedlock, “for having spread inexact information about the level of indebtedness” of megabank Société Générale. Instead of going after banks, bank regulators are going after bloggers! It's more convenient.
There has been a symphony of calls for American investors to plow their money into European stocks. So, net inflows into European equity funds have set records, driven by euphoria about a presumed recovery. Equities soared. But turns out, reality has bad breath.
Most powerful person in the world? Putin! Sez Forbes. At least, it wasn’t Merkel, who has been throwing her weight around when she found out that her Handy had been bugged by the NSA, just like our cellphones. We have to take it; she gets to make a big stink and gripe to Obama on the (bugged) phone.
The euro, its dexterous management, the “whatever-it-takes” guarantees by ECB President Draghi, the trillions being shifted around to prop up banks and governments – all these efforts to keep the Eurozone duct-taped together have hit countries differently. Including France and Germany. They’re shooting at each other now, and hitting the ECB.
“The company could disappear,” said Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes, not exactly the kind of wondrous hype CEOs normally sputter to bamboozle people into plowing their money into the company’s stock. The end, after two decades of ingenious Wall-Street engineering, fee extraction, fanciful accounting, executive wisdom, and brilliant strategic thinking.
Marseille has a problem: “account settlements” – a guy machine-gunned at close range for a drug deal gone awry. So the city is getting drones to keep an eye on hot neighborhoods. It’s not the only city. One more element in how privacy is traded in for corporate profits, governmental controls, spookily personalized ads, and harebrained hype about security.
The Big Shift: Chinese, Russians Replace People From (Formerly) Rich Countries As Big Spenders At Parisian Airports
In Paris, “Chinese” has a new meaning: money. This phenomenon shows up by the busload at luxury retailers where sales staff say a few words of bad Mandarin, instead of bad English, in hawking overpriced handbags and glittery baubles. Now Aéroports de Paris has put a number on it. A glimmer of hope for France, though perhaps of the wrong kind.
An awful turn of events in France, just when everyone was hailing signs of a recovery, of which evidence has been trickling in, albeit mixed at best. If you held your tongue just right, you could see vague glimmers of hope. Then came the results from France’s fourth largest industry, hotels and restaurants (along with the idea that you can always raise taxes).
France vetoed the launch of free-trade negotiations between the EU and the US, though France has racked up a big trade surplus with the US and has much to lose. The problem: cultural protectionism. It wants “an explicit exclusion of the audio-visual sector.” A catch phrase for American movies! And a theme that is in the DNA of the French political class.
The confidence of consumers in France is catching up with the economic situation in their country, where the state sector, which dominates the land with 56% of the economic activity, has been hobbled by budget woes, and where the private sector, which is struggling with an inscrutable labor code and slack demand, is suffocating under a pile of new taxes.
Aircraft maintenance was a highly paid blue-collar job that required education, training, manual skills, and brains. It was one of the perfect American middle-class jobs with generous healthcare, retirement, and vacation benefits; and free flights! They were working for icons like Delta, American Airlines, Continental, TWA, or Pan Am. Icons indeed!
In theory, a class-action lawsuit allows the little guy to stand up to a big corporation and seek redress. Alone, the little guy wouldn’t have the means. Justice comes down to money, and class-action lawsuits add leverage. In theory. It’s a world-famous American product, infested with flaws. And it’s about to be imported by ... France!
The French government is saddled with enough problems; in theory, it no longer needs to create new ones. But now it wrote another excellent chapter in its tome on how to interfere with private-sector businesses, hamper entrepreneurs, and encourage them to start up their operations elsewhere instead of creating jobs in France.
Eurozone countries are falling like dominos. Next: Slovenia. But bailouts – by taxpayers in other countries – keep banks from collapsing, governments from defaulting, and investors from incurring well-deserved losses. In the US, President Obama’s budget, with its new taxes, is causing heart palpitations left and right. But how do countries really stack up?
The mood in France is dark and has turned away from politics, he said. People always expressed hatred for certain politicians; now they express hatred for the system. Comments are more violent. People are looking for a strong voice that can pull them out. “When the Fourth Republic collapsed, we had de Gaulle. What if the wrong person comes along now?”
France might not even notice if the Eurozone fell apart—that’s how tangled up it is in the Jérôme Cahuzac fiasco that blew up with phenomenal effect. Former Presidents Chirac and Sarkozy were dogged by investigations and trials that laid bare misdeeds they personally had been involved in. By contrast, the Cahuzac fiasco doesn’t implicate President François Hollande. Not yet. But it’s tearing up his government.
Everyone learned a lesson from the “bail-in” of Cypriot banks: Russians who’d laundered their money there; bondholders who’d thought they’d always get bailed out; Cypriot politicians whose names showed up on lists of loans that had been forgiven; even Finance Minister Sarris. His lesson: when a cesspool of corruption blows up, no one is safe. And German politicians learned a lesson too: that it worked!
The Stunning Differences in European Costs of Labor: Or Why “Competitiveness” Is A Beggar-Thy-Neighbor Strategy
The ominous term “competiveness” is bandied about as the real issue, the one causing Eurozone countries to sink deeper into their fiasco. To address it, “structural reforms,” or austerity, have been invoked regardless of how much blood might stain the streets. And a core element of these structural reforms is bringing down the cost of labor.