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Hollande Falters in France, German Left Likes What It Sees

It’s been scarcely three months since Francois Hollande was inaugurated as President of France, but his honeymoon already ended a long time ago. The policies of his Socialist government have been unable to stave off a nascent recession or a mass exodus from the country, and his approval ratings are beginning to suffer as a result, according to a new poll. The FT reports:

In a survey of French voters by Ifop for the right-leaning Le Figaro newspaper, only a third said they trusted Mr Hollande’s Socialist government on cutting debt, while just four out of 10 thought he could find a solution to the eurozone crisis with other European leaders.

Some 54 per cent said they were unhappy with the overall performance of Mr Hollande, France’s first Socialist president since François Mitterrand left office in 1995.

When over 50 percent of voters disapprove of your performance only months after they voted you in, things are going extremely poorly indeed. Some aspects of the Hollande agenda have been well received, but the astonishingly low level of trust the French have in his handling of the debt and euro crises suggest that life will get considerably rougher as he attempts to pursue his party’s goals.

We’re guessing the German Left doesn’t read the FT, or place much stock in public polling: they are now borrowing pieces of Hollande’s campaign platform. Der Spiegel reports that the opposition Social Democrats and Greens have spoken out in favor of a “wealth tax” like the one that was a centerpiece of the Hollande campaign. Although the proposed tax rate, 1 percent for all assets over two million euros, would be considerably smaller than the French version, it seems unlikely that the German business class would react much more warmly than their French counterparts, many of whom are now considering leaving the country.

Naturally, Germany is in a very different position from France, and Germans may be more forgiving of rough economic conditions than the French (although we tend to doubt it). But with a slowing economy and the threat of a euro implosion, Germany has enough on its plate. The German Left may want to wait and see how Hollande’s experiment plays out before pledging to repeat it.

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  • Kevin

    A wealth tax is much different from an income tax in that it relentlessly comes after the same money every year.

  • Kris

    But at least they are rid of that horrid Sarkozy!

    [/sarc] (Or rather, [/sark].)

    Kevin@1, I believe that in technical terms, a wealth tax refers to a one-time-only levy. Otherwise, it is known as a stupidity-tax.

  • James Brown

    just as a point of clarification, I wouldn’t assume that the 54% of Figaro readers = 50%+ of French voters.
    As mentioned, Le Figaro’s readership is center-right. I would add, mostly Parisian/Francilian, mostly upper-middle to upper class, and mostly voted for the UMP (or for centrists). Bien sûr, they wouldn’t approve of Hollande’s performance!
    Also, aside from the Roma who were recently kicked out of France by the police, I don’t know what this mass exodus whereof one speaks
    is. Maybe its coming, ie maybe the tax-averse will move their assets abroad. But as for very wealthy persons moving en masse abroad? I seriously doubt it.

  • James Brown

    oops. I see my mistake. It was an Ifop survey for Le Figaro, not a survey of readers. My bad.

  • Harry Bergeron

    This says more about the French mentality than it does about Hollande.

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