It would be nice if, after some champagne and caviar, visiting French President Hollande shared a point or two about supply-side economics with HRM Obama. The WSJ’s Review and Outlook point out here:
The French president’s turnaround hasn’t come a quarter too soon. Mr. Hollande came to office in 2012 with promises that would make new New York Mayor Bill de Blasio blush: a 75% tax rate on high earners, a civil-servant hiring spree and a 12-figure pan-European public-works stimulus. French voters soon came to regret their choice and it’s not hard to see why. Last year foreign direct investment into France plunged 77%, the sharpest drop in the G20 according to the U.N.’s latest figures.
The Hollande administration will have to do more if it wants better than the meager growth now projected for 2014. Eliminating the 35-hour-workweek would be a good place to start. Mandatory leisure time and catch-all welfare have led to an official 11% unemployment rate in France and a booming black market for labor.
But at least his recent rhetoric is promising. Mr. Hollande, a Socialist by party affiliation, has started calling himself a “Social Democrat.” We’re old enough to remember that a former French President, François Mitterrand, underwent a similar metamorphosis 30 years ago, with politically attractive results. Maybe Mr. Hollande can do likewise, and educate Mr. Obama along the way.
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