When comparing the President Obama’s views to the platform of France’s Socialist Party candidate, Francois Hollande, it’s hard to see much difference. Judge for yourself after you read descriptions of Hollande’s platform (courtesy of The Guardian) and a summation of comparable Obama administration policies.
Hollande: Will balance French finances by 2017.
Obama: The Obama 2013 budget doesn’t anticipate balance until after 2022, it’s legally mandated projection horizon (page 205). In this instance the French Socialist has a more fiscally conservative plan than the American president.
Hollande: Opposes a financial policy based only on austerity and has promised to renegotiate the European fiscal compact to include provisions on jobs and growth.
Obama: The president’s former budget chief, Jacob Lew, summed up the administration’s position on austerity: “The time for austerity is not today.”
Hollande: His deficit-reduction measures include reversing tax breaks for the wealthy. Promises to target the rich with a 75% tax rate on those earning more than €1m a year and a 45% tax rate for those earning more than €150,000. He plans to limit executive pay to 20 times the average wage and cut the president’s salary.
Obama: The president’s tax plan would raise rates on the highest income earners, just like Hollande’s. He also added extra taxes for the rich into his signature Obamacare law. The president is now promoting his new “Buffett rule,” which would cost high income earners even more.
Hollande: Has outlined €20bn of new spending over five years, including creating 150,000 state-aided jobs to tackle youth unemployment, 60,000 posts in education, and more police jobs.
Obama: From the president’s campaign site: “The Obama administration […] fought to save the jobs of hundreds of thousands of educators across the country. The Recovery Act supported roughly 300,000 education jobs, and in 2010 President Obama helped school districts prevent 161,000 teacher and school staff layoffs.”
Hollande: Wants to curb financial excess by separating retail and investment banking and imposing a financial transaction tax; banning toxic financial products and stock options; curbing bonuses; creating a European ratings agency; and stopping banks operating in offshore tax havens.
Hollande: Supports the creation of a public investment bank to support small businesses.