Quote of the day

Philippe Marliere wrote:

Days before the first round of the French presidential election, Nicolas Sarkozy was addressing his supporters at a mass rally in Paris. His final words sounded desperate: “French people, help me!” The conservative candidate looked tense and the public mood was grim. A record attendance of 150,000 was hastily announced. Journalists on the ground showed that no more than 30,000 had gathered on Place de la Concorde.

This ever more likely defeat has been a long time coming. While he was campaigning in 2007, Sarkozy’s economic advisers concocted a fiscal plan that gravely offended the French sense of egalitarianism. The Tepa law — or “fiscal shield” — ensured that the richest people would not pay more than 50% of their annual income in tax. Thanks to the perverse tax cap, Liliane Bettencourt — France’s richest person — received a €30m repayment. Sarkozy’s reputation as a friend of the rich who benefits from their largesse has never rescinded since then.

….

Sarkozysm may be seen as an avatar of Berlusconism. “Sarkoberlusconism” attempts to run the state as a firm. Under Sarkozy, justice, culture or education have become economic goods which should be subjected to the rationality and assessment of market rules. In this respect, Sarkozysm is an Americanism; the closest France has got so far to US-style neo-conservatism.

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