I'd like to give Hollande a generous amount of rope in the wake of this election, if only to make an amusing yo-yo when he ends up warranting a tug.
It's hard to tell what Hollande will end up doing policy-wise, since there's little record by which to assess the validity of his campaign promises. Hailing from Correze -- the same rural south-central department that spawned former President
The markets appeared to collectively yawn in the wake of Hollande's election. Perhaps it's a sign that regardless of who's captain of the ship, it's still considered to be on a crash course with the iceberg. Nonetheless, it's hard to denounce the "socialism" of a platform that includes raising funds for new housing construction by raising limits on personal investment amounts from which the funds are derived, cutting taxes for small and medium-sized businesses, refusing to increase state-provided daycare, and decentralizing and downloading power to the regions and away from
Giving the middle class tax breaks while tempting their employers to leave en masse will hardly improve the current situation. The markets know this, and apparently don't take Hollande's most Socialist proposals seriously. Perhaps it's assumed that Hollande understands this and was only throwing Socialists some class-warfare red meat for campaign purposes, as the French love the idea of a good aristocratic guillotining. If it turns out that he was actually serious in his proposals, it can only be hoped that he'll spend most of his first term on a golf course somewhere, or hiking the Alps.
So what made the French veer left at a time when
As voter income increased, the likelihood of voting for Hollande decreased, suggesting that some voters don't understand the trickle-down repercussions of business owners leaving and taking private-sector jobs with them -- particularly in a country that really can't afford to increase the state payroll, with 56 percent of the country's GDP already going toward maintain public spending.
Let's hope Hollande is intelligent and self-aware enough to realize that a 3 percent victory margin in the election he just won is primarily due to the fact that he is not Sarkozy. It's not a resounding mandate in favor of socialism, but rather a mass plea for thoughtful and pragmatic stewardship. If he understands this, then may end up doing all right. If not, he can be sure the French will be ready with the guillotine -- as they always are.
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