Posted by: Tony Carson | 8 October, 2007

Does Sarkozy attack his problems or wait them out?

It looks like France is in great need of some significant structural changes. That’s not something that would  sit well with a people who seem pathologically in love with the status quo.

As Time reports in France’s Sarkozy: Honeymoon’s Over:

Since the nation returned to work from summer vacations last month, scarcely a day has passed without additional gloomy economic news undermining the can-do confidence Sarkozy had sought to instill in the French public. In September, it was announced that the nation’s slowly shrinking unemployment rate had reversed course and increased slightly during the previous month to nearly 8.1%. Later, word came that the year-end economic growth the government had hoped might reach 2.5% was set to increase only 1.8%, in part due to French businesses continuing to create few new jobs.

The French then learned the nation’s health care system would finish 2007 over $19 billion in the red — 30% more than initially expected — and would run at least another $11.2 billion over a budget Sarkozy is seeking to pass for 2008. The budget itself is highly controversial: despite eliminating nearly 23,000 civil service jobs, it would still run a 2.3% deficit (worth nearly $59 billion) due in large part to nearly $20 billion in income tax cuts that critics say mostly benefit the wealthy. Like its 2007 predecessor, the 2008 budget is also built upon estimated 2-2.5% economic growth and tax revenues many economists consider fanciful.

It would seem that we are about to find out if, indeed, it is preferable for a leader to make bold changes at the beginning of a term, rather than wait to the end.


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