Thursday, May 10, 2007

Allons enfants de la Patrie, le jour de gloire est arrivé! If...

Nicolas Sarkozy has been elected with 53% of the votes last weekend as President of the French Republic. Although there are still elections coming up on 10 and 17 june in which he has to gain a parlementary majority, with the risk of becoming a lame duck when he loses, it appears clear what Nicolas must do to get France back on track:

1. Restore Law and Order

Even if one is a staunch anarcho-capitalist and one disapproves of the state doing anything, one should still be in favour of someone bringing law and order. It is clear that the current situation in France is not sustainable, as last year a list was published by French police of 751 "zones urbaines sensibles" (ZUS, or sensitive urban areas) which are no longer under the control of the authorities.

2. Reduce taxes

With 45,8 % of wealth being taken by the French State, this level is unacceptably high from the standpoint of human rights, of which property rights clearly are one of the most fundamental.

3. Privatise “National Champions”

In order to cover the massive reduction in taxes, one might need some money, and the most obvious way to get money is to sell your property. So, Nicolas, go ahead and start selling your “national champions”: the monopolistic electric utility EDF (87 percent government-owned) and natural gas utility Gaz de France (34 percent government-owned) are the first obvious candidates, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find more.

4. Cut the Government

How to get even more money for your massive tax decreases? Cut the government! Where to cut? Everywhere and anywhere, except maybe in providing the vital services the State still should offer: police and justice. Honourable mentioning: cut the CAP. Now. Fully.

5. Deregulate the Economy

Not only in the field of labour law, but in virtually every field that the government has its ugly foot between the door. The French bureaucrats have done it back in 1985 for the banking sector. Let’s do it again, because the banking deregulation was of great success, as you can read here.

6. Privatise Education

“In France, everybody can go to university, without paying anything.” Well, don’t forget then that Higher education is divided into Business and Engineer Schools at the one hand and Universities at the other. You can guess which are the free ones and which are the best ones… In other words: if you want a quality degree (HEC, Science Po), you have to pay for the degree and for the taxes that keep old, bureaucratic, low quality universities in place. If you want to start working right away, you have to pay taxes for those universities as well. So, Nicolas, do as Tony Blair: raise fees for students at universities, but then don’t forget to lower taxes drastically of course, so they can have a cheap loan. This makes professors more responsible, and students more motivated.

And what about the poor? The authoritative OECD study on education (called “PISA”) debunked some common myths about education. "Socialized economies do not guarantee an equitable distribution of education. In countries such as Germany, France and Belgium, the parents' socio-economic background has a much greater impact on the student's performance than in capitalist America”, as the WSJ comments on PISA 2003.

Nicolas, this shows the “democratisation of education” has failed. It might have made things worse, when one thinks of the middle class French family that cannot let their children go to a GOOD university, because they have to pay taxes for the worthless bad universities.

7. Abolish all tariffs

Less tariffs means more competition on your market. This drives prices down, and that is good for customers. Just imagine we would forbid or hamper Samsung, Microsoft and Nike to enter our markets? It would make Nokia, Siemens and Adidas more expensive and less qualitative. Well, let’s welcome Chinese cars, Brasilian corn and skilled third world people (through green cards).

8. Integrate Foreigners and poor people by eliminating the welfare state

Integrate foreigners and poor people in the economy by scrapping all incentives that keep them into unemployment: lower taxes, abolish regulation, reduce social housing (privatise those GDR flats) , reduce child allowances, … If you think they will all fall into despair, well, keep a minimum social safety net. Reality will prove they won’t need it. They want to work, but the system prevents them to.

9. Keep your hands off Trichet!

Nicolas, don’t touch Jean-Claude and his euro. We don’t trust Jean-Claude of governing our money with his “one size fits none” - interest rate, but we certainly don’t trust you. Anyway, Nicolas, the Germans were maybe so foolish to let their currency be replaced by a euro and ECB that resembles the Bundesbank, they will definitely not let you touch the euro. I know you want to print euros, but that’s not how it works. Anyway, if you would propose that governments accept private money for payments to the government, we would all be on your side.

10. Make institutional change happen, but decentralise, not centralise

Nicolas, France has great people, food and culture, but its State is only something that humanity should be ashamed of. However, let’s not start complaining about the past but rather look to a confident future. A future where France will be split up, in order to be replaced by a web of privatised gated communities, a future where the European Union becomes not a superstate with super bureaucrats, but a treaty negotiating platform where free trade treaties are being negotiated among governments, companies and individuals. You can start with all that, allowing gated communities, decentralising the French state and its health care systems, making Corsica, Bretagne, Pays Basque and Flandre independent and stopping the European superstate.

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