City Journal Summer 2014

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Summer 2014
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Guy Sorman
An Uncommitted Socialist « Back to Story

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Alena Hromádková May 08, 2012 at 5:47 AM
One fails to understand why the right of the centre parties in the West can not generate leaders of convictions that have been rooted in practical experiences as well as in a reasonable vision of good life. Post-Communists in C/E Europe are in state of hilarity at the moment.Before and after 1989 they plundered human, cultural and economic resources for decades and now again pose as saviours of civilization.
The idea of a "cordon sanitaire" should be reconsidered and the fact of a "new cold war"under the changed economic/financial conditions taken seriously, I believe.
The terrible impoverishment of middle and lower middle class people has usually nothing to do with austerity as well as xenophobia or fear of competition agenda, I can see.Fear of humiliating poverty and the absence of the rule of law became a mass phenomena - many decent commoners do not know how to cope with the arrogant pilliging of the last national assets... Members of European Anglo/American commercial chambers accumulated a lot of knowledge and could contribute to attemps to re-evaluate current legislative or fiscal strategies and their political consequences for the U.S. government.

As you know, Clinton repealed Glass Stegall which fueled the fire of bad paper. It is "bad" regulations, in this case, that caused a financial/housing bubble because they thought no one would walk away from loans made to unqualified buyers for home in red-line (bad) areas. oops! So with easy money to borrow, the high tech bubble in Clinton days after Al Gore invented the Internet :-( we continued the massive boom in housing that fueled lots of business until the inevitable bubble popped, not because of Bush, but because of the problem started with Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act and the crash started on the Clinton period, but was a long time coming over both parties.
So Kenny, how do you stop the parasitic trend? I say one way is that no taxes may be assessed by one group against another groups that excludes them. ie. the poor assess taxes to the rich which excludes the poor. No wonder the current income tax policy was excleded from the Original Constitution. There are masses of tax avoided in the underworld and off-the-books workers who make great money. Only when all have skin in the game is there concern for the rules of the game ie the waste and fraud in government.
France, like other Western countries, has allowed a parasite class to grow too large.

And lets be clear. Government employees are parasitic to the degree that they are 1) over compensated and 2) over staffed.
The financial bubble was caused by a number of factors, particularly the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, and the decision not to regulate OTC financial derivatives. The idea the "overregulation" caused a a financial bubble is laughable. The demands for austerity now are intended to loot the living standards of the populations in Europe and the US, in a desperate attempt to stave off the bankruptcy collapse of the system for another month or two. The solution is to reinstate Glass-Steagall, give the financial system an enema by writing off all the speculative paper, and infuse credit on a grand scale in to the physical economy through major infrastructure projects that will revive basic industries and employ millions of people.
Nick "All Socialism is always bad" gives NO validity to Any socialism is 'anything' including that it is even a little good. Big government = Huge Fraud and Waste. The USA is the prime example as has recently been made more public with GSA. There are many more examples. Less money in government makes fraud and waste less well funded.
Macwhirr-the financial bubble is the result of government's nose in private market business (demanding more loans to the poor in bad sections of town guaranteed by the Gov. -Shame on them!) going back to Carter and added to by Clinton.
"It has NEVER happened that a socialist government has enriched all people... "

If the requirement is that a government must enrich *all* of the people, then surely all forms of government will fail.

We learned through the '50s and '60s that Communism was not monolithic; the same can be said of Socialism and Capitalism.

As far as Socialism is concerned, the Scandinavian countries -- not only oil-flush Norway -- generally do a very good job of enriching their small and rather homogeneous populations without discouraging innovation.

Their "Janteloven" culture is not for me, but my point is that a rational discussion cannot descend to simplistic universals like "All Socialism is always bad".
Austerity, a precondition for growth? Further growth of the financial bubble, perhaps.
Don, how can France be undertaxed, when taxes consume 49% of her GDP? (Source: CIA Factbook, 2011) A French family with one worker and two children pays 43% of its earnings in taxes, when you count employer payments minus family benefits, the highest "tax wedge" in the OECD (Source: OECD) If Frenchmen are undertaxed, then at what rate would they be properly taxed?
Don, "It has never happened in all of human history that a State has enriched the society over which it presides by impoverishing the vast bulk of its population". ??? It has NEVER happened that a socialist government has enriched all people... Only the degrading of all after empty promises to foolish believers with hands out for freebys. The wealth of some people DOES NOT make the masses poor. Those who are poor are due largely due to a lack education/skills, substance abuse, dividing families as in divorce. Interestingly, these are personal choices!
"The new president remains a broadly unknown, untested politician with no clear agenda." Was Obama running over there, too? Déjà vu. No plan, but one can promise (and not follow through) shiny ideals: Being Transparent, Reviewing the Budget Line by Line to find waste and fraud, currect a biased/loop-hole tax code: yada, yada, yada. All play and pay as you go as usual.
"...austerity [is] a precondition for growth."

What data lead you to that conclusion?

Human nature being what it is, I think that the situation is a *lot* more complicated than that categorical statement suggests:

e.g., can it not also be said that austerity is a pre-condition for social upheaval, whether by democratic process in France -- whether we like the out-come or not (16,865,340 French voters did not ) -- or by riots in Greece?
Thomas McGonigle May 07, 2012 at 8:34 AM
Contrary to your writer at least in France there is a range of real political belief while in the US we have--unless there is an incredible change two neo-cons for November arguing about who can ruin more lives, who can more efficiently control the individual...
As the wealthy France, we need to give them a heads-up that our nation will not be following their socialist dictates come 2013. The last thing we need here are more pseudo socialists. Let's get our borders under control.
I would hope your right Mr. Sorman in the notion that Hollande would not be as left wing as my camp hypes, but then again he was campaigning for the second round and he was supposed to move to the center and in the first round he wanted the rich to pay a 75% tax rate and declared himself to be an enemy of finance. It may be early but the parliamentary elections are coming up in a months time, and after that we can see the new president show his true colors.
The only thing I would point out is missing or that you have ignored(?) ...is that the media in France that helped elect Hollande, is putting him forward as Mitterand, and Hollande modeled himself on Mitterand's gestures and mannerisms. I am sorry for France, as I think they'll feel duped soon- in the way you put forward here, but I truly hope to be wrong on that feeling.
Another absurd article from Sorman. It is both false and absurd to say that the present crisis has been caused by thirty years of profligacy. The two chief co-causes have been under taxation and stagnant wages, even reduced wages. And it is wildly crazy to say that 'austerity' (just a dishonest euphemism for poverty)is the road to prosperity. It has never happened in all of human history that a State has enriched the society over which it presides by impoverishing the vast bulk of its population. It is and always has been the case that it is demand that drives an economy, not supply, and certainly not investment, which is always a response to demand/need. Lord Keynes got it right.
haiiiiii.......
Its pretty vicious to so matter of factly call Lyndon LaRouche's movement a "cult." You, who have never investigated what LaRouche, or Mr. Cheminade has to say, ought to consider being more honest, rather than letting popular opinion and simple common agreement among swine be your proof of anything.
Australia balanced its budget for 11 years in a row. It will announce a balanced budged on Tuesday and begin repaying debt.

Not all Western economies suffer unsustainable debt.