Saturday, April 21, 2012

About The French Presidential Election

France, the world's fifth biggest economy (after the United States, China, Japan and Germany) is having the first round in its presidential election this weekend.

 I am not familiar with all the presidential candidates from smaller parties, so there might be someone among them that is worth rooting for or actively supporting and voting for if you live in France, but even if there is someone good there they unfortunately have almost no chance of getting to the second round.

Of those with any chance of making it to the second round, they all stink, to be blunt. We have a far-left trotskyite by the name of Jean-Luc Mélenchon who advocates a 100% tax on incomes above €360,000 per year (among other loony extreme left-wing policies), we have the semi-fascist Marine Le Pen, we have the socialist Francois Hollande who rejects spending cuts and advocates increases in France's already high marginal tax rates and then there's the incumbent Nicholas Sarkozy who has joined in on his rival's calls for increased protectionism, higher taxes and more regulation.

Of these, Sarkozy is clearly the lesser evil, since he is more moderate than the others in his calls for higher taxes and more regulation and since he has actually implemented (and is more likely to favor more) some badly needed spending cuts.

Some free market advocates still argue that we should root for Hollande because both candidates stink, and it is better that the openly socialist candidate win because then the terrible results will be associated with socialism.

The problem with that view is that first of all, given the fragile state of the European economy, a 5 year meltdown in the continent's second biggest economy is the last thing we need. And there is certainly no guarantee that the general consensus in France will be that Hollande's failure was because he was too socialist. It is in fact even more likely that the conclusion will be that the even more consistent socialist Mélenchon should have been elected or that Le Pen should have been elected.

And then there's the fact that Hollande was just endorsed by Paul Krugman....