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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Nicolas Sarkozy à grand bruit…

by Patrick Apel-Muller

Sarkozy Causes a Big Fuss...

Translated Saturday 8 November 2008, by Alison Billington

Nicolas Sarkozy is just like one of those players of three-card tricks who make a big fuss to distract the spectator while they have a cup passed from one to the other or shuffle the cards. There he is brandishing tens of thousands, rolling his furious eyes, pointing accusing fingers and establishing his reputation as the lion-tamer of wild capitalism. His latest performance was yesterday, at the foot of the mountains, not far from lake d’Annecy in the department of Haute-Savoie. ‘The ideology of dictating the markets and of public powerlessness died with the financial crisis,’ he claimed. ‘Public powerlessness’, it’s true it lasted a long time…The same man who claimed at the beginning of the year that the coffers were empty and that no increase in salaries could be awarded, has just found extraordinary sums of money to put overwhelmed financiers and bankers in need back on an even keel. ‘Powerlessness’ was a delusion. It’s the political determination to improve the lot and of the populace that is in question. And the ‘adoration of the markets’ should be brought into question more than the ‘dictating of the markets’. It’s the former which bring about the measures presented by the president to the Republic yesterday.

While the recession sets in, and the paid employees are already its victims, Nicolas Sarkozy wants to carry on with the great slump in wages established by the employers and extended to the State by its government. Nothing, not a penny! Abandon hope all ye who live by work alone, without golden parachute or golden hello, without stock options or dividends. The ambitious speculators and predatory funds rise up on your shoulders. So, by announcing the elimination of professional tax [1], the president creates even more hardship for the villages. Certain villages which are very popular are already hit by decreases in shared urban funds [2]
which the government had to suspend as a matter of urgency. It’s at the cost of doing away with social investments and public services (that means the necessities for the greatest number of people) and of the pruning of a budget which enforces, whether he likes it or not, genuine hardship, that the president releases the money he offers to groups of bankers. His investment fund is nothing more than a stock of fuel to start up the financial conflagration again. As for his acrobatic sums for long term investments programmed over the next three years, they won’t even change the course of the flow of money … His reforms that he claims are a universal panacea against recession sport the seal of deregulation, of free enterprise in the extreme which are the causes of the crisis, reforms such as less civil servants, more privatisation, less taxes for the rich and more taxes for the poor, a taxation shield for big fortunes and less social protection for employees, a State humble towards the powerful and arrogant towards the weak.

The speech on political voluntarism was all the more bombastic because it aimed at stopping the debate on the capitalist system that MEDEF (the French movement for French enterprises) wants to stop at all costs. The excitement that Nicolas Sarkozy incontestably demonstrates is not economic but ideological. He isn’t putting out the fires of the recession, he’s trying to snuff out the lanterns that illuminate the causes of the recession, and which make visible its remedies.

[1The taxe professionnelle is a local tax on businesses, which was designed to contribute to budgetary requirements of localities.

[2The dotation de solidarité urbaine, first instituted in 1991, was supposed to create solidarity with respect to financial resources and needs, between the various territorial collectivities.

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