Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Socialism in France: economy contracts by largest amount in four years

Here’s the BBC with some bad news for Europe.

Excerpt:

Germany’s economy slowed to “near stagnation” last month, while France’s recorded its biggest contraction for four years, according to a closely watched survey.

The Markit composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which measures both the manufacturing and services sectors, declined to 50.6 in Germany last month, from 53.3 in February.

Any figure above 50 indicates growth.

France’s reading fell to 41.9 points, its worst since March 2009.

For the eurozone as a whole, the index fell to 46.5 from 47.9 in February.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said the latest data painted a gloomy picture.

“The [eurozone] recession is deepening once again as businesses report that they have become increasingly worried about the region’s debt crisis and political instability,” he said.

“The unresolved election in Italy was commonly cited as a key factor clouding the economic outlook in March, and the botched bail-out of Cyprus could well filter through to a further worsening of business sentiment across the region in April.”

Mr Williamson added that the weak showing from Germany “suggests that the only source of bright light in an otherwise gloomy region has once again begun to fade”.

Germany’s index reading was the worst in the country for three months.

The French socialist government has also been rocked by a scandal:

It is hard to think of a worse scandal for the Socialist government in France. As “President Normal” and “Mr Fair”, François Hollande’s whole being and essence was to crack down on tax evasion and financial corruption, making the wealthy pay their share in dragging France out of its economic woes. Riding his scooter, living in his modest flat and taking a salary cut, Hollande had promised that, unlike Nicolas Sarkozy before him, his presidency would be “exemplary”, squeaky clean, and totally just.

But now Jerome Cahuzac, the trusted tax tsar and budget minister who had vigorously led Hollande’s crusade against fraudsters and tax-dodging millionaires, has made a shock confession of his own monumental fraud. With investigators and journalists closing in on the truth, he admitted hiding €600,000 (£509,000) from the taxman in a secret foreign account for 20 years. Not only that; Cahuzac had spent the past four months repeatedly lying on TV and to parliament, where he insisted from the government benches: “I do not have, I have never had, an account abroad, not now, not ever.”

Last year, France decided to elect a socialist prime minister named Francois Hollande, and then the people of France voted to give him a socialist majority in Parliament. And now we are seeing the results of that decision. Hollande’s priorities are things like a 75% income tax rate, hiring 60,000 new unionized teachers, lowering the retirement age back to 60, and massive spending on government-owned housing. It doesn’t look like his plan is working to grow the French economy.

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Hundreds of thousands of citizens protest against same-sex marriage in France

From the Washington Times.

Excerpt:

Holding aloft ancient flags and young children, hundreds of thousands of people converged Sunday on the Eiffel Tower to protest the French president’s plan to legalize gay marriage and thus allow same-sex couples to adopt and conceive children.

The opposition to President Francois Hollande’s plan has underscored divisions among the secular-but-Catholic French, especially more traditional rural areas versus urban enclaves. But while polls show the majority of French still support legalizing gay marriage, that backing gets more lukewarm when children come into play.

The protest march started at three points across Paris, filling boulevards throughout the city as demonstrators walked three miles to the grounds of France’s most recognizable monument. Paris police estimated the crowd at 340,000, making it one of the largest demonstrations in Paris since an education protest in 1984.

“This law is going to lead to a change of civilization that we don’t want,” said Philippe Javaloyes, a literature teacher who was bused in with 300 people from Franche Comte in the far east. “We have nothing against different ways of living, but we think that a child must grow up with a mother and a father.”

Public opposition spearheaded by religious leaders has chipped away at the popularity of Mr. Hollande’s plan in recent months. About 52 percent of French favor legalizing gay marriage, according to a survey released Sunday, down from as high as 65 percent in August.

[…]Harlem Desir, the leader of Mr. Hollande’s Socialist Party, said the protest would not affect the proposal’s progress. The Socialists control parliament, and a vote is expected by the end of January.

“The right to protest is protected in our country, but the Socialists are determined to give the legal right to marry and adopt to all those who love each other,” he said. “This is the first time in decades in our country that the right and the extreme right are coming into the streets together to deny new rights to the French.”

Isn’t interesting that the same political party that loves high tax rates also wants to redefine traditional marriage? Why is that?

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