While certain other European countries continue to reel from the effects of their spending-happy policies (Spain, Italy, Greece, etcetera — I’m looking at you), France decided to just throw caution to the wind on Sunday, declaring loudly and proudly: “No austerity for us, thanks.”
In the May presidential election, France voted out “right-winger” Nicolas Sarkozy and voted in socialist Francois Hollande. He promised tax hikes and job creation, and asked French voters to provide him a majority in parliament so he could guide them through the eurozone crisis — and did they ever.
Sunday’s parliamentary run-off saw the Socialists — who already dominate the upper house Senate — win 314 of the Assembly’s 577 seats, enough to form a majority without the complication of support from the Greens or far left.
“Forty days after giving the keys to the Elysee to Francois Hollande for five years, the French people have given him all the means to exercise power,” business newspaper Les Echos wrote on Monday.
Left-leaning newspaper Liberation hailed the result as an “impressive wave” of support for the Socialists, saying they would enjoy a “hypermajority” in parliament.
The right-wing UMP party of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, whom Hollande defeated in last month’s presidential vote, and its allies were reduced to only 229 seats after dominating parliament for the last five years. …
The result will strengthen Hollande’s hand as he faces off with eurozone paymaster Germany in his effort to shift the bloc’s economic focus from fiscal austerity to growth.
Ahh, yes, because as we can all so clearly see, higher taxes always encourage economic growth and more government spending is a great way to pay off the debt. …Or something.
Although Greece’s elections were much in the news on Sunday because of their severely imminent debt crisis, Greece has a relatively tiny economy — whereas France is running the euro’s second-largest economy. Their fiscal future, along with the deepening worries over the troubles in Spain’s fourth-largest euro economy, will be much more dire to the fate of the euro than Greece’s. This resounding choice to reject austerity does not bode well.