Earlier this spring, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administrators referred to France and their current Socialist regime as “Europe’s biggest problem child,” criticizing their “highly regulated labour market and highly developed social security system” and pointing out that “French industry is increasingly losing its competitiveness. The relocation of companies abroad continues. Profitability is meagre.”

True, true, and true. On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund yet again lowered their projections for France’s wealth-creation potential and advised them to implement some reforms to amp up their economic competitiveness post-haste:

The IMF said in a report released Tuesday that it expects the economy to shrink 0.2 percent this year, down from a previously expected fall of 0.1 percent. It expects it to grow 0.8 percent in 2014. France’s economy is currently in recession.

The IMF warned that longstanding problems — including falling productivity and profit margins — are becoming more troubling as France’s neighbors make reforms that will boost their competitiveness.

So far, the IMF report said, France has focused largely on raising taxes in their attempts to downshift their deficit spending, and they really ought to incorporate more spending cuts into the mix; that, along with lighting a fire under their economy and fixing their abysmal 11 percent unemployment rate, needs to be their main agenda. President Hollande’s Socialist government has been beating its brains out trying to come up with ways out of the mess, and yet, no matter what they do, they just can’t seem to get the economy moving in a positive direction.

I wonder why that might be. Via the AFP:

France’s culture minister has branded online retailer Amazon a “destroyer” of bookshops…

“Today, everyone has had enough of Amazon, which, by dumping, slashes prices to get a foothold in markets only to raise them once they have established a virtual monopoly,” Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti said.

Filippetti said that she would be examining measures that could curb Amazon’s growth in France by restricting the American giant’s ability to combine offers of free deliveries with discounts of up to five percent on cover prices…

Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg last month also infuriated Yahoo! by placing a series of conditions on its proposed takeover of French video-sharing site Dailymotion, causing the deal to collapse. …

The Paris government has also clashed with Apple and other hi-tech manufacturers over proposals to tax smartphones and tablets to fund French-language creative and artistic projects.

Er, excuse me, but… if “everyone has had enough of Amazon,” why is the online retailer such a threat to bookshops? Could it be because people are voluntarily choosing to save money using an efficient, convenient, and time- and money-saving service offered in the free market? Time and money that said consumers can then put to other, more productive and profitable uses? You know, the kind of thing that grows the economy?!

To summarize: The Socialists are trying to grow their economy, by specifically targeting successful companies people want to do business with penalizing taxes and regulations to “curb their growth,” because they are successful. Let’s have a big round of applause for Socialism, everybody, shall we?