Oh, those conservative … French?
posted at 5:42 pm on September 18, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
Remember when we used to laugh up our sleeves at our friends in France — those licentious, tax-happy, surrender prone French? Nowadays the French seem more eager than ever to engage in military intervention — they managed to rescue Mali from an al-Qaeda takeover this winter, after nearly allowing it through the disastrous US/UK/French intervention in Libya. Suddenly, they’re not as fond of taxes as they used to be, either, according to the Financial Times:
When François Hollande came to power last year, his most famous election promise was to impose a 75 per cent tax rate on those earning more than €1m a year. Now France’s socialist president has acknowledged that the country is hitting the tax buffers.
In a television interview this week, he noted that both his and the previous centre-right government had raised taxes in total by €60bn since 2011, equivalent to about 3 per cent of national income. “That’s a lot – that’s to say, too much,” he said.
Mr Hollande has promised a “tax pause”, backing up his finance minister, Pierre Moscovici, who last month triggered a political tremor when he said he was “very conscious that the French are fed up with taxes”.
French business leaders have been clamouring for relief from a relentless increase in the tax burden, which government projections show will rise to 46.5 per cent of gross domestic product next year, one of the highest levels among developed economies. Recent polls have indicated the French public increasingly feels much the same.
Well, at least they’re still anything-goes libertines on sexuality. Oh, wait …
Child beauty pageants may soon be banned in France, after a surprise vote in the French Senate that rattled the pageant industry and raised questions about how the French relate to girls’ sexuality.
Such contests, and the made-up, dolled-up beauty queens they produce, have the power to both fascinate and repulse, and have drawn criticism in several countries. France, with its controlling traditions, appears to be out front in pushing an outright ban.
French legislators stopped short of approving a measure banning anyone under 16 from modeling products meant for grown-ups — a sensitive subject in a country renowned for its fashion and cosmetics industries, and about to host Paris Fashion Week.
The proposed children’s pageant amendment sprouted from a debate on a women’s rights law. The legislation, approved by a vote of 197-146, must go to the lower house of parliament for further debate and another vote.
Its language is brief but sweeping: “Organizing beauty competitions for children under 16 is banned.” Violators — who could include parents, or contest organizers, or anyone who “encourages or tolerates children’s access to these competitions” — would face up to two years in prison and 30,000 euros ($40,000) in fines.
When did the French become more stodgy and conservative than Americans?
Addendum: I intensely dislike beauty pageants for girls, because of the very inappropriate sexualization to which the French also object. I don’t agree that it should be a crime, but hopefully so socially repulsive that it forces parents to reconsider putting their daughters through that kind of meat grinder. Adult women who want to enter these contests make their own choices.