That didn’t take long. The Socialist government of French President Francois Hollande promised tax cuts and spending restraint as a reaction to the first-place finish of Marine LePen’s populist National Front Party in Sunday’s European Parliament elections. Hollande’s Socialists won only 15 percent of the vote, while LePen captured 26 percent and the main conservative party received 21 percent.
“We need more tax cuts . . . there must be, because it (the tax burden) has become unbearable,” Valls told RTL radio on Monday. “Until unemployment falls, until purchasing power rises, until taxes fall, the French won’t believe us.” Elections can be such clarifying events for a government.
Valls promised to make up for tax cuts by pressing forward with $70 billion in government spending cuts.
I have lots of issues with the National Front’s pedigree and positions, but its success in forcing the French government to react tout de suite on economic policy is a sure sign it can have a positive influence.