"So Via La France President Macron! Good luck with your new job. And your open borders. And the terror attacks sure to follow. The France of yesteryear is certainly not the France of today. And I seriously doubt it will be the France of tomorrow."
And there are some who thought we had lousy candidates in our 2016 election. France actually had a worse choice. And not by a little bit, by a lot of bit. But who cares, right? It is only the French. It was somewhat amusing to see a nationalist running against a socialist. Lots of talk about border security, immigration and all that. Very little talk however, about the economy. And to once again quote James Carville, "Its the economy stupid!"
Emmanuel Macron broke this race wide open by winning with over 66% of the vote. This 39 year old newcomer is the youngest President that France has had since Napoleon - that is, if Napoleon had been a President. Anyhow, this young man (barely older than my oldest daughter), married the woman who was his teacher. First his teacher, then his partner, then his wife. Yes, she is old enough to be his mother.
Was it good he won this election? Maybe. Marine Le Pen scared the pants off of many in France and in the west. However for those paying attention, Macron should scare them also. Why? France has a dog of an economy. Mostly because the social programs which suck the life out of any productivity that France has.
France is proud of its social welfare system. It takes up an astonishing 30% of France's GDP. To put that in perspective, the United States spends a boat load of money on government. But lumping in the social programs with defense and whatever else the government consumes, results in only 21% of our GDP (still way too high). That is 9% less in what the French spend just on social programs alone.
Life in France is good - that is, if you are employed. The overall employment rate is stuck at over 10% and the unemployment for youth is over 20%. But who cares? The state will take care of you. If you are working, many retire at 55 with full benefits. I know, I know - you are thinking with these lousy metrics this French economy cannot be sustainable. You are right. It is not.
France fits right in with the other PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain). High social costs, stagnant economy, mounting debt. Many of these southern Euro countries are ticking time bombs of debt and stagnation. They make our economy look absolutely robust. It has been the fear of more than one economist that if one country falls in southern Europe, others will follow.
So Via La France President Macron! Good luck with your new job. And your open borders. And the terror attacks sure to follow. The France of yesteryear is certainly not the France of today. And I seriously doubt it will be the France of tomorrow.