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Hollande offers tax hikes and 35-hour week to promote growth

By Larry Clifton     Apr 28, 2012 in Politics
Socialist Francois Hollande, who is running for president of France, said Saturday that he expects a wave of lay-offs if he is elected.
However, Hollande is blaming the future mass layoffs that he predicts on his opponent, incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Hollande is warning business leaders that “he would not stand by” while workers were turned to the streets, according to a Reuters report published Saturday.
Admitting that companies would cut jobs and unemployment would rise after his election, Hollande blamed the entire affair on Sarkozy in advance, claiming the French President avoids talking about the coming industrial downturn and uptick in unemployment.
"We must tell these companies that we will not accept this without reacting," Hollande is quoted in the Reuters piece.
Hollande edged out Sarkozy by less than a percentage point in the first round of voting. The two will face each other in a run-off election May 6.
National Front leader Marine Le Pen finishing third with 18 percent, the far-right party's best ever showing at a national election. Sarkozy hopes to capture enough of her supporters to win in May.
Thursday, reports confirmed the jobless rate in France rose to nearly 3 million, the highest level since late in 1999.
For his part, Hollande campaigned to renegotiate a German-inspired EU budget discipline pact, betting on growth, even though he intends to raise taxes significantly on businesses and high-earners, many who employ individuals. Many analysts say Hollande’s election would put any European economic recovery in peril and others believe Hollande’s tax hikes will deter economic growth instead of stoking the economy.
Publically, Berlin has played down any threat Hollande presents to an EU economic recovery and instead emphasizes the need for an EU strategy to promote economic growth and jobs in the face of rising opposition to austerity within Europe.
Hollande also blamed Sarkozy for being too tough on immigration, claiming the president “fostered the far-right, which flourished in high unemployment areas.”
"The left's real responsibility is not convincing ordinary voters - workers, employees, rural people, even the young - that it was useful to vote for us," said Hollande. "It is to these voters who feel down trodden, who have suffered a lot in the crisis, that I must appeal as a candidate and as president," Hollande told Le Parisien newspaper in an interview.
Hollande plans to tax income over one million Euros at a whopping 75 percent and significantly increase taxes on large corporations including banks, which some say would stunt economic growth. He also told the Le Parisien he would propose an increase in France's minimum wage, already one of the highest minimum wage rates in Europe.
Hollande says he would like to bring back the 35-hour work week and roll back pension cut backs at a time when the whole region and most of the world is attempting to increase productivity and scale back bloated government pension plans. Some analysts claim French, European and global economies would experience economic setbacks under a Hollande administration.
Unemployment in France is at 10 percent and approximately 20 percent of the country’s population are foreign-born immigrants.
More about francois hollande, Nicolas sarkozy, french unemployment