Socialist President Hollande Promises a New Course for France
Socialist Francois Hollande is the least liked President in modern French history. His strategy of rolling back social security cuts and raising taxes has been a disaster for France, which has seen near zero growth and rising unemployment since he took office.
In a speech given on New Year's Eve, Hollande conceded that taxes were too high and declared war on unemployment saying "We need to mobilize everyone to win the battle." Hollande's plan is to reduce "labor taxes on business" in exchange for more hiring. Currently social welfare spending in France is 57 percent of output, which Reuters notes is "12 points more than in neighboring Germany."
In a news conference this week designed to "relaunch" his presidency, Hollande promised to cut payroll taxes. Reuters reports that the shift is being praised as a "social democrat" vision for France. Reuters notes that unlike in Germany where the term social democrat signifies a left-wing party which has separated itself from communism, no such separation ever took place in France. Hollande is generally considered to be a moderate socialist.
Adding to his other public relations troubles, recent news reports claim Hollande has had an affair with a French actress. Hollande is not married but his long term partner Valerie Trierweiler is considered to be France's current first lady.
The following RT report gives a good summary of Hollande's collapse in the polls and recent attempts to reinvent himself.