Friday, August 31, 2007

Current Reading

No time to comment right now, but here are a couple of things I have managed to read in my busy stretch before the holiday weekend.

Reforming France's Welfare State by George Will.

and

The Many Enemies Of George Bush by Victor Davis Hanson


Happy Reading.

18 comments:

L'Amerloque said...

Hi LASunsett !


The Will article is interesting. The problem is that he knows absolutely zilch about France. (grin)


He praises Mme Christine Lagarde, the current French finance minister, for example, who clawed her way to the top of Baker & McKenzie in the USA:


//.. A noted antitrust and labour lawyer, Lagarde made history as the first female chairman of the international law firm Baker & McKenzie...//


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_Lagarde


… and now she has been invited back home to apply "American" solutions to "French" problems. She began with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and is now at Finance. (sigh)


She is neither brilliant nor is she an intellectual: she is simply an ex-sports-champion workaholic lawyer with the arrogance of the self-made (or of those who think that they are self-made: she was programmed to succeed by her academic parents: her resume makes that clear to one who understands the French referents). She feels that the French should become just.like.her. She doesn't even appear to know what makes her own countrymen and countrywomen tick, for pity's sake !


What she wants just won't happen, in Amerloque's view. She has already come up with the "idea" of an AMT in France, for example, which should ensure some nice play on the pages of the financial press in October and November. (sigh) (By the way, M Sarkozy and Co were elected to cut taxes, not raise them. Small problem ? (grin))


When reporters in France, who have special tax status, realize that they are in the front lines of any new proposed AMT, a) the debate will heat up exponentially; and b) reporters of the right, left and center will ally to criticize the government unmercifully. In Amerloque's view this might (not "will" – "might") lead to the government's simply backing down on an AMT … time will tell, but since this government has already this summer backed down significantly on the "minimum guaranteed public transport service during a strike" and "autonomy for French universities", both of which were among M Sarkozy's key campaign promises, and since the Constitutional Council has thrown a hugely inconvenient monkey wrench into "deducible mortgage interest for everyone taking out a mortgage loan", another of M Sarkozy's key promises, it wouldn't be much of a surprise. Ca s'annonce mal, as the French say. (rough American equivalent in spirit: "It's a rocky road ahead !")


Allowing people to work more that 35 hours per week is simply not the problem. The problem is that there.are.few.jobs.to.be.had. That's why over 300,000 French people live in London, for example: there are jobs there: many are lousy, ill-paying ones compared to France: but there are jobs. It's also why youths rioted in Paris and the suburbs a few years ago: no jobs.


Mme Lagarde's (and M Sarkozy's) desire to wipe out the 35-hour workweek is simply the prelude to kicking off the race to the bottom, just like what has been happening in the USA over the past ten years or so.


Will has missed the point entirely: the French are simply not Americans. Before they allow their system to be demolished by people such as Mme Lagarde, they will probably take to the streets.


As Amerloque wrote once over on his blog:


// …/… If nothing else, French experience over the past few centuries suggests that in French eyes regimes and constitutions are relatively transient affairs: Absolute Monarchy, Revolution, First Republic, Consulat, First Empire, Restoration of the Bourbon Monarchy, Orleanist Monarchy, Second Republic, Second Napoleonic Empire, Third Republic, (Occupied Vichy Government), Fourth Republic and, today, enfin, the Fifth Republic. Whenever their form of government displeased the French, they went back to the drawing board. …/… //


The political/social pot is already boiling merrily, and it's not even September yet . Interesting times lie ahead. (grin)


Best,
L'Amerloque

Greg said...

Totally agree with lAmerloque to the extent he suggests lawyers make terrible politicians. Not enough lawyers know their place in this world.

Also agree that one country with a problem should never simply adopt another country's solution to that problem, no matter how success the other country was. It just never works that way.

But does lAmerloque suggest that the 35-hour week was a helpful solution to rampant unemployment? "Sharing the work" seemed like a silly approach from the beginning, and it certainly hasn't lowered the unemployment levels.

I'll end with agreeing, once again: George Will (and most conservatives I think) definitely don't know much about France or any other foreign country. It's only recently they realized there are places outside the US where people live well. :)

Greg said...

Love the article by VDH (love all of 'em really). I can imagine the hard left's response to this article (and all others by him): "but but but, he's an idiot neo-con ergo always wrong." They are the worst debaters on earth, except the jihadis they are increasingly alligned with.

LASunsett said...

Hi Amerloque,

Nothing like a George Will column on France to flush you out of lurkerdom.
Now tell us, how do you REALLY feel?

;)

LASunsett said...

Greg,

//Also agree that one country with a problem should never simply adopt another country's solution to that problem, no matter how success the other country was.//

That's why I think it's foolish for people to think that another healthcare system can work efficiently here. We already know how inefficient some of the others are. Even with the high marks the French (and others) give the French system, it just won't work here.

It's kind of hard to ask a doctor in the US to work for what they work for in France, when they have enormous student loans and high malpractice insurance premiums to pay.

And if that's not enough, we all know how I feel about the federal government running much of anything, to start with. ;)

Rocket said...

Amerloque,

Nice post as usual. However

I wouldn't say that he knows nothing about France, I would be more inclined to say that several of his claims are erroneous such as the 40% tax cap. In reality the law known as the "pacquet fiscal" says 50%

http://tinyurl.com/2cdcn8

In fact he generalizes for his own reading public, thus his opinions on the overall perspective that he may have of France, for someone like you or I who have been in France for “belle lurette” may seem like oversimplification.

“She has already come up with the "idea" of an AMT in France,”

It’s about time!
Also note that about 50% of salaried French people do not pay taxes. How does that mesh with the French idea of solidarity? In my view, the new project on “Impot plancher” is a good idea even if it means 50€ a year That’s two Ricards less per month. Not a big sacrifice.

http://www.saphirnews.com/-Impot-plancher-_a7471.html (in French)


"… and now she has been invited back home to apply "American" solutions to "French" problems. She began with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and is now at Finance. (sigh)"

I totally agree with you about the notion of American solution (or the belief as such) to French problems. There all too often exists a certain miscomprehension in the American press as to origins of economic expediency and their application which often translates into what you and I may consider to be excessive Star Spangled banner waving by some members of the American press corps and political commentators which have been generated by a "certain misconception" of French politics vis à vis changes within the economic system of France . In all truth, what we cannot deny is the fact that a great number of changes that Sarkozy is trying to make have already been applied in America and through political correctness have never been attempted in France. We all know the saying “ Ca ne pourrait pas marcher en France” (It could never work in France) The difference in political rhetoric this time around with Sarkozy, is that he seems to be saying for the moment. “Let’s give it a chance.” The fundamental difference between our two systems lies in the fact that in spite of the "trickle down" (see speech at Medef Université d'été yesterday) which Sarkozy seems to be leaning towards, he remains an interventionist.

http://tinyurl.com/2cyqne (In French)

You said

She is neither brilliant nor is she an intellectual: she is simply an ex-sports-champion workaholic lawyer with the arrogance of the self-made (or of those who think that they are self-made: she was programmed to succeed by her academic parents: her resume makes that clear to one who understands the French referents). She feels that the French should become just.like.her. She doesn't even appear to know what makes her own countrymen and countrywomen tick, for pity's sake !

What constitutes brilliance in your opinion and does any politician know what makes their onstituencies tick?

“Allowing people to work more that 35 hours per week is simply not the problem. The problem is that there.are.few.jobs.to.be.had. That's why over 300,000 French people live in London, for example: there are jobs there: many are lousy, ill-paying ones compared to France: but there are jobs. It's also why youths rioted in Paris and the suburbs a few years ago: no jobs.”

You’re right. The problem IS the 35 hour work week and the high social charges generated by a wasteful system in place for the last 30 years. Many jobs in France are also lousy and ill paying also.

http://www.journaldunet.com/management/repere/smic.shtml

« A 1.570 euros, le Luxembourg est le pays de l'UE où le salaire minimum légal est le plus élevé. La France compte, quant à elle, le plus fort pourcentage de Smicards. » (sigh)

“Will has missed the point entirely: the French are simply not Americans. Before they allow their system to be demolished by people such as Mme Lagarde, they will probably take to the streets.”

Not so sure that I agree with you on this one. There is a silent majority out there that gets no airtime in France. It’s a wait and see but there will definitely be protests. To what degree we don’t know yet.

“Mme Lagarde's (and M Sarkozy's) desire to wipe out the 35-hour workweek is simply the prelude to kicking off the race to the bottom, just like what has been happening in the USA over the past ten years or so.”

You know she cannot wipe out the 35 hour workweek and she knows it to. It’s one of those French “acquis”. What she can do is loosen its stranglehold and open up the stores on Sundays.

As per race to the bottom, I think that the USA has created much wealth over the past 10 years however housing prices are a mess. Much too high for plywood and tarpaper roofs.

Greg

“But does lAmerloque suggest that the 35-hour week was a helpful solution to rampant unemployment? "Sharing the work" seemed like a silly approach from the beginning, and it certainly hasn't lowered the unemployment levels.”

Nobody shared the work in France at the implementation of 35 hours. I worked in enough HR departments to know at that time that the major companies had no desire to create jobs on the scale hoped for. The 35 hour week was a gift by the Socialists to the blue collar workers in order to buy votes. It was supposed to give more leisure time, but since overtime was limited, people had no money to spend on leisure and a lot of the working class sat home on days off. They implemented RTT days which is known as work reduction days off as the workweek did not always fall to 35 hours but the hours above 35 were compensated by days off. Management on the other hand works a total number of days annually and their daily workday is not regulated time wise.


In closing

“She doesn't even appear to know what makes her own countrymen and countrywomen tick, for pity's sake !”

Does anybody know what makes the French tick? (wink)

Rocket said...

I find the following interesting

I heard the news today oh boy!

http://tinyurl.com/2be4ye

In an interview on BFM , the French business information radio and television channel, Jacques Attali, a contributor to this newspaper, launches into a “peu glorieux” snapshot of the current economic woes of France. He accuses France of not having enough reasons to be happy. France is sad, France is afraid. He then goes on to use an old adage first coined by a well known television commentator in France in 1976 after the murder of a child, when he opened his newscast with “ La france a peur” Incidentally Mr. Attali, a socialist by conviction, has been chosen by the Right leaning Sarkozy government to head The Attali commission, to recommend what steps should be taken to lift France's structurally disposed anemic economic growth rate which is lagging and should struggle to reach 2% this year.


Yet in the IHT of April 19 of this year, not more than 4 months ago, this same Mr. Attali launched into an absolutely scathing, us against them, politically motivated diatribe on how the world was jealous of France.

http://tinyurl.com/yumheo

Particularly singled out were the British with certainly an insinuation or two to be heeded by the Americans, lest I say the rest of the world.

Comments in that emotionally charged article such as

“The truth is very different. The fact is, the rest of the world is jealous of France.” and “If France is an exception, it is happy to be one” and others which are available in the article have now been conveniently replaced in his latest comments in the French media by, “France is sad, France is afraid, France has no reason to be happy.” What a difference 4 months and a lost election makes. It seems as if the Rooster, incidentally the symbol of France, is not crowing so loud now.

Mr. Attali should write a new article and call it “ You’re all Just Jealous. The Sequel”

So which is it Mr. Attali? Are we jealous of a system that is faltering and needs rebuilding or do we simply admire the geographical and architectural beauty of France, one country amongst many who share these same attributes.

L'Amerloque said...

Hi LASunsett !


/*/ …/… Nothing like a George Will column on France to flush you out of lurkerdom.
Now tell us, how do you REALLY feel? …/… /*/


Weeelllll … he's a bit too parochial for Amerloque … (grin)


/*/ …/… It's kind of hard to ask a doctor in the US to work for what they work for in France, when they have enormous student loans and high malpractice insurance premiums to pay…./… /*/


Spot on.


What is absolutely and totally flabbergasting to Amerloque is that the French policymakers – of whatever stripe – don't appear to see the connection between a) imposing tuition on French university students (à l'americaine), which could lead in the end to truly heavy student loans and abuses on all sides and b) the fact that there are already not enough doctors graduating and going into practice. The authorized number of enrolments in French medical schools (le numerus clausus) in second year was raised recently, though, so perhaps all hope may not be lost. (sigh)


Best,
L'Amerloque

L'Amerloque said...

Hi Greg !


/*/ …/… Totally agree with lAmerloque to the extent he suggests lawyers make terrible politicians. Not enough lawyers know their place in this world. …/… /*/


Teachers and professors in France, in Amerloque's view, make terrible politicians, too: they're the ones who came up with the 35-hour work week: the press was saying back then that something like 60% of the National Assembly were fonctionnaires (civil servants) and that more than half of them were dans l'enseignement(in the teaching professions), if Amerloque remembers correctly. (grin)


/*/ …/… But does lAmerloque suggest that the 35-hour week was a helpful solution to rampant unemployment? "Sharing the work" seemed like a silly approach from the beginning, and it certainly hasn't lowered the unemployment levels. …/… /*/


Back then there were two schools of thinking: a) share the "work pie/cake" (gateau du travail) because the pie is limited - hence reduce the weekly worktime for everyone; or b) increase the "work pie/cake" by creating a more dynamic economy – more jobs and suchlike, more taxes paid, et al. The argument was framed in that fashion (the "all a" or "all b" solutions; the "take it or leave it" school of thought) because "the French" are always looking for the solution globale (i.e., the "overall solution) to a given problem. In the US it's called the "magic bullet". (grin) Greg and Amerloque – as well as millions of people around the world – know fully well that a) an "overall solution" to anything is deuced difficult to find in the very, very best of cases and b) the real economic world simply doesn't work like that. (grin)


Many of the people who came up with the 35-hour workweek law had never worked in a "genuine" job in their lives: they were fonctionnaires détachés (volontarily unassigned civil servants) who took leaves of absence to beome involved in politics. These people, when things go wrong, "reintegrate their original functions" with no loss of seniority, and so on. They didn't know much about economy, so sharing the "work pie" seemed to be a quite logical "solution globale" to the country's unemployment problems, which had already lasted a number of years.


Of course it didn't turn out to be the case, as Greg so correctly points out. (For them, the numbers added up, but unemployment didn't disappear.)


Amerloque feels that the 35-hour workweek was not necessarily a "silly approach": what was "silly" was applying it straight across the board, to all "workers". It should have been accompanied by other measures, since by definition "time worked" is only one of the parameters in how a job (and a fortiori the worker doing the job !) is evaluated / estimated. "Service rendered" is another:: for example, in the case of fonctionnaires(civil servants) or assimilés fonctionnaires (people in civil servant-like occupations) (grin) "Overall value added / job accomplished" is another: furnishing the job turnkey is the future in many, many sectors of the economy … look at all those boilerplate-writing Indian attorneys in India … (grin) …


In Amerloque's view, thinking that "time worked" is the –only- way to measure job performance and worker commitment is one of the major reasons that the French economy can't really take off (by "take off" Amerloque means "create a lot of new jobs"). The problem is that the vast majority of social charges paid by employees and employers to finance the social / welfare / healthcare / retirement systems (or safety net) are all based on … "time worked". As long as the social net is linked so closely to "time worked" … the unemployment problems will persist, since no one wants to destroy the best parts of the social safety net … sure, everyone is born with 24 hours per day in their lives (égalité !), but that doesn't necessarily mean, at least in Amerloque's view, that it should remain the only valid measure of work furnished during one's "working career".


There has to be more creative thinking on this in the higher reaches of the French government. (yes, there is a whole department of RG people monitoring the web … especially sites about France … ) …


Alas, nothing proposed to date by M Sarkozy and Mme Lagarde leads Amerloque to believe that things will change radically. It's looking to be a bit like "business as usual", at least from Amerloque's den …


Best,
L'Amerloque

L'Amerloque said...

Hi Rocket !


/*/ …/… “She has already come up with the "idea" of an AMT in France,”


It’s about time!


Also note that about 50% of salaried French people do not pay taxes. How does that mesh with the French idea of solidarity? In my view, the new project on “Impot plancher” is a good idea even if it means 50€ a year That’s two Ricards less per month. Not a big sacrifice. …/… /*/


Yes, there are days when Amerloque feels that the 50% of French tax filers who legally don't pay any taxes (because they "don't make enough money") should be paying taxes, too. (sigh, then grin)


The solidarity comes from "those who have shall give, while those who do not have shall receive". Back when the world was a far, far, far simpler place, the system was basically OK. Things have changed. Amerloque doesn't really mind paying taxes if he receives value for money, and throughout the 1960s and 1970s this was true. From 1981 and the Mitterand years, this has been far less true, and things are really bad all 'round, taxwise …


Mme Lagarde specifically stated that the French version of the AMT is directed at the 300 or so "tax niches" (professions – such as journalists, and pipemakers in certain parts of France, for example) entitled to special tax deductions) and not at the French "worker", so perhaps Rocket (and Amerloque) are being too quick off the mark on this one (grin). What the country doesn't need is another tax for working people (both French and legal foreigners) to pay, for pity's sake !


Ameloque feels that all regular remittances sent by foreign immigrant workers (of whatever nationality) in France to their families in the "back in the home countries" should be taxed upon sending: say at the normal French TVA rate of 19.6%. There is absolutely no reason for this money earned in France not to be spent in France, circulate through the French economy, and contribute to the GNP. It is simple economic common sense, as well as good economic policy. If the people earning the money don't want to spend it in the country which provides them with work, shelter, education and social services, then they should be taxed if they prefer to deprive the country of it. Period. (One can hear the screams of the politically-correct already…)


/*/ …/… through political correctness have never been attempted in France. We all know the saying Ca ne pourrait pas marcher en France” (It could never work in France) …/… /*/


Ummm … the reason Amerloque says it is because the context is quite different. (grin) Ya can't make coq qu vin with an ox. (grin)


/*/ …/… The difference in political rhetoric this time around with Sarkozy, is that he seems to be saying for the moment. “Let’s give it a chance.”…/… /*/


Ummmm … the big problem that Amerloque has with this (outside of the "context" above) is that he feels the French society is far more finely tuned than in the USA. It's a much smaller place, with a very, very centralized system. A very simple change in one part of the system can (not "will": "can") have quick repercussions throughout the whole system. One has only to look at the criminal justice system, for example: hardly able to keep its head above water. A major problem is finding the right change: the persistence of unemployment is testimony to the fact that finding that right change is indeed difficult !


Amerloque feels that "giving it a chance", while an honorable way of proceeding, might not be the best one since a) there are plenty of laws and decrees on the books which have simply not been enforced (so why add new stuff anyway ? perhaps simply enforcing the laws and following procedures in place can be sufficent …) and b) there is a good chance that an economic variation of Edward Lorenz's "butterfly effect" . (Lorenz: http://tinyurl.com/35rmnu butterfly effect: http://tinyurl.com/4o4w5) might come to pass, because of the fine-tuning of French society, justement.


Amerloque believes firmly that when the so-called "law of unintended consequences" comes into play, the cure can be worse than the illness ….


/*/ /…/… What constitutes brilliance in your opinion ../… /*/


Basing one's lifetime performance on factors additional to those learnt in the educational system, as well as not minimizing people who have succeeded in spite of the system. (grin)


Putting down "intellectuals" as she recently did means (at least to Amerloque) simple disdain for original, out-of-the-box thinking: exactly what she appears to be uncomfortable with, based on her past performance


/*/ …/… and does any politician know what makes their onstituencies tick? …/… /*/


(grin) Back to Socrates and Plato, eh ? (grin)


/*/…/… Does anybody know what makes the French tick? (wink) …/… /*/


Backatcha ! (grin)


/*/…/… The fundamental difference between our two systems lies in the fact that in spite of the "trickle down" (see speech at Medef Université d'été yesterday) which Sarkozy seems to be leaning towards, he remains an interventionist…./… /*/


Amerloque agrees absolutely of it's rephrased "One fundamental difference …" (grin)


Best,
L'Amerloque

Rocket said...

Hi Amerloque

Here comes the politically correct.

"Amerloque(I corrected your spelling mistake in your name NDLR) feels that all regular remittances sent by foreign immigrant workers (of whatever nationality) in France to their families in the "back in the home countries" should be taxed upon sending: say at the normal French TVA rate of 19.6%. There is absolutely no reason for this money earned in France not to be spent in France, circulate through the French economy, and contribute to the GNP. It is simple economic common sense, as well as good economic policy. If the people earning the money don't want to spend it in the country which provides them with work, shelter, education and social services, then they should be taxed if they prefer to deprive the country of it. Period. (One can hear the screams of the politically-correct already…)"

I totally disagree and it is an impossibility since the abolition of forex controls. Thank God!

You speak of "the country which provides them with work, shelter, education and social services"

What about the labor that these people supply to the guest country which contributes to it's economic health? Especially when the citizens of the home country don't want to do this kind of work.

If you penalize the foreign worker who sends money home, you penalize not only the economy of the home country but also the family of the immigrant worker who stayed behind. Ex Magreb. You also give the worker no possibility to ever return home at the end of their working lives and they become then dependent on all of the social benefits etc in the work country long after their working lifetime. (C'est cher non?)

If I ever wanted to return home, I would have to pay almost 20% penalty to do it.

Please remember that there are also immigrant workers expats (Americans, Japanese etc) on shorter visas and even on 10 year visas who are here working for a foreign company and then will return home. You cannot tell these people they can't take their money with them without paying a high tax on it.

I think Amerloque needs to go beyond the idea that the foreign worker in France is fundamentally from economically underpriviledged countries.

This also means that I could no longer go visit my mother in America because I would be spending money earned in France without paying a 19.6% penalty. Nor could any other foreigner living in France (including you) travel to their home country without paying a special tax if you have the intention of spending money.

A remittance is a remittance by any other name.

Nor could you buy anything from another country without paying this tax.

Entire economies would simply vanish.

We're in the global world now

Also as per equality standpoint, you can't penalize one group of people against another. By that I mean you can't tax remittances to family but not equity purchases in another country. It's movement of forex also.

You just can't redefine forex controls to benefit one group and penalize another. It's anti -democratic and I'll leave it at that.

The entire system would break down and retaliation would take place.

Money would be flowing out of France like in 1981

Also please remember that 40% of companies listed on the CAC 40 are owned by American Pension funds.

So it works both ways.

I liked your remarks about the 35 hours but I don't have time to give my impressions about the effects of taxation. Maybe later

Rocket said...

Amerloque

...throughout the 1960s and 1970s this was true. From 1981 and the Mitterand years, this has been far less true, and things are really bad all 'round, tax wise …

I came in 77 so I've always been used to taxpayer waste. Don't know about 60 and early 70's except from the Super 8's my father brought back when he worked here.

Also as a child I enjoyed, from behind the safety of a locked bathroom door,looking at the "Big Red Velvet" covered picture book that he brought back from the Folies Bergère.

Even then I knew this country was for me.

L'Amerloque said...

Hi Rocket !


/*/ …/… Here comes the politically correct.


"Amerloque(I corrected your spelling mistake in your name NDLR) feels that all regular remittances sent by foreign immigrant workers (of whatever nationality) in France to their families in the "back in the home countries" should be taxed upon sending: say at the normal French TVA rate of 19.6%. There is absolutely no reason for this money earned in France not to be spent in France, circulate through the French economy, and contribute to the GNP. It is simple economic common sense, as well as good economic policy. If the people earning the money don't want to spend it in the country which provides them with work, shelter, education and social services, then they should be taxed if they prefer to deprive the country of it. Period. (One can hear the screams of the politically-correct already…)" /*/


(grin) Amerloque was on a PC with no spellchecker – many thanks !


/*/ What about the labor that these people supply to the guest country which contributes to it's economic health? /*/


They are being paid for their labor. Poorly paid … but paid !


/*/ …/… Especially when the citizens of the home country don't want to do this kind of work. /*/


The argument – with all due respect – is turning out to be a crock, both in the USA and in France.


More and more it is being seen that American / French workers would do the jobs … if the salaries were decent. Basically the reason that "nationals don't want to do the jobs" is that the "work" is quite badly paid. If the work were paid at its rightful due …


It's in the overall interest of "employers" to drive wages/salaries down. By calling on "immigrant labor" (many of whom are perfectly happy to work for a pittance (issue #1) and export the money freely (issue #2)) to do the job, the employers involved drive down wages/salaries all across the board, including those of nationals of the country involved. Not only is less money being spent on wages/salaries – and hence less money is being spent in the surrounding economic environment / fabric – but significant portions of the money that _is_ being paid … are being _shipped out of the country_ !


It's a double whammy.


/*/ …/… If you penalize the foreign worker who sends money home, you penalize not only the economy of the home country but also the family of the immigrant worker who stayed behind. …/… /*/


Life is not fair. (sigh) Why should Amerloque and his wife and kids be penalized so that an "immigrant worker's family" can benefit ? It works against the immigrant worker, his family and his country in the long run, too: how can they be expected to construct a decent, vibrant, sustainable economy based on remittances, for pity's sake ?


/*/ …/… Ex Magreb. You also give the worker no possibility to ever return home at the end of their working lives and they become then dependent on all of the social benefits etc in the work country long after their working lifetime. (C'est cher non?) …/… /*/


Of course they will return home – the validity of their working papers comes to an end. That's part of the deal: they come and work for a limited amount of time. Finished, the endless visas. They can send _all_ their money home if they want … but 19.6% will be the going tax, first. It's part of the price they must pay for the privilege of working in France (or, why not, in the USA …).


If they want to become citizens, why not ? Fine by Amerloque. (No TVA on citizens' monies. However, country quotas for citizenship, as it used to be ? Vast program, as the French say… (grin)).


Countries do this every day (revoke working papers): undoubtedly Rocket will remember Switzerland, which cancelled overnight the visas/papers of something like 300,000 foreign workers in the 1970s. What about Singapore, for example: haven't they done the same thing ?


/*/ If I ever wanted to return home, I would have to pay almost 20% penalty to do it. /*/


Well, no: Amerloque quite specifically said:

// …/… .Amerloque feels that all regular remittances sent by foreign immigrant workers (of whatever nationality) in France to their families in the "back in the home countries" should be taxed upon sending: …/… //


Amerloque is talking about regular remittances, not simply "taking money out of the country". In certain circumstances, there is already some TVA when bringing in/sending out money, so there should be no problem enforcing it at the banking/postal level. Certainly an escrow account at the local back could be arranged, too.


/*/ …/… Please remember that there are also immigrant workers expats (Americans, Japanese etc) on shorter visas and even on 10 year visas who are here working for a foreign company and then will return home. You cannot tell these people they can't take their money with them without paying a high tax on it. …/… /*/


Au fond, it's simply part of the cost of doing business for a foreign company. Just like education, housing, recreation, regular trips home, whatever. The companies can pay for it. If they don't want to pay for it, fine: they can hire nationals from the country involved. (More and more US firms are apparently doing that anyway, if the US financial press is to be believed …). Amerloque really sees no major problem for the multinational companies or for their employees.


/*/ …/… I think Amerloque needs to go beyond the idea that the foreign worker in France is fundamentally from economically underpriviledged countries. …/… /*/


Oh, he has, never fear. (grin)


/*/ …/… This also means that I could no longer go visit my mother in America because I would be spending money earned in France without paying a 19.6% penalty. Nor could any other foreigner living in France (including you) travel to their home country without paying a special tax if you have the intention of spending money. …/… /*:


?! Amerloque is certainly not remitting any money every month to his American family and he doubts, with all due respect, that Rocket is, either. (grin)


/*/ …/… A remittance is a remittance by any other name. …/… /*/


No, it isn't, in Amerloque's view. There is nothing wrong with exchange controls on remittances, properly applied. They worked quite well for years and years, all over the world. A remittance on a regular basis is one thing. The export of a significant amount of capital for, say, a real estate purchase or a business trip or a vacation, is another.


/*/ …/… Nor could you buy anything from another country without paying this tax. …/… /*/


There are already import taxes / tariffs. One of the most insane things the French ever did recently (in Amerloque's view, at any rate) was to vote for the Maastricht treaty and eliminate import tariffs on goods from other EU countries.


How the hell did they think their social system was being partially financed ? By fairy dust from Tinker Bell's wand ?


With Maastricht, the French voted to commit suicide, but they haven't fully pulled the trigger yet. Yet. Looks like they're leaving that honor to M Sarkozy. (sigh)


/*/ …/… Entire economies would simply vanish. …/… /*/


Yes, well, entire civilizations and peoples have vanished, too, so Amerloque is not going to be bent out of shape by an economy or two vanishing. It's the normal course of human events. If the economy disappears, then that means it might have been in bad shape to begin with.


/*/ …/… We're in the global world now …/… /*/


For another few years, yet, in Amerloque's view, too … (grin)


Once counterfeit medication kills off ten or twenty thousand people in one fell swoop, or when imported contaminated foodstuffs kill a few thousand schoolkids bingo dead one morning (whether in the USA, or France, or any other Western country with a relatively free media), the powers-that-be will have to revise their thinking pronto. The "people" will be screaming.


Ar any rate, Amerloque feels that the Beijing Olympics will signal the beginning of the end for globalization as it is known today … (grin) … there's more to be said as the event approaches …


/*/ …/… Also as per equality standpoint, you can't penalize one group of people against another. By that I mean you can't tax remittances to family but not equity purchases in another country. It's movement of forex also. /*/


Amerloque will repeat what he wrote:

// …/… all regular remittances sent by foreign immigrant workers (of whatever nationality) in France to their families in the "back in the home countries" should be taxed upon sending …/… //


Foreigners, by definition, are not citizens. They do not – nor should they, in Amerloque's view – have the same rights as citizens do.


Ameloque is not looking at it from a strictly forex viewpoint. He is looking at it from a societal viewpoint. There is a big, big difference between a citizen purchasing an asset and an immigrant remitting regular funds to maintain a "family" back home. Economically, morally, ethically, and … fiscally.


/*/ …/… You just can't redefine forex controls to benefit one group and penalize another. It's anti -democratic and I'll leave it at that. …/… /*/


Of course it's democratic if it is looked at from a societal point of view. Again, foreigners, by definition, are not citizens. They do not – nor should they, in Amerloque's view – have the same rights as citizens do.


As to "democracy" … (grin) … There's also the question of "physical persons" and "moral persons". Companies, for example, might have more flexibility with forex than individuals. Another point: don't airline passengers have to declare if they have more than so-and-so dollars in cash ? Or in cash "equivalents" ? (grin) The measure is supposed to "stop the drug trade" … but it's certainly "anti-democratic", isn't it ? Certainly "declaration" is not the same as "taxation" but making all airline passengers "declare" is not the most democratic of notions. (grin) The mind boggles. (grin)


Why should members of a given society (USA, France, Spain, wherever: one "group") have to take a hit in their standards of living (because each unemployed national who collects unemployment insurance is a burden on all the members of society, beginning with him/herself …) and call on "immigrant" workers (foreigners) (the second "group") … who then send huge sums of money back home ?


Why should citizens of a given country have to finance citizens of another country ? Members of the second group (i.e., foreigners) who are not spending the money in the country where they work are making a deliberate choice: to deprive the country they are in of the financial advantages of their creation of wealth by shipping the cash out of the country.


That is their choice … and that's the "anti-democratic" one, in Amerloque's view. (sigh)


If one looks at Rocket's argument closely, it appears that it would be a good idea for immigrants to have complete voting rights in the nation they are working in, since not allowing them to vote is "undemocratic" ("Taxation without representation is treason !") (sigh)


Do note that Amerloque is not against immigration. He is an "immigrant" himself.


He is simply arguing for a 19.6% tax on regular remittances made by legal immigrants back to the home country.


/*/ …/… The entire system would break down and retaliation would take place…./… /*/


The system is beginning to break down ... it looks like some "retaliation" is already taking place. (sigh) The "sovereign fund" investments (or attempted ones) have scared the $hit out of an awful lot of people ! (grin)


/*/ …/… Also please remember that 40% of companies listed on the CAC 40 are owned by American Pension funds. …/… /*./


This doesn't really have much to do with taxing remittances made by foreign immigrant workers. (US pension funds certainly "have ownership interests" in 40% of the firms, but the listed companies are not "owned" outright by them, as far as Amerloque was able to determine from the stats published in the paper some time ago … exact stats would be welcome ...)


Heck, the Paris Stock Exchange belongs to Americans, anyway. (grin)


Best,
L'Amerloque

Rocket said...

Thanks for taking the time to expand your remarks Amerloque but it is Mrs Rocket's birthday today and
we're blasting off to the stars.

Will try to get back to you on each point you brought up somewhere between Venus and Mars.

LASunsett said...

//Will try to get back to you on each point you brought up somewhere between Venus and Mars.//

Wouldn't that be Earth?

;)

Rocket said...

LA

Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. So I'm still somewhere in between.

Later

Rocket said...

Hi Amerloque

Primo! I guess that's the best doable introduction language

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_France

As of 2006, the French national institute of statistics INSEE estimated that 4.9 million foreign-born immigrants live in France (8% of the country's population)

If 4.9 million sent the equivalence of 2,500€/year it comes to 12 250 000 000 € (billion). that's only 200+€/month and many of these third world immigrants live in Foyers ( 300€/month+ food). They can't make less than the SMIC and they eat noodles or couscous.(peu cher!)

If the sum goes up to 5,000€ thats 24 500 000,000 €.

And I won't speak about those who make over 8,000€/month as travailleurs immigés

doublement riche selon F. Holland

As Ben Franklin said.

" A penny saved is a penny earned. This is not a negligeable sum for the home country economy.

"Back in the 1920s and 1930s, when European countries had a high fertility rate, France had a low fertility rate and had to open its doors to immigration to avoid population decline" (wiki)

Morally reprehensible to throw them out and such a change in mentality is definitely not in accordance with the principles of the Republique.

"They are being paid for their labor. Poorly paid … but paid !"

You're only looking at Magreb

/*/ …/… Especially when the citizens of the home country don't want to do this kind of work. /*/

"The argument – with all due respect – is turning out to be a crock, both in the USA and in France. "

Not so sure when you walk around construction sites or check out the sanitation engineers in France. In Spain I have seen a plethora of Spanish doing menial jobs. Not South American (aide à la personne plutôt) but Spanish sanitation engineers. So what's with France.

"More and more it is being seen that American / French workers would do the jobs … if the salaries were decent. Basically the reason that "nationals don't want to do the jobs" is that the "work" is quite badly paid. If the work were paid at its rightful due …"

I was making over $12 an hour in 1971 on Unionized jobs in the US. That's $2028 in 1971. My Former French father in law was making 1200 FF in 1977 when I arrived here. That's $240/month at 5FF/dollar

Doesn't the market determine rightful due?

I think the French are more concerned with becoming public servants (very wide grin)

"Life is not fair. (sigh) Why should Amerloque and his wife and kids be penalized so that an "immigrant worker's family" can benefit ? It works against the immigrant worker, his family and his country in the long run, too: how can they be expected to construct a decent, vibrant, sustainable economy based on remittances, for pity's sake ?"

I don't understand how Amerloque and his family would be penalized. I personally don't feel penalized unless you're taking a cut on foreign earned income from the immigrants (wink)

You say that

"...but significant portions of the money that _is_ being paid … are being _shipped out of the country_ ! "

yet you also say

how can they be expected to construct a decent, vibrant, sustainable economy based on remittances, for pity's sake ?"

so we do agree that it is significant?

"Of course they will return home – the validity of their working papers comes to an end. That's part of the deal: they come and work for a limited amount of time. Finished, the endless visas."

Shame on you!(grin) You too have an endless visa. At least renewable every 10 years and as I just did my last one.

How would you like the French to say to you

Out damn spot!

"If they want to become citizens, why not ? Fine by Amerloque. (No TVA on citizens' monies. However, country quotas for citizenship, as it used to be ? Vast program, as the French say… (grin))."

Ugh. Why am I getting the impression that I'm hearing the paqueboat de St. Cloud speaking? (LA et al! - The pacqueboat is the French National Front headquarters in St. Cloud)

"There are already import taxes / tariffs. One of the most insane things the French ever did recently (in Amerloque's view, at any rate) was to vote for the Maastricht treaty and eliminate import tariffs on goods from other EU countries."

Protectionism kills!

"How the hell did they think their social system was being partially financed ? By fairy dust from Tinker Bell's wand ?"

Yes! and you can blame successive French governments for the last 30 years for this Peter Pan complex

Fortunately you and I didn't vote! (grin)

My opinion of French politicians suite

The Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up, by Dr. Dan Kiley

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Pan_syndrome

/*/ …/… We're in the global world now …/… /*/

And I think it is here to stay.

Yet I share you concern about Russia, China and the influence and ownership they will exercise in the future.

"Once counterfeit medication kills off ten or twenty thousand people in one fell swoop, or when imported contaminated foodstuffs kill a few thousand schoolkids bingo dead one morning (whether in the USA, or France, or any other Western country with a relatively free media), the powers-that-be will have to revise their thinking pronto. The "people" will be screaming."

They weren't screaming in 2003 when 4 days only of above 38° weather killed off 14,802 people in one fell swoop. Liberation even titled

Chirac "C'est la faute des français"

For weather conditions at the time

http://www.wunderground.com/global/stations/07157.html

and scroll to history and almanac

"Ameloque is not looking at it from a strictly forex viewpoint. He is looking at it from a societal viewpoint. There is a big, big difference between a citizen purchasing an asset and an immigrant remitting regular funds to maintain a "family" back home. Economically, morally, ethically, and … fiscally."

An asset is an instrument of speculation. I am shock..ed

Yet the fact that forex controls have been done away with doesn't see it that way which allows the maximum of goods and services to circulate contributing to the overall welfare of developing countries. You seem to have a very Darwinian view of economics.

Survival of the fittest?

"Another point: don't airline passengers have to declare if they have more than so-and-so dollars in cash ? Or in cash "equivalents" ? (grin) "

It's $10,000 and is not taxed, Only declared

"If one looks at Rocket's argument closely, it appears that it would be a good idea for immigrants to have complete voting rights in the nation they are working in, since not allowing them to vote is "undemocratic" ("Taxation without representation is treason !") (sigh)"

I never said that and particularly don't believe in it at the National level. At the local level. Yes!

Interesting info below FYI

http://freeinternetpress.com/story.php?sid=13351

cordialement

L'Amerloque said...

Hi Rocket !


/*/ … Primo! I guess that's the best doable introduction language ../… /*/


Yeah. Ciao is nice, too. (grin)


/*/ ../… As of 2006, the French national institute of statistics INSEE estimated that 4.9 million foreign-born immigrants live in France (8% of the country's population) …/… /*/


The INSEE figures have been highly contested for a number of years now, ever since it was revealed that for a certain period of time children were not counted. So apparently Amerloque's streetsweeper's kids who came to France (all 21 of them, what with polygamy) were not counted. (sigh) This all resurfaces at regular intervals in the press: Le Monde and places like that. There are websites devoted to it. Cellequilit was following all this quite closely: dunno if she still is … (Salut Cellequilit !). It is said that 12/15% of the population are foreign-born immigrants, but no one seems to have the exact total.


/*/…/… If 4.9 million sent the equivalence of 2,500€/year it comes to 12 250 000 000 € (billion). that's only 200+€/month and many of these third world immigrants live in Foyers ( 300€/month+ food). They can't make less than the SMIC and they eat noodles or couscous.(peu cher!) …/… If the sum goes up to 5,000€ thats 24 500 000,000 €. …/…


And if it's 12% of the population shipping money out … by the way, is Rocket aware that under certain circumstances, "allocations familiales("family allowances") can apparently be paid to foreign children living overseas of foreign workers in France, children who have never set foot in France ? (grin)


/*/ …/… And I won't speak about those who make over 8,000€/month as travailleurs immigés …/…/*/


There are some, of course. They all come in throught the OMI anyway, like the vast majority of immigrants.


http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/les-francais-etranger_1296/conseils-aux-familles_3104/adoption-internationale_2605/glossaire_3890/office-migrations-internationales_12571.html


/*/ As Ben Franklin said.
" A penny saved is a penny earned. This is not a negligeable sum for the home country economy./*/


Yet a penny exported is not a penny saved and subsequently spent in goods and services in the country where it was earned, i.e., where the wealth was created originally. While Amerloque admires Ben F. quite a bit, he feels that Ben, in this case, has it quite wrong. (grin)


/*/"Back in the 1920s and 1930s, when European countries had a high fertility rate, France had a low fertility rate and had to open its doors to immigration to avoid population decline" (wiki)/*/


Wiki needs some help on this one. (sigh) The French lost something like a million dead and 2 million wounded in WWI: that's why the "fertility rate" was low. They opened the doors to immigration in certain fields: miners, for example, were recruited wholeheartedly. With the Civil War in Poland/Lithuania and the nascent USSR, the French threw open the doors to their historical allies: the Poles. (grin)


/*/Morally reprehensible to throw them out and such a change in mentality is definitely not in accordance with the principles of the Republique./*/


An excellent point. This is now the Fifth Republic. (grin) Which one was Rocket thinking of ? (wider grin).


/*/ …/… "They are being paid for their labor. Poorly paid … but paid !"
You're only looking at Magreb …/… /*/


Well, no, with all due respect. France is unable to recruit nurses and doctors, for example. Universitities are unable to recruit top quality professors, especially the business schools (this has been a hot topic in the press for the past three years or so). France is having trouble recruiting researchers, too, due to low salaries.


/*/ …/… Especially when the citizens of the home country don't want to do this kind of work. /*/


"The argument – with all due respect – is turning out to be a crock, both in the USA and in France. "


Not so sure when you walk around construction sites or check out the sanitation engineers in France. In Spain I have seen a plethora of Spanish doing menial jobs. Not South American (aide à la personne plutôt) but Spanish sanitation engineers. So what's with France. …/… /*/


Amerloque sees many, many South Americans and Filipinos in Spqin, but not Spanish nationals. Yes, the SAmericans are aides la personne but the financial services/banks have quite a few, too, at least in Amerloque's experience.


/*/ …/… Doesn't the market determine rightful due? …/… /*/


Well … if the market were totally honest, sure.The problem (at least in Amerloque's view) is that the market is simply not honest. As the French say, Les dés sont pipés. ("The dice are loaded"). In favor of the house, as they say out Vegas way … (sigh). So, on balance, Amerloque feels "No, the market does't determine the rightful due, in this case. It can, though, but not necessarily so.


/*/ …/… I think the French are more concerned with becoming public servants (very wide grin)…/…
/*/


At the rate the public sector is being dismantled, there won't be much of one, in ten years. (sigh)
(no grin or wink, sorry). (grin of regret, though)


/*/ …/… "...but significant portions of the money that _is_ being paid … are being _shipped out of the country_ ! "

yet you also say

how can they be expected to construct a decent, vibrant, sustainable economy based on remittances, for pity's sake ?"

so we do agree that it is significant? …/… /*/


Of,course: there are gazillions being shipped out. Remittances can create "wealth", but not necessarily. When the doctors and nurses leave the home country to work in, say, France or the UK, it's a double whammy (another one !) for the home country …


/*/ …/… "Of course they will return home – the validity of their working papers comes to an end. That's part of the deal: they come and work for a limited amount of time. Finished, the endless visas."


Shame on you!(grin) You too have an endless visa. At least renewable every 10 years and as I just did my last one./*/


Amerloque is married to a French national and has French children. A ten-year visa is the norm. (grin)


/*/ …/… "If they want to become citizens, why not ? Fine by Amerloque. (No TVA on citizens' monies. However, country quotas for citizenship, as it used to be ? Vast program, as the French say… (grin))."


Ugh. Why am I getting the impression that I'm hearing the paqueboat de St. Cloud speaking? (LA et al! - The pacqueboat is the French National Front headquarters in St. Cloud)…/… /*/


Well, probably because it's a favorite theme of the FN. (sigh) Amerloque won't be bent outta shape over it, though.


If JMLP (Le Pen) and the FN come out "against" AIDS, should Amerloque come out "for" AIDS ? (Amerloque has been saying the same thing for years – this year M Sarkozy apparently said it, too. (grin)). Some of the FN's stuff is total bee ess … and some is not. People like to put them down as "racists". Undoubtedly some are, while others are simply "nationalists". There is a difference. (sigh)


Anyway, some of Amerloque's opinions are exactly the same as José Bové's, while others like M Sarkozy's, and still others like M Julien Dray's (Socialist spokesman). (grin). He won't be bent out of shape by that, either. (grin)


/*/ …/… /*/ …/… We're in the global world now …/… /*/


And I think it is here to stay.

Yet I share you concern about Russia, China and the influence and ownership they will exercise in the future…./…


What was the stat being bandied around a few months ago ? Something like in the year 1800 China accounted for 30% of the world's GDP, while India accounted for 15%, and the two countries are "coming back "to historical levels" ? (grin) That's 45% right there …


/*/ .../… "Once counterfeit medication kills off ten or twenty thousand people .../… in one fell swoop …/… The "people" will be screaming."


They weren't screaming in 2003 when 4 days only of above 38° weather killed off 14,802 people in one fell swoop. Liberation even titled Chirac "C'est la faute des français" …/… /*/


Well, it didn't come from "outside". The people will scream because it will be coming from "outside". (sigh) It wasn't any "people" who died: it was "old" people. If 'kids "are involved, "the French" take a completly diffrenent view, due to, in Amerloque's view, their views on Rousseau and "childlike innocence" …


/*/ …/… "Ameloque is not looking at it from a strictly forex viewpoint. He is looking at it from a societal viewpoint. There is a big, big difference between a citizen purchasing an asset and an immigrant remitting regular funds to maintain a "family" back home. Economically, morally, ethically, and … fiscally."


An asset is an instrument of speculation. I am shock..ed


Yet the fact that forex controls have been done away with doesn't see it that way which allows the maximum of goods and services to circulate contributing to the overall welfare of developing countries. You seem to have a very Darwinian view of economics. /*/


The overall welfare of the developing countries is apparently dropping, not rising. (grin) Look at Mexico, for example. The farm economy is in complete disarray, apparently. The rainforests are disappearing because they are being razed to that biofuel crops can be grown to "stop pollution" like the Eco-Ayatollahs want … look at Africa …


/*/ …/… Survival of the fittest?…/… /*/


Of course. It won't change soon. The Chinese and the Indians understand that. The jerkoffs in Brussels don't; it's as simple as that. (sigh)


Economics and markets are not neutral, as much as economists and politicans want us to believe that. (sigh) If the "market" destroys what is strong in a country, then it is not acting neutrally at all. (grin)


/*/ …/… "If one looks at Rocket's argument closely, it appears that it would be a good idea for immigrants to have complete voting rights in the nation they are working in, since not allowing them to vote is "undemocratic" ("Taxation without representation is treason !") (sigh)"


I never said that and particularly don't believe in it at the National level. At the local level. Yes! …/…/*/


There is no difference, in Amerloque's view (sigh) The more and more a country decentralizes, the more and more the "local vote" becomes crucial. That's why the whole "immigrants voting locally" hymn is a crock, in Amerloque's view. (grin) Portraying "national voting" as being more important than "local voting" is the dishonest, stealthy way of removing sovereignty from natives and passing it to newcomers. It is treason, in Amerloque's view. Other people's mileage may differ, of course. (smile)


/*. .../… Interesting info below FYI


http://freeinternetpress.com/story.php?sid=13351 …/… /*/


Amerloque extends his thanks. (grin)


This is all normal procedure, since it is a pendulum environment, so Amerloque is not particuarly surprised. There's a crunch coming in stock markets the world over: when the investment funds / hedge funds / sovereign funds have put so much money into various sectors and taken so many companies private (or "nationalized" them, as some call it) that the Stock Market (the sacrosanct "market") will then no longer be representative of a healthy reality, but will be horribly skewed. If the bought out (and looted) companies are then being put back onto the Stock Exchange after being loaded down with debt (after the funds have paid themselves a "dividend" or "management fees"), in time (short ? long ?) the quality of classical investments available (i.e., stocks / shares) Stock Exchanges will drop substantially. (sigh) Look at what has happened to US REITs (not the "real estate sector" per se: REITs only).


This explains (but only in part) the huge shift to derivitaves in the past few years. A Stock Exchange can invent and sell its own derivatives, which explains the frenzy of NASDAQ and the NYSE to purchase/control other exchanges … (sigh) … bonjour les dégats … Amerloque has become very, very conversant with "bonds" this past year. A "muni", for example, probably won't become the object of market speculation by hedge funds or sovereign funds because of its very nature. Taxpayers are endless sources of revenue (grin) … One must remember what Cardinal Richelieu said: "Tax the poor ! There are more of them than there are rich people !"


Best,
L'Amerloque