France, Germany, Free Markets and Socialism

By Kevin Price, Publisher and Editor in Chief,  USDR

From Kevin Price’s column at Huffington Post:

Greece has been in serious trouble, could a "dollar dare" save it?

The headlines say it all. There have been dramatic changes in the geopolitical regionknown as the eurozone over the last few years.

In 2008 the world was riveted by the economic collapse of Europe as countries plummeted into financial ruin due to deficits out of control. Particularly hard hit were countries like Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus, and Spain. For a while it seemed that countries like France and Germany were essentially keeping the eurozone together. These latter two countries put together massive bailouts and forced draconian policies, to prevent the entire region from sinking into an economic abyss. After a few years, it is interesting to see how the troubled country of Spain and the much stronger (at the time the crisis began) France have fared since the crisis and with the changing leadership the chaos created.

During the eurozone crisis, France was under the leadership of Nicolas Sarkozy, who was a strong advocate of limited government and was conservative by European standards. His government struggled — like all leaders did of every ideological stripe — during the Eurocrisis. Like other countries that were not on the brink of ruin, Sarkozy felt compelled to help structure a plan and bailouts that, hopefully, would prevent the continent from sinking into economic ruin. Sarkozy’s center-right Union for a Popular Movement was replaced by Socialist Party François Hollande. Hollande has made his focus on raising taxes across the board, with particular emphasis on soaking the rich and corporations.

Meanwhile, Spain was under the rule of Prime Minister José Zapatero, of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party. His policies were typical of socialist European governments — artificially high wages, massive increases in taxes on business and the affluent, and the creation of a hostile business environment through fiscal and regulatory policies. This, accompanied by the worst macro conditions on the continent for years, created a perfect storm, as Spain became a central part of the Eurocrises. Every European leader was vulnerable after the crisis, Zapatero, who led the country from having a very…(read more)

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