French Language Blog

Hollande Vs. Sarkozy: Comics, Economics, and Freakonomics! (Part I) Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Vocabulary

As you saw in yesterday’s “Hollande Vs. Sarkozy: Get in the Ring!“, the first round of the French Presidential Debate can be best described by the French motto of “pas de quartier” (“no pity”), especially after media reports quoted Sarkozy saying: “Je vais l’exploser” (“I’m gonna blow him up”)!
Things heated up even more when it came to the topic of l’ÉCONOMIE… 
There were definitely a couple of “comic” moments out there. Some interesting economic points were made on both sides. And some of the propositions put forward were worthy of the field of “Freakonomics“!

Only two more days to go before France discovers its leader for the next five years.

Will it be again Nicolas Sarkozy, or the leader of the Socialist party, François Hollande?

This “bullet point summary” will certainly help you know the two French candidates a bit better—Not to mention that it can also be a good French language exercise for you: improving your listening and reading comprehension! 🙂

HOLLANDE vs. SARKOZY: The Big Debate

L’ÉCONOMIE: Les solutions proposées (suggested solutions)
  • 00:09:10 -00:06:40:
    • Hollande:
      • When you became a President, you promised to bring le chômage (unemployment) down to 5%, and that you would view anything above that level as un échec (a failure.) Today le chômage is double that number, so clearly it’s a failure. Of course, you will say it’s the fault of la crise financière mondiale (the world financial crisis), but look at Germany, they have less chômage than we do, despite la crise.
      • What France needs above all is la production. I will create a public bank specifically for that purpose. I will modify the tax system.
      • Finally, I have a brand new solution: le contrat de générations (the “Generations Contract”):  As an incentive to protect both the young and old professionals, no taxes will be levied on companies that employ both seniors *and* juniors indefinitely.
  • 00:12:10 -00:16:15:
    • Sarkozy:
      • The numbers you just gave are faux (false.) True, unemployment climbed in my tenure, but it climbed much more in Italy, England, Spain, and the US. The rate through which it rose in France is half the European average. I’m still not too proud of that, but I don’t see why Monsieur Hollande needs to lie about the numbers just to make me look bad.
      • Why Germany is doing well? That is because when France was busy doing les 35 heures, Germany was implementing the same reforms that you are still refusing today!
      • As for your suggested solutions: You propose to create a public bank? Big deal, it already exists: It’s called La banque publique de l’industrie, subsidiary of OSÉO. That’s one promise you won’t have a hard time keeping, because it’s already there! As for your contrat de générations, it doesn’t make any sense, because you will be helping people who already got a job, whereas I want to help people who don’t. Even your close friend, Martine Aubry, said it was an absurd idea.
      • My solutions are: To trim le coût du travail (the cost of work) so that companies don’t have to move away; forming the young unemployed to make them ready for the jobs of tomorrow instead of those of yesterday; and promoting innovation so that we become again competitive.
  • 00:16:15 – 00:19:33:
    • Hollande:
      • I understand you are upset about unemployment, but you know who else is more upset about it? It’s the unemployed themselves. The fact remains that you promised to lower unemployment down to 5% when you were elected, and today it’s standing at double that figure.
      • Your comparison with Germany is simply pitoyable (pathetic.)
      • Then you say pas de chance (tough luck), and point your finger to les 35 heures as the main culprit. Did you forget that you have actually been in power for dix ans (ten years)? Not simply as President for the past five years, but also five years prior to that as Minister under Chirac, and for some time as a Finance Minister.
      • 70 billion Euros is the staggering size of French deficit today. It’s not the Socialists‘ fault (under Lionel Jospin) ten years ago, or Mitterrand‘s fault back in the 1980s like you often like to say. You personally share a big responsibility.
      • Now you say, “ok, I found the solution, it took me some time, but now I got it.” What is your solution? It’s la TVA sociale (tax to finance social security), which will obviously undermine la croissance (growth) of the country, but would supposedly help French companies be more competitive abroad. In reality, the lion’s share of the money you’ll be taking away from French people will go not to the industrial companies, but will rather be rewarded to the banks and the service sector.
      • You say that the unemployed need formation. Yes, of course they do. But since you’ve been elected, only 10% of them benefited from a professional formation. That’s too little! Now you come and say that you will offer formation to the unemployed—Fine, but why haven’t you done that all these years? What were you waiting for, I wonder?


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