Paris rejects ‘Obama-style’ stimulus program
Bloomberg News; February 2, 2009
LYON: Prime Minister François Fillon on Monday rejected demands that the French government seek to stimulate consumer spending, rather than follow his plan to stimulate corporate and infrastructure investment, to lift France out of its economic slump.
“It would be irresponsible to chose another policy, which would increase our country’s indebtedness without having more infrastructure and increased competitiveness in the end,” Fillon said in a speech in Lyon.
More than 1.1 million people took to the streets across France last Thursday, according to the Interior Ministry, with unions putting the number of protesters at 2.5 million, to call on President Nicolas Sarkozy to stop cutting government jobs, increase the minimum wage and spend more on households as the economy enters its first recession since 1993.
Opponents of the government have been calling for an “Obama-style” stimulus plan, one that puts money directly into the pockets of working people.
The government would spend €400 million on road building and renovation, €300 million on railroads, and €170 million on ports and river infrastructure. It would spend €731 million on universities and research centers and €620 million to renovate prisons, courts and more than 70 monuments and 50 cathedrals.
And that’s still only about 2.2 Billion Euros — a hell of a lot less than a Trillion dollars.