Hollande: I'll Turn Economy Around in 2 Years

French president responds to criticism he's being too passive
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2012 1:24 AM CDT
Hollande: I'll Turn Economy Around in 2 Years
French President Francois Hollande in London on Sept. 6, 2012.   (AP Photo/Ben Stansall, Pool)

With the euro crisis dragging down the French economy to nearly zero growth and unemployment surging, newly elected president François Hollande said he was giving himself two years to turn around the country's economy, reports the Wall Street Journal. Hollande, France's first socialist president in 17 years, took to prime-time TV yesterday for the first time since being elected, in part to quell criticism that he has been too passive in the face of the euro crisis. "I'm not going to do in four months what my predecessors haven't done in five or 10 years," said Hollande. "I am in combat mode."

In an effort to reduce France's deficit from 4.5% of GDP to 3%, Hollande's new budget will include $12.8 billion in spending cuts, and $25.6 billion in new taxes—most controversially, a rise in the top marginal tax to 75% for people earning more than $1.28 million per year, well above France's current 41% maximum. Many business experts worry Hollande's plans will lead to rich citizens fleeing the country, a concern that increased over the weekend when France's richest man, Bernard Arnault, announced he was applying for dual-citizenship with Belgium. (More Francois Hollande stories.)

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