I love Joe Biden for saying this (and putting the ear worm in my head):
I love France for kicking Sarkozy and his austerity agenda to the curb, and for electing their first Socialist president in almost two decades. Some of the things I love about President-elect Hollande:
* Hollande opposes an economic policy based only on austerity and has promised to renegotiate the European fiscal compact to include provisions on jobs and growth;
* Although he has pledged to balance public finances by the end of 2017, Hollande has also said he will adapt that target if growth is weak and will not sacrifice France’s interests to meet it. His deficit-reduction measures include reversing tax breaks and introducing new taxes which he says will bring in an extra 29 billion euros of revenue;
* Hollande plans 100 billion euros in savings by 2017. Half is to come from new revenues, of which 20 billion have already been voted in, and half is to come from reducing spending by limiting growth in public expenditure to 1.1 percent per year;
* At the same time, Hollande has outlined 20 billion euros of new spending over five years, including restoring the right to retire at 60 for those who began work at 18. He plans to hire 60,000 more educators over his term and 1,000 police a year, and create 150,000 state-aided jobs to tackle youth unemployment;
* Hollande would target the rich with a 75 percent tax rate on income above 1 million euros a year and a 45 percent upper tax rate for those earning over 150,000 euros. He would limit executive pay at state-owned companies to 20 times the lowest wage, cut the presidential salary by 30 percent and index the country’s minimum wage to economic growth;
* Hollande aims to fight discrimination with sanctions for companies failing to offer equal pay, a Ministry of Women’s Rights and the attribution of half the ministerial posts in his cabinet to women. He would also remove the word “race” from the French constitution and open a parliamentary debate on immigration quotas. He backs gay marriage and adoption;
* Like Sarkozy, he is promising to curb financial excess by separating retail and investment banking and imposing a financial transaction tax. He wants to ban toxic financial products and stock options, curb bonuses, create a European ratings agency and stop banks working in offshore tax havens;
* To promote industry and jobs, Hollande will create a public investment bank to support small enterprises and industries of the future. Companies investing in France and keeping production local will receive public aid and financing. He also plans to help major corporations shift production back to France and will cut tax rates for small and medium companies;
* To boost youth employment he proposes a “generation contract” that reduces social charges for companies who hire young people on open-ended long-term contracts and at the same time keep a senior worker employed till retirement.
* He wants to reduce the share of nuclear energy in the power supply to 50 percent from 75 percent by 2025, and has promised to close the ageing Fessenheim nuclear plant but complete work on the advanced Flamanville EPR power station.
I love Japan, who pulled the license from its final nuclear power plant this weekend. No more nukes in Japan, Germany (and perhaps France, with her new president, will soon follow suit). I love Harvey Wasserman – today’s first guest – who has been at the forefront of the No Nukes movement for decades. He edits the site NukeFree.org, where this morning he posted “The Nuclear Power Industry Has Melted in Japan and France“….
I love Howie Klein, Digby and John Amato who, together, operate the Blue America PAC and find the best, truly progressive candidates to go up against those who don’t deserve to be in office… And I love the candidate they introduced me to this morning — Wayne Powell (my second guest this morning). A retired 30-year Army Colonel, attorney and small business owner, he’s running for Congress from Virginia’s 7th district to unseat Eric Cantor!
And I love Nicole Belle who watches those Sunday talking head shows every week so we don’t have to, and fills us in each Monday morning in a segment we call “Fools on the Hill.” And I love her even more today for picking up on my incessant ramblings about the right wing living in opposite world:
Have you ever wondered what the color of the sky is in Republican World? Because I become ever more convinced that live in a completely separate universe than we do.
A universe in which Michele Bachmann can say with a completely straight face that she ran a very careful, ‘almost mistake-free’ campaign. No, really.
A universe in which would be Veep Marco Rubio can claim that the contraception debate is entirely a construct of the Democratic Party and Republicans are far more tolerant about women’s right to choose. No, really.
A universe where college loans are an entitlement to George Will and in the interest of fiscal responsibility, should not be offered. Still not kidding.
A universe in which Republican talking points become accepted truths by the “balanced” anchors, such as when David Gregory told VP Joe Biden that he couldn’t say the stimulus worked because unemployment didn’t drop below 8 percent. Still unconvinced?
How about a universe where a member of the .1% (you read that right: one-tenth of one percent) goes on Fareed Zakaria to defend income inequality. Why should he get so much money while one in five children are going to bed hungry or malnourished? Because in his world, the economy is driven by risk and innovation.
And if we have time, Joe Biden gave one of the best defense of marriage equality I’ve heard from any politician of either party.