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The Economist's Friend

Segolene Royal, the Socialist Party’s candidate for president of France has issued a major set of policy prescriptions. Economists everywhere should root for her success in hopes of seeing a major social experiment. The International Herald Tribune reports:

In a two-hour speech to about 10,000 supporters north of Paris, she
laid out a 100-proposal platform, pledging to raise pensions, to
increase the minimum wage to €1,500, or about $2,000, a month and to
guarantee a job or further training for every youth within six months
of graduating from university.

Only 100 proposals? Of course just these three would be interesting enough. But there’s more:

She also said that randomly selected citizens’ juries would watch over
government policy and that juvenile delinquents could be placed in
educational camps run by the military.

Those camps are going to be awfully popular. I guess they’ll have to limit them to juvenile delinquents.

What are her goals for immigrants? She goes out on a limb here:

Cheered by supporters and frequently interrupted by applause, she
spoke with more ease than usual. When she talked about France’s
volatile suburbs, where riots erupted in November 2005 and high
unemployment rates continue to curb the opportunities of
second-generation immigrants, the emotion was evident on her face and
in her voice.

"I want for the children in these suburbs what I want for my own
children," she said, clenching a fist before her bright-red blazer and
prompting the crowd to erupt into a two-minute standing ovation.

Imagine that. What bravery. And what will she do for the children?

A former schools minister, she vowed that she would tackle the social
exclusion in the suburbs by reducing the number of students in classes.
She also promised free tutoring for students that have difficulties
keeping up, and workshops for parents to teach them how to discipline
their children.

And for the non-children? She has plenty to offer:

Indeed, she seemed to have something to offer to most groups in society
without saying how much the combined measures would cost: Under her
presidency, she said, young women would get free contraception, all
young people would get access to a €10,000 interest- free loan and the
handicapped would see their benefits rise.

Evidently she missed the chance to guarantee all citizens a better than average standard of living. Or to outlaw death. But other than those missed opportunities, she seems to have promised as many free lunches as she possibly could.

For our French readers looking for an alternative, here is Bastiat in the original.