France Repeals the Laws of Economics (Hee Hee!)

Lynne Kiesling

OK, I know criticizing Dominique de Villepin is like shooting fish in a barrel, but this one really cries out for it:

After threatening oil companies with a big tax grab, French petrol prices fell slightly and Dominique de Villepin pronounced it a step in the right direction but not enough.

Meanwhile, he is waving cheques at French voters, more for the precious farmers and fisherfolk (already drowning in subsidies) and, most ridiculous of all, a mileage-based tax break for motorists who drive to work — the more you drive, the bigger your deduction. In the same breath, the Prime Minister called for less consumption in what he declares to be “the post-petrol era”.

Does he not see the absurdity of encouraging petrol abstinence while subsidising those who drive the greatest distance? Better for a French bureaucrat to set the petrol price by government decree. Foreign oil companies would then quit France, leaving the field clear for Total, which could then be renationalised, eliminating all this irritating market stuff.

Hat tip to Masden Pirie, who notes that in the World Bank report Doing Business in 2006, not a single one of the top-10 countries is in the Eurozone.