Today’s Financial Times reports that French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration plans to freeze public spending for five years “to eliminate its deficit and reduce spending as a share of national output.” While Congress figures out the fastest way possible to deficit spend $150 billion on a stimulus package that history suggests will do nothing, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon told FT a global downturn would only “reinforce the goverment’s determination to move swiftly and far with structural reforms.”
The developing French resolve on the size of government comes at a crucial time for the GOP. The House GOP is heading to Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, WV, today and there is a movement among conservative members of the caucus to adopt a year-long moratorium on earmarks. Conservatives argue the move would help repair the party’s damaged reputation on fiscal discipline. There is a growing consensus that now is a make or break time for the GOP to show they are still a party of princile on the issue.
Maybe France’s new leadership can drop by to remind wayward appropriators in the caucus what real fiscal discipline looks like.