Proposed Budget Cuts Sink Newly Elected French President Macron's Popularity
President Macron of France has run afoul of a catch-22 that has trapped countless politicians since the days of the Roman Empire. Everyone says they want a more efficient government, but no one wants budget cuts to affect them personally. Probably the surest sign a fiscally irresponsible budget is being seriously addressed is when a politician's popularity begins plunging in the polls.
Macron's popularity has been sinking since being elected president in May with a pledge to cut state spending. It was reported that many Macron voters only voted for him because they disliked the other candidates' platforms even more than they did Macron's.
Top French General Resigns
General Pierre de Villiers, the head of the French armed forces, recently resigned over proposed cuts to the military budget. General de Villiers stated that he would be unable to adequately protect France with such budgetary constraints. Macron had pledged that military spending would increase to 2% of GCP by 2025 to meet NATO targets. The Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, said that the budget cuts would consist of adjustments to equipment programs.
Ironically, this happened only days after the traditional Bastille Day celebration marked by a grand military parade before Presidents Macron and Trump. The 39 year old Macron is the first French president without any military service.
Cut to Housing Benefits Angers Many
Modest cuts to France's housing benefit have angered recipients, including 800,000 students whose monthly 225 euro benefit is being reduced by 5 euros. The current government is arguing that the cut was actually voted on by the previous administration but is only now being implemented. Socialist parliament member Christian Eckert denies this assertion.
Feminists Protest Proposed Cut to Women's Rights Budget
A number of feminist groups are worried that the budget for women's rights could be dramatically slashed by as much as 25%. Officially, the government has not stated the amount of the proposed cut. The women's rights budget represents only a tiny fraction of the total budget, about 0.006%. During the campaign, Macron had declared himself to be a feminist and said he would ensure that women's rights became a "national cause".
The government's position is that cuts are essential and will be made everywhere. However, between June and July, Macron's popularity dropped 10 points, from 64% to 54%. France's previous president, Francois Hollande, had chosen not to run again because of his unpopular austerity policies. Macron may become equally unpopular for the same reason.
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