WASHINGTON, January 13, 2014 — French food is not nearly as delicious as a French political scandal. A scandal is brewing and it is very, well, French.
It is also a good object lesson for Americans as well.
François Hollande ran for the French presidency as a socialist. After several years of a conservative (for France) government under Nicholas Sarkozy, France was foolish enough to elect him.
Hollande ran on a platform of higher taxes. As soon as he was elected, he did what he said he would do and pushed through higher taxes. It turns out that the rich did not want their wealth pillaged by a socialist, and many of them fled France. Among them was Gerard Depardieu, who threatened to decamp to Belgium and was offered tax asylum by Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Fidelity among politicians, especially French politicians, is almost as rare as honesty. Hollande brought his live-in girlfriend, journalist Valérie Trierweiler, to the Élysée Palace as the First Lady of France. Higher taxes may have been a campaign promise, but they also allow him and his girlfriend to live in a palace, be protected by body guards, have live-in servants, exchange air-kisses with the most elegant people in Paris, ride in limos and fly in private jets.
How socialist of him.
Now Hollande’s affections have moved to another woman, moving him perhaps to replace his old first lady with a new and younger one, actress Julie Gayet. His advisors have recommended that he make a “clean sweep,” and Gayet is the daughter of a close personal friend, so the odds are good that Trierweiler will find her things in a box on the Élysée curb.
While the sex scandal is amusing, it shines a light on the truth of socialism everywhere: Socialist leaders are just one more ruling class, and given the wealth of a nation to play with, they’re indistinguishable from the kings and queens who ruled in Versailles.
High taxes are marketed as a form of compassion. They are required so that we can help the poor and the oppressed. The reality is socialists use the poor as a prop and a justification to make themselves the new ruling class. They are like the pigs in Orwell’s “Animal House,” eventually indistinguishable from the rulers who came before. Kim Jong Un, Hugo Chavez, the Soviet rulers, Francois Hollande, and our own President Obama and his Michelle Antoinette get a taste for royal luxury and lifestyle.
Socialist leaders almost never live like the people they claim to champion.
Obama whines about “income inequality,” yet his net worth has soared while in the Oval Office. He has staff to care for his every need — even a White House calligrapher and chocolatier — and thinks nothing of letting his wife fly on a separate airplane for her convenience or dispatching a Marine helicopter to fetch his dog.
He complains that taxes are not high enough so he can pay for welfare programs, but while he complains, he takes his family on multimillion dollar vacations at the taxpayers’ expense. He dispatches his family around the country on Air Force jets the way suburban parents hand out keys to the family cars.
If he really believed that strapped Americans should give up more money to help the poor, he should be the first one to sacrifice. He could stay in the White House, with its numerous Christmas trees and in-house pastry chef, for Christmas, and not ferry Michelle to and from Hawaii in an Air Force C-32 (Boeing 757) for her birthday.
Non-business travel for the First Family has run well into eight figures, and probably close to nine — this year’s Hawaii vacation alone cost $4 million — perhaps a drop in the bucket of federal spending, but enough to help tens of thousands of impoverished Americans. Obama should give up his royal vacations and use the money for the good of America. It would be more than enough to re-open the White House for tours, or to end hunger and homelessness in a major American city.
Socialism is never about equality or helping the poor. That is simply the façade. All socialism means is changing the ruling class and then inflicting poverty, tyranny and occasionally mass murder on the people.
While the scandal of France’s socialist president is amusing, there is a deeper story here. It is the story of amazing hypocrisy that is socialism.
It is time people called them out for their hypocrisy.
Image: François Hollande / Jean-Marc Ayrault