Land of the Lost

Selected quotes from what can only be referred to now as the delusional Left as it relates to the declared state of emergency in France:

André Labarrère, a Socialist senator and mayor of the south-western city of Pau, said he was “totally opposed” to the state of emergency. “It is a form of discrimination that will be very badly received.” Communist Party leader Marie-George Buffet warned that the decree could enflame rioters. “It could be taken anew as a sort of challenge to carry out more violence,” she said.

The largest teacher’s union said that M Chirac’s decision would be seen as a “message of war” to disaffected youths who already see the riot police as an army sent to humiliate them. The leftist Paris daily Le Monde declared: “Exhuming a 1955 law sends to the youth of the suburbs a message of astonishing brutality.”

Meanwhile, the great unwashed masses feel a bit differently than their leftist betters: A poll taken on Tuesday showed that nearly three-quarters of people approve of the curfews, as do mayors in the suburbs roiled by unrest.

As the riots continue, French PM Dominique de Villepin is wielding the only weapon eagerly embraced by the socialist-minded among us, the checkbook:

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin unveiled a raft of social and economic measures designed to improve conditions in France's tough, low-income neighbourhoods that have spawned unrest raging across the country.

The intiatives are:
1) The creation of an anti-discrimination agency with special officials appointed to be in charge of certain regions, and making the fight against discrimination a national priority;
2) 20,000 job contracts with local government bodies or associations paid a minimum wage would be reserved for those in the suburbs struggling to find work;
3) An extra 100 million euros (120 million dollars) for associations that work in the neighbourhoods;
4) 5,000 more teaching assistant posts in the 1,200 schools in districts designated as troublespots;
5) the creation of 15 more special economic zones that provide tax breaks to companies that set up inside them as an incentive to boost local employment.

Numbers 1 through 4 are more government, more taxes, more of the “ideas” which have led France into the prone position it now finds itself both socially and economically. What is of interest is number 5. The one idea of the lot that may work to some degree is the setting up of special economic zones. What is the appeal of special economic zones in the first place? Special economic zones work due to the cutting of high taxation and the cutting of government regulations in order to induce businesses via positive incentives.

Inducements work both ways. The above is a positive inducement for positive activity. There is also the possibility of negative inducements creating negative activity. For instance, caving into rioters with a raft of government-run proposals paid for with government (ie. taxpayer) funds. The rioters are rewarded for negative activity while the taxpayer is punished for positive activity (ie. generating the wealth only to be taxed even further). Activity which is rewarded is reinforced. Activity which is punished is pursued less and less.

As our regular reader Rob Read would say, “give us more of what is killing us.”