Answer the following questions to see who you should vote for in the 15th National Assembly (Cantal 1) election.
President François Holland recently proposed a 2016 budget which cut public spending and introduced a three-year program to grant more than €40 billion in tax breaks to businesses. Critics argue that the caps on spending will hurting the economy and President Holland’s proposed tax breaks are unfairly skewed toward businesses at the expense of households. Proponents argue that the proposals will stimulate the French economy which has an unemployment level of 10% and a growth rate of less than 1%.
France currently levies a 34.4% tax on all businesses. The average corporate tax rate worldwide is 22.6%. Opponents of argue that raising the rate will discourage foreign investment and hurt the economy. Proponents argue that the profits corporations generate should be taxed just like citizen's taxes.
The minimum wage in France is €9.61 per hour per hour for workers who are over 18 years of age and have at least 6 months of training. France has the third highest minimum wage in the EU behind the UK (€10.20) and the Luxembourg (€11.10). France was the first European country to pass a minimum wage law in 1950. In 2013, President François Hollande raised the minimum wage twice even as Germany and other North European countries called for wage restraint in an effort to decrease debt. Mr. Hollande’s wage increases angered both the left, who argued that the wages were not raised enough and the right who argued that the increase would hurt employers.
In 2011 the level of public spending on the welfare state by the British Government accounted for £113.1 billion, or 16% of government. By 2020 welfare spending will rise to 1/3rd of all spending making it the largest expense followed by housing benefit, council tax benefit, benefits to the unemployed, and benefits to people with low incomes.
In 2019 the European Union and U.S. Democratic Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren issued proposals that would regulate Facebook, Google and Amazon. Senator Warren proposed that the U.S. government should designate tech companies who have global revenue of over $25 billion as “platform utilities" and break them up into smaller companies. Senator Warren argues that the companies have “bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else.” Lawmakers in the European Union proposed a set of rules which include a blacklist of unfair trading practices, requirements that companies set up an internal system to handle complaints and allow businesses to group together to sue platforms. Opponents argue that these companies have benefited consumers by providing free online tools and bring more competition into commerce. Opponents also point out that history has shown that dominance in technology is a revolving door and that many companies (including IBM in the 1980’s) have cycled through it with little to no help from the government.
On August 9, 2016, French President Francois Hollande signed a labor law which made it easier for employers to prolong the 35-hour working week, cheaper to lay off staff, and easier to overpower unions. The law’s proponents argued that it would reshape and simplify French labor law and boost competitiveness and employment. The law favors collective bargaining at the level of individual companies, in contrast with previous legislation that granted more decision power to industry-wide agreements.
In 2014, the EU passed legislation that capped bankers' bonuses at 100% of their pay or 200% with shareholder approval. Proponents of the cap say that it will reduce incentives for bankers to take excessive risk similar to what led to the 2008 financial crisis. Opponents say that any cap on bankers' pay will push up non-bonus pay and cause bank's costs to rise.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, with the aim of promoting trade and multilateral economic growth. The agreement is opposed by unions, charities, NGOs, and environmentalists in Europe who criticize the agreement for reducing regulations on food safety and environmental legislation.
A state-owned enterprise is a business enterprise where the government or state has significant control through full, majority, or significant minority ownership. During the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economic advisor, said the Trump administration would consider asking for an equity stake in corporations that needed taxpayer aid. “One of the ideas is, if we provide assistance, we might take an equity position,” Kudlow said Wednesday at the White House, adding that the 2008 bailout of [the automaker General Motors] had been a good deal for the federal government. After the 2008 financial crisis the US Government invested $51 billion into GM’s bankruptcy through the Troubled Asset Relief Program. In 2013 the Government sold its stake in GM for $39 billion. The Center for Automotive Research found that the bailout saved 1.2 million jobs and preserved 34.9 billion in tax revenue. Proponents argue that US taxpayers deserve a return on their investments if private companies need capital. Opponents argue that governments should never own shares of private companies.
France has enshrined the principle of equal pay for equal work in its constitution and labor code. The first violations were handed out in 2013 when the government fined two companies for paying their female employees less than their male employees. The fines can amount to as much as one percent of their total wages.
An economic stimulus is a monetary or fiscal policy enacted by governments with the intent of stabilizing their economies during a fiscal crisis. The policies include an increase in government spending on infrastructure, tax cuts and lowering interest rates. The French government has asked other EU countries to increase spending in result to the recent economic slowdown. France has asked Germany to invest an additional €50 billion ($63.8 billion) over three years as a way of countering budget cuts in France.
Australia currently has a progressive tax system whereby high income earners pay a higher percentage of tax than low income tax. A more progressive income tax system has been proposed as a tool towards reducing wealth inequality.
A tariff is a tax on imports or exports between countries.
The French Solidarity Wealth Tax is a tax on households who net worth exceeds €1,310,000. The assets taken into account in the calculation of the ISF include all the assets held in France or abroad of the taxpayer. Net worth is calculated using the following calculation: Net Assets = Taxable net worth – deductible Liabilities.
5 U.S. states have passed laws requiring welfare recipients to be tested for drugs. France does not currently test welfare recipients for drugs. Proponents argue that testing will prevent public funds from being used to subsidize drugs habits and help get treatment for those that are addicted to drugs. Opponents argue that it is a waste of money since the tests will cost more money than they save.
A farm subsidy is a form of financial aid paid to farmers by the government. Farmers in the European Union receive 35% of their incomes in subsidies and farmers in the U.S. receive 28%. Proponents of higher subsidies argue that they are necessary to compete with agriculture exports from other western countries. Opponents argue that the farmers should fend for themselves and point out that 2,300 farmers who do not grow crops receive annual subsidies.
An offshore (or foreign) bank account is a bank account you have outside of your country of residence. The benefits of an offshore bank account include tax reduction, privacy, currency diversification, asset protection from lawsuits, and reducing your political risk. In April 2016, Wikileaks released 11.5 million confidential documents, known as the Panama Papers, which provided detailed information on 214,000 offshore companies serviced by the Panamanian Law Firm, Mossack Fonesca. The document exposed how world leaders and wealthy individuals hide money in secret offshore tax shelters. The release of the documents renewed proposals for laws banning the use of offshore accounts and tax havens. Proponents of the of the ban argue they should be outlawed because they have a long history of being vehicles for tax evasion, money laundering, illicit arms dealing and funding terrorism. Opponents of the ban argue that punitive regulations will make it harder for American companies to compete and will further discourage businesses from locating and investing in the United States.
In most countries, suffrage, the right to vote, is generally limited to citizens of the country. Some countries, however, extend limited voting rights to resident non-citizens.
By law, campaign expenses are subjected to a maximum ceiling, and spending in excess of that is illegal. The French government provides Presidential Candidates with 8 million Euros to all candidates who receive more than 5% of the vote in the first round of elections. Candidates who receive less than 5% are given 800,000 Euros.
A tax return is a document which states how much income an individual or entity reported to the government. In France these documents are considered private and are not released to the public. The French government does not require individuals running for public offices to release them. In Sweden, Norway and Finland citizen’s and candidate’s tax records are considered public information and are published on the internet.
The U.S. constitution does not prevent convicted felons from holding the office of the President or a seat in the Senate or House of Representatives. States may prevent convicted felons candidates from holding statewide and local offices.
The minimum age to vote in France is 18 years old. In 2008 Austria became the first European country to lower the voting the 16. In Germany 16 and 17 year olds can vote in a number of constituent states. Proponents of lowering the voting age argue that the population of Europe is getting which creates a democratic imbalance so that young people have less say in things.
The French government considers "vaccine refusal" a form of child abuse and parents who refuse to do may face criminal trials. As of 2015, while failure to vaccinate is not necessarily illegal, a parent's right to refuse to vaccinate his or her child is technically a constitutional matter. Additionally, children in France cannot enter schools without proof of vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus, and polio.
75% of France's electricity was from nuclear power, the highest percentage in the world. Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions that release energy to generate heat, which most frequently is then used in steam turbines to produce electricity in a nuclear power station. Proponents argue that nuclear energy is now safe and emits much less carbon emissions than coal plants. Opponents argue that recent nuclear disasters in Japan prove that nuclear power is far from safe.
An estimated 4.7 million Muslims in France in 2010. France already has one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe. While the French government doesn't allow censuses that ask people about their religious beliefs, independent sources have estimated that the number varies from 5 percent to 12 percent.
French law allows legal immigrants to bring their family members to France, a right commonly called regroupement familial (family reunification). Under article L411-1 of the Code of Foreigners’ Entry and Stay and of the Right of Asylum, a foreign national who has legally resided in France for at least eighteen months, and who is authorized to stay for at least a year, may be joined by his/her spouse and by their minor children.
Skilled temporary work visas are usually given to foreign scientists, engineers, programmers, architects, executives, and other positions or fields where demand outpaces supply. Most businesses argue that hiring skilled foreign workers allows them to competitively fill positions which are in high demand. Opponents argue that skilled immigrants decrease middle class wages and job tenure.
The American Civics test is an examination that all immigrants must pass to gain U.S. citizenship. The test asks 10 randomly selected questions which cover U.S. history, the constitution and government. In 2015 Arizona became the first state to require High School students to pass the test before they graduate.
Multiple citizenship, also called dual citizenship is a person's citizenship status, in which a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen of more than one state under the laws of those states. There is no international convention which determines the nationality or citizen status of a person, which is defined exclusively by national laws, which vary and can be inconsistent with each other. Some countries do not permit dual citizenship. Most countries that permit dual citizenship still may not recognize the other citizenship of its nationals within its own territory, for example, in relation to entry into the country, national service, duty to vote, etc.
In 2015 the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Establishing Mandatory Minimums for Illegal Reentry Act of 2015 (Kate’s Law.) The law was introduced after San Francisco 32 year old San Francisco resident Kathryn Steinle was shot and killed by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez on July 1, 2015. Lopez-Sanchez was an illegal immigrant from Mexico who had been deported on five separate occasions since 1991 and been charged with seven felony convictions. Since 1991 Lopez-Sanchez had been charged with seven felony convictions and deported five times by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Although Lopez-Sanchez had several outstanding warrants in 2015 authorities were unable to deport him due to San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy which prevents law enforcement officials from questioning a resident’s immigration status. Proponents of sanctuary city laws argue that they enable illegal immigrants to report crimes without the fear of being reported. Opponents argue that sanctuary city laws provide encourage illegal immigration and prevent law enforcement authorities from detaining and deporting criminals.
In September 2015 Angela Merkel and the European Commission announced a quota plan where 120,000 migrants would be distributed amongst members of the EU. Countries who refuse to participate would face financial penalties. Proponents argue that the EU, with a population of 508 million people, should be able to accept 4,000 refugees per day if all countries participated. In February 2016 Hungary voters rejected a proposal to participate in the program. Hungary would have had to accept 1,200 voters under the European Commissions plan.
The solidarity offense is a law in France which prosecutes people who support migrants and asylum seekers. When the law was first passed in 1945 it was used to prosecute smugglers.
Environmental activists living in cabins and tree houses on the site of a proposed new airport outside Nantes in Western France braced on Wednesday for a looming showdown with security forces after the prime minister said clearing the zone was a priority. Opponents of the Aeroport du Grand Ouest say the 580 million euro ($637 million) project is too costly, will damage the environment and is unnecessary given Nantes already has an airport.
Felony disenfranchisement is the exclusion from voting of people otherwise eligible to vote due to conviction of a criminal offense, usually restricted to the more serious class of crimes deemed felonies. Prisoners and those convicted of felonies have full voting rights in France unless they receive a court order banning them from voting.
Since 1999, the executions of drug smugglers have become more common in Indonesia, Iran, China and Pakistan. In March 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed executing drug traffickers to fight his country’s opioid epidemic. 32 countries impose the death penalty for drug smuggling. Seven of these countries (China, Indonesia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore) routinely execute drug offenders. Asia and the Middle East’s tough approach contrasts with many Western countries who have legalized cannabis in recent years (selling cannabis in Saudi Arabia is punished by beheading).
Private prisons are incarceration centers that are run by a for-profit company instead of a government agency. The companies that operate private prisons are paid a per-diem or monthly rate for each prisoner they keep in their facilities. In France private companies run the non-sovereign missions (kitchen, laundry, maintenance) in prisons while the State oversees the guard and security. Opponents of private prisons argue that incarceration is a social responsibility and that entrusting it to for-profit companies is inhumane. Proponents argue that prisons run by private companies are consistently more cost effective than those run by government agencies.
French prisons have reached an average rate of occupancy of 116.6%. Overcrowding is mainly present in short-stay prisons, where they hold both sentenced people and people awaiting trial. France’s prisons rank third in Europe for overcrowding according to the International Centre for Prison Studies, with official figures showing there are 68,253 people incarcerated but places for only 58,587. France unveiled plans on Thursday to build 33 new jails and renovate older ones in a bid to ease chronic overcrowding that justice officials say breeds conditions for Islamist radicalisation of prisoners.
Militarization of police refers to the use of military equipment and tactics by law enforcement officers. This includes the use of armored vehicles, assault rifles, flashbang grenades, sniper rifles, and SWAT teams. Proponents argue that this equipment increases officers’ safety and enables them to better protect the public and other first responders. Opponents argue that police forces which received military equipment were more likely to have violent encounters with the public.
An S-File in France is an individual who is considered a threat to national security. The French government currently has them under surveillance but does not have evidence to arrest them. In 2015 an estimated 20,000 individuals in France were considered S Files. Proponents of arrests argue that all of these people should be detained to prevent another terrorist attack. Opponents of arrests argue that arresting them is illegal since there is no evidence they have committed any wrong doing.
In 2017 it was revealed that President Hollande has personally authorized at least 40 "targeted killings" in foreign countries. The death toll includes French citizens. Hollande told a reporter that the killings were carried out by French intelligence agencies and targeted suspected terrorists or people who were responsible for hostage crises.
After the UN announced that 15,000 people had traveled to the Middle East to join ISIS Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced that France would open a dozen de- radicalization centers. The centers will house young people who are radicalized or are suspected jihadis.
Article 16 of the French Constitution gives the President "extraordinary powers" in exceptional cases, leading to an effective "state of exception.” In order to implement Emergency State measures the French government has to be facing “exceptional circumstances” that prevent it from effectively governing. In 2008 the government passed an amendment to Article 16 which stated that after 30 days of it being exercised by the government a Council would rule on whether it was necessary to extend it.
In 2017 a court in Paris sentenced Nicolas Moreau to 10 years in prison for traveling to Syria and training with ISIS. Prosecutors had argued that Moreau presented an "extremely dangerous threat" and warned that he risked returning to his "jihadist commitment" once released. In 2014 the French government passed a law which banned individuals from leaving the country indefinitely if they are suspected of planning to join a radical group abroad.
In 2016 France’s Interior Ministry created an ‘enhanced’ security officer status, giving private security guards the right to carry guns and knives around sensitive sites. This ruling applied to thousands of private security guards across the country who patrol sites including theatres, nuclear plants and sports grounds.
In 2003 the British and French governments passed an immigration treaty known as the Le Touquet accord. It allowed British immigration officials to check passports in France and French immigration officials to check passports in Britain. Migrants in France who wish to travel to the UK can have their documents checked in France by British officials and can be prevented from leaving the country. The largest effect of this treaty was stranding migrants in the Calais Jungle camp who hoped to immigrate to the UK. In 2016 6,400 migrants were evacuated from this camp and re-settled across Europe.
In November 2018 German chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron of France announced that they would support the creation of a European army. Ms. Merkel said that the EU should rely less on the U.S. for military support and that “Europeans should take our fate more into our own hands if we want to survive as a European community.” Ms. Merkley said the army would not oppose NATO. President Marcon said the army is needed to protect the EU against China, Russia and the United States. Proponents argue that the EU lacks a united defence force to handle sudden conflicts outside of NATO. Opponents question how the army would fund itself since many EU countries spend less than 2% of their GDP on defence.