Francois Hollande: The Worst Politician of 2012

Looking back on 2012, it is hard to select the single worst politician of 2012, as there are so many to pick from. The U.S. presidential election highlighted the uselessness and delusional arrogance of the Republican Party, a political organization that failed to defeat a president who has expanded drone strikes abroad, embraced crony capitalism, energized the war on drugs, and dismantled civil liberties.

However, the U.S. was not the only country with its share of disappointing politicians. In Europe, the euro crisis has revealed a lineup of contenders for “Worst Politician in the Word.” The situation in Europe has highlighted the agendas and motivations of the continent’s leaders who view the euro crisis as an opportunity for more fiscal union.

Given the seriousness of the euro-crisis, the effect a euro zone breakup would have on the global economy, and the long term impact embedded socialism will have on Europe, French president Francois Hollande gets my vote for “Worst Politician of the Year.”

The socialist French president implemented changes in the tax code that have prompted many rich Frenchmen to leave their country. Hollande has also used threatening language regarding a steel factory owned by ArcelorMittal, going so far as to threaten nationalization. He is a fan of the euro, and has been a supporter of a financial transaction tax, further regulations, a banking union, and a more unified continent. Perhaps most disturbingly, Hollande recently said that he thinks that the euro crisis is over.

All of the above illustrate why Hollande is the worst politician of 2012. He is one of the most powerful proponents of socialism in Europe at a time when what Europe needs is innovation, less government spending, entrepreneurship, and growth. One of the many tragedies of the euro crisis is that it is providing an excellent excuse for those who believe in socialism to make their cases heard with renewed sincerity. This is partly the fault of those on the free market side, who were not quick enough to show how Europe’s present discontents are the result of too much government, not too little.   

Disastrous economic policies aside, Hollande’s recent comments on the euro crisis illustrate a dangerous and delusional understanding of the problem. The crisis in Europe is not over, despite what Hollande says, and that the president of a major economic power made such a pronouncement is terrifying and irresponsible. In fact, it is looking like many in France are catching on to Hollande's failures.

For being a strong advocate of socialism at a time of economic crisis and for being seemingly incapable of understanding the scale of the problem that is the euro crisis, Hollande gets my pick for “Worst Politician of 2012.”

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Matthew Feeney

Anglo-American currently working as Assistant Editor of Reason 24/7 at Reason.com. Before coming to DC I worked in London at the Institute of Economic Affairs and at the headquarters of the Liberal Democrats. I write mostly on economics, civil liberties, and foreign affairs.

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