The rise and fall of Emmanuel Macron
Earlier this year, the photogenic liberal Emmanuel Macron became the bright young hope of the European Union. That was before self-inflicted policy failures caused a rapid collapse in his support.
Back in the Spring, pitted against the anti-Brussels, anti-globalist and—in its origins at least—pro-fascist National Front, Macron projected a progressive image for the EU after its treatment of Greece made it look more totalitarian than democratic.
But that was then. Since his election, Macron’s popularity has plunged faster than any French president in history. Attempts to explain this decline have focused on his pompous approach to governance—literally professing to want to govern like Jupiter. But there is a deeper cause. He has misdiagnosed the origins of the French economic malaise, and therefore his Jovian economic thunderbolts will do more harm than good.
It’s easy to show the blatant errors in the president’s perspective by merely looking at the data. Macron’s economic agenda cites an excessively large public sector as the fundamental cause of France’s malaise, and the main ‘Evidence for the Prosecution’ is the towering level of government debt: as of March 2017, this was 111 percent of GDP, almost twice the 60 percent of GDP maximum allowed by the Maastricht Treaty.