When it comes to politics, I rarely stick my neck out in any one direction, but last night I had a conversation with my au pair family that really peaked my interest. See it was announced a few days ago, by the French Prime Minister, that the (then) current cabinet would be resigning their positions and would be replaced/reappointed on Tuesday (today). Kind of a big deal.
From what I’ve been told, and what I’ve researched, the chaos began because of some less than favorable actions of two cabinet members. Rather than call them out directly, though, it was apparently easier to reinstate a new cabinet entirely. Politics.
I’m not particularly sure how this wasn’t meant to directly reflect against the two members actions, however, since they were (it seems) the only ones to be replaced with the new appointments. Everyone else was reinstated to their same positions. But, that’s politics.
The main reason that I am actually interested in this debacle, though, is because of the taxation rates of France. You see, one of the primary issues with the government right now is that France has high unemployment, high taxes and an incredibly low approval rating for the President (17% – the lowest in modern history) and Prime Minister. According to my au pair family, income and property taxes have doubled for French families, in the past year. Creating a huge problem for the economy, because people’s incomes have not.
This being said, taxes in general in this country are exorbitant, and I think it might have been good that the economic minister has been replaced.Even as a non-permanent resident, the sales taxes, which are 20%, are a pretty hard pill to swallow.
Today, for example, I tried to order some watercolors for the kids on Amazon (France). First off, the water colors themselves were ridiculously high in price ( $8 a pop), but while they would have come out somewhere around $10 in the US, here they were $41.00 – and that’s for three basic kids sets (Crayola). As in the ones you buy in the US at Office Max for $1 at a back to school sale.
The fact is, I’ve noticed that pretty much all art supplies, in person or online are incredibly high priced here. I’m not sure if I’m just walking in the wrong stores, or if France just really has something against artists, but I’m really glad, right about now, that I brought an entire suitcase of art supplies instead of clothes.
I’m not really sure how this is going to play out as the year goes by, but I may have to get some US friends to mail me supplies. At this rate, even with exorbitant shipping costs, it’s cheaper to have things mailed to me from the US, than to actually buy them in France. That’s what life has come to.
Over and out.