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French Science and Higher Education Programs Avoid Austerity

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the we're-clearly-in-the-mirror-universe dept.

Government 139

ananyo writes "Bucking a trend of cutting science seen elsewhere, the French government has committed to increasing spending on research and development in its draft austerity budget for 2013. France's education and research ministry gets a 2.2% boost under the proposed budget, giving it a budget of just under €23 billion (US$29 billion). Most other ministries get a cut. The upshot of the cash increase is that 1,000 new university posts will be created, no publicly funded research jobs will be cut and funding for research grants will rise (albeit less than inflation) by 1.2% to €7.86 billion. The move to spend on science during a recession is notable and means that French politicians understand that a sustainable commitment to public spending on science is vital for long-term economic growth. The situation is in stark contrast to that in the U.S. and in the UK, where a recent policy to boost hi-tech industries, unveiled with much fanfare, failed to do much for science. Meanwhile, in Australia, there's alarm over proposals to freeze research grants— a step that could jeopardize 1700 jobs."

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139 comments

Limited tab = lots of options (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41538407)

They spend little money on defense and are able to free-ride on the defense budgets of others (US & UK), their financial markets are largely "off-shore" and overseen/regulated by others (London), and they are able to piggyback off the medical technologies advanced in the US and elsewhere. So, yeah, it would be nice to have that kind of budget freedom.

Re:Limited tab = lots of options (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41538651)

France spends the same as UK on military, behind only US, China, and Russia.

US spends vastly disproportionately, but that does not mean France free rides on US defense. What it means is that USA has taken it upon itself to be the global police man / bully, and other countries are behaving as completely rational actors.

Also, the problem with USA is the terrible corporate corruption everywhere. Take healthcare expenditure for example. USA spends double per capita what any other developed country spends, for worse outcomes in most objective metrics. This is largely due to "inefficiency" (read: corruption) at all levels, much of it with the blessing (or even legislated) by the government. Health spending dwarfs even the bloated military budget, which gives you an idea of how much "budget freedom" USA would have if they could ever get their shit together.

By the way, there is no reason to believe any other area of spending is more efficient. I can't believe military expenditure in USA produces results as efficiently as spending the same dollar in China or Russia. For hundreds of billions of dollars per year every year for more than 10 years, you would have hoped they'd have come up with the technology to beat a bunch of disorganized and poorly equipped tribes of religious fanatics in Afghanistan.

And France may not be so strong in medical research at the moment, but this is all the more reason to increase investment in science and higher education programs. You're basically saying "oh, they're saving money by not investing in science and research, which gives them budget freedom to invest in science and research." Does not compute.

Re:Limited tab = lots of options (2)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about 2 years ago | (#41539061)

Simply because the US spends more money on war industries does not mean that France is not getting a free ride. The reason for the tremendous spending doesn't negate the fact that the US and France are tied together in NATO and that France does benefit from the US excessive spending.

SLASHDOT 15-YEAR ANNIVERSARY (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41539141)

Let us also not forget that Slashdot is a socialist propaganda tool.

Re:Limited tab = lots of options (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41539235)

Nobody (except it's corrupt military industry) is forcing US to spend that much money on defense.

If its allies are behaving as rational actors, and choosing to adjust their spending according to perceived cost/benefit, then USA has nothing to cry about except the free market.

But it is not a free ride at all. France pays. If you removed USA from the picture, France spends a pretty normal looking amount given the size of the country, its wealth, and stability.

Re:Limited tab = lots of options (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41540271)

Simply because the US spends more money on war industries does not mean that France is not getting a free ride. The reason for the tremendous spending doesn't negate the fact that the US and France are tied together in NATO and that France does benefit from the US excessive spending.

De Gaulle kicked you fucking americans out of France in the 1960s precisely because we didn't want to free ride on american nuclear deterrance. We spent hundreds of billions on creating a national nuclear deterrance program which no other country in Europe has done. Not even the UK, which has to ask US permission to use the nuclear missiles it carries aboard its strategic submarines.
So no free ride, we just spend better and of course we have higher taxes because of it (something that is anathema to americans). And we value education and welfare. No one is making you americans outspend everybody else in defense programs. No one at all. Yours is a choice, the choice to put weapons before the well being of your citizens.
The time of the marshall plan is long over. Get over it.

Re:Limited tab = lots of options (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41540511)

You don't think all the airbases and troops in Germany are a valuable protection to France?

Fuck off, troll.

Re:Limited tab = lots of options (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41540625)

You don't think all the airbases and troops in Germany are a valuable protection to France?

Fuck off, troll.

Protection from whom exactly ? Fuck off troll.

Re:Limited tab = lots of options (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41541529)

Germany has airbases only in Germany. France has lots of airbases in France as well as around the world. France has the only aircraft carrier of Europe with the Rafale ( one of the best multi purpose fighter of the world, and yes, made 100% by France all alone ) on it. French also has lot of types of Nukes. Germany has none.
Why would you think that France needs Germany, or even the USA, to defend itself ?
France has enough nukes to wipe out a good chunk of the population of the world. That's already a good enough deterrent.

Re:Limited tab = lots of options (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about 2 years ago | (#41541381)

Oh yeah, I totally forgot about when France left NATO.

Re:Limited tab = lots of options (1)

Jessified (1150003) | about 2 years ago | (#41540585)

The point he made was that, dollar for dollar, the US itself doesn't even benefit from it's overspending. If success were proportional to spending, then as he pointed out:

"you would have hoped they'd have come up with the technology to beat a bunch of disorganized and poorly equipped tribes of religious fanatics in Afghanistan."

Perhaps the US could achieve the same results in Iraq and Afghanistan without spending so much. (Keep in mind that in a decade or so both countries will probably be where they were on 9-11). So yea, France is freeriding on the US military expenditure failure: all the failure without any of the spending. Woot!

Look at Results (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41541093)

The US, the UK and Europe have made an appallingly BAD job of managing Science, Research and Education since the end of WW2, and the reason can be lain at the door of POLITICIANS and LOBBY groups who are focused on grandstanding and money with no concern for results. This closely parallels the Clinton mortgage bubble and the fraudulent reselling of shares in un-qualified loans.

In Education and (scientific) Research, the proximate cause is to believe in quantity not quality, in the UK for instance trying to send 50% of the cohort to Universities is destroying academic excellence and may price a University Education beyond the means of many; this expansion has had a huge negative impact on grades (grade inflation) and the Quality of University Education ... Good Teachers and Researchers are not an inexhaustible resource either.

Most Scientific Research outside Math, Physics, Chemistry and Boichemistry is garbage, in the Life Sciences, Medicine, Economics ... 85% plus is unverifiable irreducible garbage and Climate Science has made Pal, not Peer Review a joke. The waste and corruption is unbelieveable especially in the US (NSF) and UK Research Councils) where Professor Princes and Quangocrats is unbelieveible and the success rate derisory. Researcg is NOT a Jobs program, it is essential to all our futures. If Curie, Rutherford, Bohr or Einstein had worked in this politicised mess we would be waiting for all modern technology!

MFG, omb

Compare the costs of social programs to research (4, Interesting)

concealment (2447304) | about 2 years ago | (#41538411)

Social programs cost a lot of money, much of which seems to go to those administering the programs, and not to the intended recipients.

Research is -- on the scale that government or really large corporations operate -- cheap. It is a relatively small portion of the budget and yet returns value over decades and centuries.

Some unsung R&D programs like the military, NASA and our espionage programs are also worth spending on.

I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"? I bet that will work about as well as it sounds.

Congratulations to the French on ducking this foolish trend and instead supplementing education and research.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41538547)

Social programs cost a lot of money, much of which seems to go to those administering the programs, and not to the intended recipients.

I'm pretty sure where the money ends up is all public information. You could get off your ass and show us some numbers instead of issuing vague assertions with absolutely no citations.

Research is -- on the scale that government or really large corporations operate -- cheap.

Oh yeah, particle accelerators come in six-packs at CostCo for $43. And you can pick up DNA reading chips at Walgreens for $5. Oh and a cloud of computers or a super computer is basically free for anyone who wants one. Who writes this kinda shit?

I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"? I bet that will work about as well as it sounds.

Right, you can tell the Greeks that they should have just kept spending spending spending.

Congratulations to the French on ducking this foolish trend and instead supplementing education and research.

Congratulations for commenting on a complex issue without speaking French or understanding what sort of crisis Europe may be on the verge of.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41538875)

You're a moron.

Small particle accelerators that you would use at a university for example are not very expensive.

Large national and trans-national particle accelerators that are required to make certain kinds of advancements are expensive if you compare them to grocery items that you personally buy, but that's a stupid thing to compare with. Few of them are required. LHC, which is one of the largest and most expensive devices ever built cost about $9 billion. This is around 1% the cost of wars for USA in the past decade. Instead of going to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, you could have built 100 of those things. One costs a little over 1% of the US military budget for one year.

NASA budget is about 2%. They have recently landed an autonomous robot on Mars.

Now forget comparison with military, health care expenditure in USA 4x larger than military expenditure.

Yes, basic research does not cost very much compared with social programs.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41538579)

"I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"? I bet that will work about as well as it sounds."

Well, yes. Yes, it is "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today", because unfortunately for a few decades the idea has been "spend tomorrow's money today" or "borrow money from the future", and we've run out of credit. AKA "deficits don't matter" [wikiquote.org] .

Since 2008 we've been finding out what happens when you borrow too much money from the future. "Austerity" has become popular because there's no more that can be borrowed from future earnings. It's tapped out. It's at or near the limit, and beyond that is financial disaster. And you're right that failing to invest in the future (e.g., infrastructure, education and research) won't work out well either, but we should have clued into that before choosing to be backed into a corner by debt costs.

It's like half the world has been partying and running up a huge bar tab, and now the bill has come due. The financial hangover is bad, and it will have long-term consequences for an entire generation. Hopefully people learn the lesson that persistently running countries on debt for long periods of time has long-term consequences that should be avoided by not implementing tax cuts and more spending in good times until debt is paid off (or at least reduced to manageable levels), so that you're ready for the next economic swing.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41541085)

"...there's no more that can be borrowed from future earnings."

Inflation-adjusted yields (as of Oct. 2) on US treasury debt:
5 year: -1.51%
7 year: -1.22%
10 year: -0.83%
20 year: -0.07%
30 year: 0.37%
Investors are lining up in droves to buy American debt for 20 years and are willing to pay for the privilege.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (2)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#41538729)

I am confused by your statement "I don't understand austerity". From my viewpoint, it is simple: pay for the programs you implement, don't leave it to your grandkids to pay for. In my country, we have Social Security. I like Social Security, it is a good idea. yet we ahve this notion that seniors have paid for their benefits. The reality is that the current generation of recipients paid between 50-70 cents on the dollar for the benefit they are receiving. My generation will likely be in the 70-75 percent range. At some point, someone has to pay for the shortfall, and it will likely be my kids and grandkids. That is a horrible sign of selfishness and immaturity.

I am a huge proponent of R&D. However, I will not agree with spending more than we bring in over an extended period of time. The 'resession" we went through was mild, and some deficit spending may have been a good idea. But 12 years and nearly 10 Trillion in deficit spending will hobble us for a long time to come.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (2)

rsborg (111459) | about 2 years ago | (#41541509)

I am confused by your statement "I don't understand austerity". From my viewpoint, it is simple: pay for the programs you implement, don't leave it to your grandkids to pay for. In my country, we have Social Security. I like Social Security, it is a good idea. yet we ahve this notion that seniors have paid for their benefits. The reality is that the current generation of recipients paid between 50-70 cents on the dollar for the benefit they are receiving. My generation will likely be in the 70-75 percent range. At some point, someone has to pay for the shortfall, and it will likely be my kids and grandkids. That is a horrible sign of selfishness and immaturity.

I assume you live in the USA. One way to permanently fund Social Security [1] would be to remove the limits on the tax (which is currently limited to an arbitrary $106k) so millionaires (who do receive SS benefits when they retire) have to pay the same overall % of income as middle-class and the poor.

This is but one of the more well known ways to fix shortfalls in government without having "our kids and grandkids pay". Perhaps we should remove corporate loopholes that allow companies to essentially pay no tax? The fact is, many corporations [2] and wealthy people [3] have lower tax rates than folks who are scraping to get by. I pay a significantly higher rate than Romney.

[1] http://www.epi.org/publication/webfeatures_snapshots_20050217/ [epi.org]
[2] http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/ad-lib/2011/apr/10/tax-evaders-wall-shame/ [washingtontimes.com]
[3] http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/21/pf/taxes/romney-tax-return/index.html [cnn.com]

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#41538767)

I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"? I bet that will work about as well as it sounds.

Austerity in tough times is ass-backwards: it feeds the economic vicious cycle. The only sensible way to run a country is to set spending at a long-term sustainable level, borrow to maintain that level when times are tough, and pay the debt down when times are good.

Unfortunately, most countries are run by politicians, so when times are good they cut taxes and go on a spending spree instead of paying down the public debt. Then when times are tough the find themselves in a real jam. (Cf. USA, 2001-present.)

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#41539093)

I agree with you 100%. In the US, if we didn't have George Bush running up Trillions in debt we wouldn't be in the situation we are now. Obama has also spent far above what is needed to the tune of $6T debt in 4 years.

The question I have is how do we change our US system to restrict this kind of spending. Clearly leaving the power in the hands of President/Congress hasn't worked. Balanced budget proposals have failed. How do we change the system to control ourselves better? I can't beleive we are doomed to an endess boom/bust cycle like we've seen around the world for centuries.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41539215)

I challenge you to find out how much of that $6 Trillion in spending was stuff that was passed during the Obama administration. You will find that quite a bit of that stuff was already on the books. I'm not saying Obama is innocent of increased spending, but it's considerably less than $6 Trillion.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#41539347)

He passes a budget each and every year, so discounting his first year in office, he is as much responsible for the debt as anyone. He can also heavily influence tax policy, so I'm not sure what your point is except to excuse Obama from his responsiblity.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#41539763)

The president doesn't pass a budget. Congress passes a budget. The president can merely propose a budget, and then veto it.

Did you really not pay attention in Civics class? Do you really need to be lectured by foreigners about how your own government works? Please tell me you're not actually American.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (2)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#41539979)

Oh dear God....

You are correct that techically Congress passes the budget. However, the President doesn't simply "suggest" a budget and then that is the end. His budget has a huge amount of authority behind it and you'll find that his proposed budgets are far beyond our revenues. Do I give congress a pass? Of course not.

Ultimately, barring a congressional override, the President does have authority over appropriations bills in terms of veto powers. So if you issue is over my using a term incorrectly, you got me. If your point is that the President is powerless in the spending realm, you are incorrect. Please take your snarky better-than-you attitude elsewhere.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41540647)

"His budget has a huge amount of authority behind it..." No. Just... no. The *only* authority that the President has in terms of the budget stems from his leadership position with his party, and even *that* is only when his party controls the senate (which is where federal budgets originate). Weak president? Opposition president? Anything they might propose as a budget is at best a suggestion, at worst, just something for senators to snicker at before they get around to doing what *they* want.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41541371)

Where was Obama's veto on any of the proposed budgets? He PASSED the budget, they were ALL signed by him and NOT vetoed. For Congress to be truly 100% responsible for the budget's passing Obama should have vetoed it and sent it back to Congress for a super majority vote. What the original poster stated is correct. I would point out the wikipedia entry to explain this process but since you are clearly European that would pose too much of a intellectual challenge to you. So try watching this video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-eYBZFEzf8.

Now I can clearly see why the EU is on the brink of financial ruin.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (0)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#41539451)

They only way to change the current corrupt system would be a revolt from the people. That's been the only solution throughout human history.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#41539511)

A revolt doesn't define the end state, simply dissatisfaction with the current state. Try again, please.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (1)

hazah (807503) | about 2 years ago | (#41539869)

Sometimes, as in these times, the end state is simply non-existent until the dissatisfaction reaches the tipping point.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (2)

rmstar (114746) | about 2 years ago | (#41539479)

The question I have is how do we change our US system to restrict this kind of spending. Clearly leaving the power in the hands of President/Congress hasn't worked. Balanced budget proposals have failed. How do we change the system to control ourselves better? I can't beleive we are doomed to an endess boom/bust cycle like we've seen around the world for centuries.

Spending more would not a problem at the moment, for example, as borrowing costs for the US are so ridiculously low.

Most of the money that the government borrows and spends makes its way through the system and ends up buying... bonds. And in this way, all this debt is someone elses assets A state without debt is simply not as desirable a thing as it may seem. Nor is debt as deadly for a state as for a person.

One of the biggest problems with the political discussion arround issues of debt is that a vanishingly small number of people understand that money at the level of a nation state follows a completely different dynamics that money at the family household level.

With respect to booms and busts - the problem is that we are relearning the lessons from the great depression. For a long time after that, the cycles were rather mild.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#41539597)

Spending more would not a problem at the moment, for example, as borrowing costs for the US are so ridiculously low.

This makes a couple of prseumptions. 1) That the money being spent earns a higher (or at least equal) return. I don't think this is true. 2) Interest rates will remain low. I fail to see how this is possible long-term 3) We are able to repay the debt. We can do so any time by increasing money supply, but then inflation goes through the roof.

Zero debt is not desirable, but neither is debt that is larger than one's GDP. We will be there soon. And if you argue that debt isn't relevant then you will have to explain the Asian debt crisis and the Latin American debt crisis.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (1)

rmstar (114746) | about 2 years ago | (#41540919)

1) That the money being spent earns a higher (or at least equal) return. I don't think this is true.

This money will never be repaid. The key word is 'refinanced'. The people buying the new debt are the same that held the old.

2) Interest rates will remain low.

Bonds get auctioned, and the the rates are fixed for the lifetime of the bond.

You will have to explain to me why Japan can borrow basically for free with a lot more debt than GDP, and a bad rating by the agencies.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#41541047)

1) That the money being spent earns a higher (or at least equal) return. I don't think this is true.
This money will never be repaid. The key word is 'refinanced'. The people buying the new debt are the same that held the old.
2) Interest rates will remain low.
Bonds get auctioned, and the the rates are fixed for the lifetime of the bond.

The refinancing occurs continually, and there is no guarantee rates will remain this low.

You will have to explain to me why Japan can borrow basically for free with a lot more debt than GDP, and a bad rating by the agencies.

Right now the world is aflush with investible money due to the emergence of China and other developing countries. People in these countries are suddenly becoming more wealthy and looking for a way to reinvest their cash. When you have a ton of money looking for a place to get invested, it is a good time for borrowers. Wait until China matures into a more stable country and the same holds true for India. Rates will go back up. And in the case of Japan, they have negative inflation, so this means your nominal interest rateis higher... a minor point though as we are really witnessing the results of China and India, 1/3 of the world's population, entering the modern world

While you clearly have a handle on economic concepts, essentially your argument is that we can borrow without consequences. Dick Cheney got laughed at when he suggested this, and I laugh when I hear it today... or at least I would if it weren't my kids that will pay for it.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (1)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | about 2 years ago | (#41539183)

I'd say that the problem is that politicians are working on day to day politics instead of thinking long term. Being elected, maintaining their positions, etc is always a higher priority (And short term) than anything long term and that benefits everyone more generally. The rewards for his short term political goals are immediate and satisfactory. Long term rewards are diffuse and uncertain and might mean risking the achievement of short term goals.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41539383)

The problem is that some of that spending spree goes into persistent costs like salaries and hiring extra people. Then when times get tough, these people still expect to be paid, and you're going to have problems firing them in the public sector. So instead non-unionised expenses get cut since tax revenue has dropped considerably, and taxes are increased to pay for non essential costs while more important services suffer. Some departments even go so far as to deliberately cut important services in order to offload the pain on the public and cause an outcry, its a machine that has long since ceased to function correctly.

The proper way to run a country is to decide what services you want, what level of those services you want, and then work out the best way to keep costs to a minimum while providing those services. Tax according to those costs, and justify every increase by pointing to a corresponding expense. If people don't want the better services, they can simply refuse to pay the higher taxes and live with the services they have.

That would be in an ideal world anyway, where people getting paid from the tax coffers aren't looking out for themselves rather than the people who pay them, herded by politicians with one eye on the next election. I guess Germany on the national level would come closest, although on the local level its just as indebted as any peripheral nation.

And for pity's sake don't increase spending on persistent costs just because the same tax revenues start booming. Play it smart like Norway and put the money into a massive investment fund, or into infrastructure if its cheaper than loans.

"Long term sustainable" is too vague a goal to have much use, especially in modern rapidly changing economies.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41540607)

"And for pity's sake don't increase spending on persistent costs just because the same tax revenues start booming. Play it smart like Norway and put the money into a massive investment fund, or into infrastructure if its cheaper than loans."

Likewise, if you start running a surplus, don't give it *all* back and a bit more so that you're running deficits again. Commit to using *some* of it to pay down debt accumulated from the last economic cycle and give *some* of it back to taxpayers. This pays off in the long run because next year your interest costs will be lower, helping the positive balance to carry over the next year.

The stupidest thing that Bush and the congress of the day ever did was cut taxes while not correspondingly cutting government costs to make it revenue neutral. The theory was that if you starve government of funds, it would magically get smaller, or at least not grow as much. How's that theory working out for ya?

As anyone managing household finances will tell you, it's pretty hard to live within your means if you're prone to using a credit card with no limit.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (5, Interesting)

grep_rocks (1182831) | about 2 years ago | (#41540225)

Austerity in times of high unemployment and low interest rates is pointless and self defeating - unemployment means you have unused human capital, which could be used to make capital improvement and inprove the nations assets, not to use it is to throw that away and that is not even considering the human cost - second when interst rates are rock bottom, it means it is a good time to borrow, the US treasury can now borrow at 1% so if the US borrowed $1Trillion you would only pay $10Billion in interest/year, it is called buy low sell high - Finally in a macoeconomic sense, which is the level at which the US government operates since it can print money and consumes a good fraction of the nations GDP, you _cannot_ "borrow frrom the future" this is the stupidist statement have ever heard, who the fuck has a time machine? One person's borrowing is another person's savings - that is an identity, when the US government goes into debt, the private sector balance sheet improves (it is called deleveraging), if the private sector whiches to reduce its debt the money has to go somewhere, where it goes is US treasuries, which is US gov't debt - finally most of the US debt is not owned by foriegn counties, it is owned by US citizens.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (2)

Wildclaw (15718) | about 2 years ago | (#41541829)

you _cannot_ "borrow frrom the future" this is the stupidist statement have ever heard, who the fuck has a time machine? One person's borrowing is another person's savings - that is an identity, when the US government goes into debt, the private sector balance sheet improves (it is called deleveraging), if the private sector whiches to reduce its debt the money has to go somewhere, where it goes is US treasuries, which is US gov't debt - finally most of the US debt is not owned by foriegn counties, it is owned by US citizens.

Thanks for the great post. most people have a horribly twisted view of macro economy, because they think being a currency owner works similarly to being a currency user. In reality it is often very much the opposite.

A currency user earn money so that he later can spend it. A currency owner spends money so that he later can tax it back.

The spending of a currency user is limited by the amount of money he has. The spending of a currency owner is limited by the unused productive resources of the economy.

It is perfectly possible for any country with a sovereign floating currency to have full employment at a decent wage. The real question is why most countries don't. And the answer to that question is that bankers and corporations (and their bought politicians) don't want full employment at decent wages, because when people easily can get jobs at a decent wage, they can't be coerced and exploited as easily.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 years ago | (#41540409)

I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"? I bet that will work about as well as it sounds.

Austerity in tough times is ass-backwards: it feeds the economic vicious cycle. The only sensible way to run a country is to set spending at a long-term sustainable level, borrow to maintain that level when times are tough, and pay the debt down when times are good.

Unfortunately, most countries are run by politicians, so when times are good they cut taxes and go on a spending spree instead of paying down the public debt. Then when times are tough the find themselves in a real jam. (Cf. USA, 2001-present.)

There is some irony in the fact that the Great Recession was brought on by an orgy of private borrowing against flawed intangible promises (e.g. mortgaged-backed securities), but people find it a horrible idea to borrow in order to invest in skills and knowledge.

Realistically, of the these 3 bases of running up a debt: faith in other people's promises, faith in the government, and faith in education, the most risky of the 3 is the one we worship the most. Yes, I know, the government is evil, and it weasels out of its obligations by printing phoney money, but at the end of the day, phoney money still spends better than evaporated contracts, even if you do end up having to spend more of it.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (1)

Wildclaw (15718) | about 2 years ago | (#41541579)

With a sovereign floating fiat currency there is no need to pay the money back. The value of the currency will automatically adjust over time to the demands of the currency owner on the economy.

In fact, there is really no need to borrow at all. The currency owner can simply print money to take the stuff it needs, and then it taxes the economy to keep up demand for the currency it prints, as well as to keep down inflation.

As long as the taking is aimed mainly at unused resources in the economy (Read: Hiring unemployed labor), the effects on the private sector are small, and the positive side effects are great. This generally works well as long as the currency owner doesn't take on foreign debt or collapses the production of a country.

Note that the currency owner always have to spend before taxing as it is the entity that creates the money that it then taxes back. This is how currencies have always worked since the beginning of history. Occasionally some fool ruler tries to bind the currency to something of perceived value (such as gold), but that generally only lasts for a shorter period of time before the economy becomes unstable and the currency owner decides to just go back to some fiat based coin system.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (0)

scamper_22 (1073470) | about 2 years ago | (#41538789)

This is a very important point in these tough times.

Too many countries want to 'cut waste' and preserve social spending.

The problem is simply that the big social spending takes up so much of the budgets. The other cuts are pretty much meaningless, but can have drastic impacts on the areas affected.

University R&D - cheap but essential for new discoveries.
K-12... expensive and not much payback once u get past basic education. We keep spending more money and our kids aren't getting any smarter. Taboo to cut back on.

Mental Health - cheap to provide and deals with small numbers of people that desperately need it.
Regular healthcare... ridiculously expensive taboo to cut back on.

This goes for arts spending, highly specific industries (nuclear...)...

If they're going to cut anything, they should be cutting healthcare, education, and policing. These are the massive cost drivers in any modern society. A mere 2% wage cut to these areas would do a lot more for any budget than going after all the little programs.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41538819)

Yeah, because we've seen a big return on the amounts of money we're dropping on education. We were in the top 2 or 3 of education spenders in the world and our test scores are at the lowest point ever. Doesn't that mean anything to anyone? We're throwing cash at a problem that can't be solved by money alone. This isn't to say that we can't neglect all spending in this area but we're throwing good money after bad today. Maybe the French are in a different situation, I don't know.
 
But how can we continue to talk about spending on the future as we have citizens who are unwilling to take up the call due to age discrimination and the importation of weaker talent but at a cheaper price point? If these trends don't reverse it won't matter how good the quality of your education is. Find me jobs where they're willing to hire those over 40 who have gone the traditional route of education where they're not being undercut by a H1B.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#41539375)

I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"? I bet that will work about as well as it sounds.

There are only three options:

1) Cut spending to match tax income.
2) Increase taxes to match spending
3) Borrow and hope that your economy grows enough to pay for it (or just create inflation).

You have to understand how deeply in the hole some of these countries are. France is trying all three; they've increased taxes, cut spending, and they're still borrowing.

Each strategy has advantages and drawbacks. Each strategy can fail horribly. The 'best' strategy obviously depends on the exact details of the situation.

In the US, we're deep in a hole, too. Romney is hoping to go for the hail-mary pass of #3 and growing the economy. It's not clear what Obama wants, other than canceling the Bush tax cuts for the rich, but unfortunately that won't raise enough revenue. If anyone knows what his plan is, please let me know, because this is an important point to deciding who to vote for in the next election.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41541571)

It's not clear what Obama wants, other than canceling the Bush tax cuts for the rich, but unfortunately that won't raise enough revenue.

I think the secret plan is to let the Bush Tax Cuts expire for everybody (not just the rich) after the economy starts to recover and inflation becomes a concern. And the reason he's not talking about it is because of the election next month.

Or maybe I am just wishful-thinking out loud here. But if the recession ends (increasing the tax base and decreasing the demand on social safety net) and if we could get back to moderately higher taxes (Reagan-era, or at least Clinton) and avoid any major new military escapades, things will be OK.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#41539663)

Austerity is a loaded word. Its true meaning is "don't spend more than you make." Sound advice. It is a masterpiece of media manipulation how it's been made into an evil act that should be avoided at all costs.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#41540635)

austerity |É'ËstÉrÉti, É"Ë-| noun
1 sternness or severity of manner or attitude:
2 difficult economic conditions created by government measures to reduce public expenditure: ( austerities )

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41541253)

Incredibly foolish and stupid advice, unless you are always content to give money to your landlord rather than purchase your own property, or are content with existing equipment when competitors paid for more efficient equipment and are now undercutting your costs.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 2 years ago | (#41539773)

I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"? I bet that will work about as well as it sounds.

It seems to me that people in power have decided that the prevailing wisdom that "austerity" caused a deepening of the Great Depression and the stagflation of the '70s is bullshit, or that it's true but for other reasons they'd prefer to say it's not.

I guess we get to learn that lesson again. Yay.

Re:Compare the costs of social programs to researc (2)

englishknnigits (1568303) | about 2 years ago | (#41540491)

I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"? I bet that will work about as well as it sounds.

Nope, the idea is "Don't sacrifice tomorrow to spend more today." Spending has to be paid for one way or another. Either now or in the future, directly via taxes or indirectly via inflation. There is no free lunch.

Many countries have been going on spending sprees and now they have to pay for it. Yes, it sucks. Yes, it is painful. Proceeding as usual (or increasing spending) will just make the pain worse, albeit in the future. Right now the US pays about $500 billion in interest per year. Our deficit is about $1.3 trillion. Our spending is about $3.8 trillion. That means roughly 13% of our budget and 38% of our deficit each year is spent paying interest on past spending sprees. Those percentages will only get worse as we continue our spending sprees. That is money that we could be using to pay for education, research, medical care, etc. Instead, we have to pay for over spending in the past. The goal of austerity is to no longer continue down that path and even to reverse it.

The only way to spend your way out of debt is if it actually stimulates the economy enough to pay for the debt. There is no evidence that has ever worked or is currently working (what do you think we've been doing for the last 5 years?). And no, LBJ didn't prove this worked, most of the worlds industrialized production was destroyed in World War II except in the US. The US then became a manufacturing leader and the economy made an astounding recovery.

Obligatory PhD Comics (1)

awtbfb (586638) | about 2 years ago | (#41540821)

Research is -- on the scale that government or really large corporations operate -- cheap. It is a relatively small portion of the budget and yet returns value over decades and centuries.

I'm not so sure about that. PhD Comics broke down the FY 2009 budget. [phdcomics.com] It's worth taking a look. $68B out of $3,518B, or about 19%. Now, having said this, there are impacts from government research funds that reach far beyond a large corporation research budget. Research can produce massive savings that last decades, grow whole new industries, or create entirely new "really large corporations" (Google came from an NSF grant). A typical corporate lab is not focused on problems that lead to societal-level savings or whole new fields. They lack the large-scale funds and are often constrained to the company's best interest. Government funded research generally covers a sector of the research map that companies avoid due to risk, long-term payback, or scale.

Re:Obligatory PhD Comics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41541139)

I'm not so sure about that. PhD Comics broke down the FY 2009 budget. [phdcomics.com] It's worth taking a look. $68B out of $3,518B, or about 19%.

That should be 1.9%

The only way out for the imperialists is war (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#41538421)

The only way out of economic crisis for capitalism in its terminal decay, imperialism, is another world war, posing the threat of a nuclear holocaust. French imperialism, outgunned by U.S. and British imperialism, looks to enhance its technological capabilities while grinding the workers into poverty and intensifying a racist, scapegoating witch-hunt against immigrants.

Socialism or barbarism, people. Those are the only choices. Workers to power! For a May '68 that goes all the way!

Re:The only way out for the imperialists is war (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41538537)

Shove your false dichotomy up your ignorant ass, you ideological robot.

You are NOT a rebel. You are NOT fighting The Man.

You are just another vapid ideologue trafficking in useless absolutes and fabricated, monochrome realities.

You are a "useful idiot" who would be instantly discarded if an actual socialistic system came into power.

R U angry? (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#41538597)

boohoohoohoohoo go listen to NPR you bourgeois ideological robot, shove your ignorant bourgeois "death of communism" ideology up your ass!

Please sample these shrimp! Say hghryrhgygygyrhhiuhuhuhwheuwheuw! F

Re:The only way out for the imperialists is war (1)

englishknnigits (1568303) | about 2 years ago | (#41540323)

Except a large portion of the US deficit is military spending and spending as a result of war (nation building). Wars don't stimulate economies, they waste and destroy resources. The way for capitalism to get out of economic crisis is for the government to stop bleeding it dry and continually futzing with it. That would also prevent the economic crisis in the first place. You need to stop hanging out with Mary Jane so much.

will Massive Online Courses control college costs? (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 2 years ago | (#41538443)

Every new media technology back to the time of Edison was hyped to revolutionize costly labor-intensive education. (Edison initially promoted phonograph and motion pictures for education rather than entertainment.) Have MOcs turned the corner? Will national austerity budgets force colleges to do more of this?

Re:will Massive Online Courses control college cos (2)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about 2 years ago | (#41538861)

We've had the Open University in the UK since 1969. One of it's more successful initiatives was putting lectures and demonstrations on TV at stupid-o'clock in the morning (only 3-4 channels back then) for it's student to videotape and watch later, with other course material being transmitted in the post. I don't know how much of an issue plagarism has been since the Internet grew in popularity, and it's perfectly possible that such distance learning has now had it's heyday.

I really hope it hasn't - at £5000/year full time, it's tuition fees are considerably lower than the £9000/yr everyone else seems to be charging for an undergraduate degree. When you take into account the student loans that everyone here takes out to pay them, lower tuition fees seem like a good way to reduce our reliance on credit.

France was always top notch (2)

darthium (834988) | about 2 years ago | (#41538455)

Since Piaget et al times, France always gave priority to education and science. One example is the AEFE network of French Schools abroad (For instance, check here for an insight), with their trademark of academic excellence. No other country have such kind of networked schools abroad. Illegal immigration from Africa, unskilled immigrants mainly, supposed them a lot of problems, but investing in education and science, is the best possible bet to face problems with long term vision. It's amazing how other first world goverments lack such basic common sense.

Re:France was always top notch (5, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#41538641)

Believe it or not, the US spends more per capita on student education than France. I tend to think part of the US problem is that we do not target our money well, instead spending a disproportionate amount on those who don't want to learn. I do think we need to help those in lower income brackets, but I think it would be better to spend the money inside of that bracket on those families clearly trying to improve their situation.

My wife teaches in inner city schools and there are programs that focus on high achieving students. But programs for those with disciplinary problems, behavioral issues or developmental problems seem to get funded much better. One program, for example, for children with severe disabilities is really just a day care program with a teacher and an aide for 6 children. The ratio is so low because the kids need constant care to keep them from hurting themselves. Is this a role for an educational system or for a welfare program? I want these kids to be safe, but I also want our educational system focusing on those who will lead our future. Do we really need Master's degree teachers in a role that is probably better suited to nursing. These kids will never learn what four plus four is yet we spend money on a teacher that could be used elsewhere in the inner city.

Re:France was always top notch (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41538725)

I tend to think part of the US problem is that we do not target our money well, instead spending a disproportionate amount on ...

... on administrators and sports. Getting rid of as much as possible of both is probably a very good idea.

Re:France was always top notch (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#41538769)

I would agree with this one too, however I've never seen a good accountint on the breakdown. If you have any sources, I'd be grateful.

Re:France was always top notch (1)

darthium (834988) | about 2 years ago | (#41538743)

Believe it or not, the US spends more per capita on student education than France. I tend to think part of the US problem is that we do not target our money well, instead spending a disproportionate amount on those who don't want to learn. I do think we need to help those in lower income brackets, but I think it would be better to spend the money inside of that bracket on those families clearly trying to improve their situation.

My wife teaches in inner city schools and there are programs that focus on high achieving students. But programs for those with disciplinary problems, behavioral issues or developmental problems seem to get funded much better. One program, for example, for children with severe disabilities is really just a day care program with a teacher and an aide for 6 children. The ratio is so low because the kids need constant care to keep them from hurting themselves. Is this a role for an educational system or for a welfare program? I want these kids to be safe, but I also want our educational system focusing on those who will lead our future. Do we really need Master's degree teachers in a role that is probably better suited to nursing. These kids will never learn what four plus four is yet we spend money on a teacher that could be used elsewhere in the inner city.

Please mod the former up.

The Politically correct BS prevent people from saying the obvious. There is far more attention to 'disadvantaged' than to GIFTED KIDS.

Isn't it tru that 'no child left behind' somehow became 'no child allowed ahead'

In times of severe crisis, is it wise to invest mainly in the bottom, wasting the talent pool of a nation?

The inventions and innovations that make mankind progress, have come from such bottom pool, or from the bright people?

Shouldn't at least be a fair similar budget between 'disadvantaged programs' and 'gifted programs'?

Why would that be wrong?

Re:France was always top notch (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#41538783)

I'm glad you agree. One thing I want to be clear on, however, is that I'd like to see at least as much money spent on 'disavantaged children' as is spent today if not more. I just want it targeted better to those who will benefit.

Re:France was always top notch (1)

CptPicard (680154) | about 2 years ago | (#41541235)

Interestingly here in Finland which seems to be the envy of the world in kids' education, we have always done everything in a very integrated way and we seem to be successful. We don't sacrifice the intellectual weaklings to give "more attention" to the stronger ones, although special ed classes do exist for those with un-integrable special needs. It is only recently that we have started to have a discussion about what to do with exceptionally gifted kids; it seems like it's sufficient to give them extra material to work on.

I was probably among the top 5% of the students in my age group by results, when everything is highest mark possible you can no longer really tell. But at that point I'm not sure it matters anymore; we'll just educate ourselves throughout our lives anyway. School was easy and I wasn't hurt by being top of my class :-)

Re:France was always top notch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41538763)

Absolutely correct. Probably about 15% of the population has the intelligence and initiative to make use of a college education. That's where the money should go, even if it means some children are left behind. Vocational ed, basic life skills, etc. are about all the rest can get out of school.

Re:France was always top notch (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#41538911)

Absolutely correct. Probably about 15% of the population has the intelligence and initiative to make use of a college education.

I absolutely disagree with the 15% number, it is much higher. But it certainly is not 100%. And there are a significant number of people that would benefit from a vocational education who are forced into a university setting because those in business/academia turn their noses up at those without a college degree.

Re:France was always top notch (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41539037)

Bullshit. 15%. I can make numbers up, too. Look at it this way -

Let's say your 15% is accurate. Who decides who that 15% is? Is it based on income? Is it based on race? Is it based on an arbitrary and inaccurate standardized test?

Who are you to tell me that I don't belong in college? I guarantee that you're the kind of internet warrior who will spout about this shit - probably upper-middle class, young, white, male. You have no idea what the world is like. You can't just say "Welp, we take the best 15% out of this class, and the rest of you are cooks." Who the fuck are you to tell me what I can and can't do?

Re:France was always top notch (3, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#41539165)

Who the fuck are you to tell me what I can and can't do?

I disagreed with the 15% statement of the GP. However, if "what I can and can't do" involves taking money from others to pay for education, than the gov't surely has a stake in determining who gets the money. Right now, academic performance has no bearing in you getting an award for college, only economic need. This is insane. I would certainly expect that there be some type of demonstration of capability and desire before one gets aid. Other countries do it, and I wish the US did as well.

Re:Not a get-rich quick scheme (2)

Loughla (2531696) | about 2 years ago | (#41539653)

Right now, academic performance has no bearing in you getting an award for college, only economic need. This is insane. I would certainly expect that there be some type of demonstration of capability and desire before one gets aid. Other countries do it, and I wish the US did as well.

Have you seen the amount of aid the students get (not loans, just aid)? It's not enough to fund a 4-year university education. No where near enough. Right now the maximum amount of federal Pell is $5,500. After that you have access to state-grants that range from a maximum of $3000 to $5000 per academic year If you qualify, if the money is released, and if you get your application in by X date each year. It's enough to put you through a trade-school or community college, absolutely. But, it's not going to make anyone wealthy, or provide anyone with immediate and debt-free access to university - don't act like it will.

ALSO - Academic performance has a HUGE bearing on scholarships, fellowships, assistantships and the like. These are how to successfully get your college/university career paid for with no strings attached. Don't confuse aid with loans; they're two separate things. If you are saying that there should be an academic proficiency exam to have access to credit, we just crossed into new and exciting territory.

And I'm going to try to interpret what AC so eloquently stated: It's not that the government can't restrict access to aid and loans. It's the question of WHO gets to decide who has access? Who gets to be the person in charge of Millions and Millions of destinies?

My number one fear isn't a future without privacy - it's a future where we are tracked into careers based on standardized tests. I was told that I shouldn't go to college and I shouldn't really worry about trying to get a job outside of basic hourly retail and food-service. I was tracked through grade-school and high-school into technical programs instead of college prep. ALL because I screwed around on a handful of tests.

Sometimes people need access to money they might not have access to otherwise - it's not about giving the poor an advantage, it's about trying to level the playing field between rich and poor.

Side note - All of that technical crap didn't stick - I have two advanced degrees now and teach at the college and university level. - Sometimes tracking is incorrect!

The dynamic that takes us over the cliff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41538545)

Everyone votes for their net present value of government.

Until that NPV is zero, at which point reform becomes possible.

The US is spending $1T+ per year that it borrows or creates by selling bonds to the Fed (61% of bonds last year were bought by the Fed). That is unsustainable. Things that are unsustainable eventually stop.

2.2% (1)

luke923 (778953) | about 2 years ago | (#41538555)

In America, we call that a spending cut.

Re:2.2% (2)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about 2 years ago | (#41538879)

In France, they call it .1% ahead of inflation.

Pretty much the only way to go (1)

rbprbp (2731083) | about 2 years ago | (#41538563)

It shows that "austerity" is no excuse; let this serve as an example for other countries which are in (or at least brag about being) much better economical situation, yet won't invest anything in education and research (Brazil, I'm looking at you)

Re:Pretty much the only way to go (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#41538857)

We'll have to wait an see what the final budget looks like. I get skeptical when they make a big show of funding good things like education and research in a "proposed" budget. Chances are too good that in the end the status quo won't change.

English please! (-1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about 2 years ago | (#41538585)

I do hope that all the papers are published in English so the rest of the world can benefit from it as well.
Usually the French are really not that proficient in English, and I am not talking about an accent, I am talking about not being able to communicate in English at all (or worse, they can but utterly refuse to do so altogether).
With English there is a greater base of people who can benefit from the information.

B.t.w. I do not blame the French for not being able to communicate in any other language then their own. It is just an observation.

Re:English please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41539009)

From a guy who only saw France from some TV shows...

Re:English please! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41539053)

Please check in which language French scientists publish their findings. And then ponder about the conclusion you drew from your prejudice.

Re:English please! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41540939)

This probably depends a lot on what field you work in. In my experience, a majority of the non-English, modern papers I come across now are in French. If I am looking at papers from a couple decades ago, the largest non-English category ends up being Russian, and a little further back, German.

Although this isn't so much because of their ability to write in English or not (having bad English hasn't stopped some non-English speakers from writing papers in some cases I've seen...). It is more of a fad or artifact of history, e.g. what country founded the particular field, how closely knit the field was in various countries, which journals rose to high prominence in a field, etc. So when you get to the current day, it is a matter of if what language the surviving and popular journals are in, which will continue to change.

Re:English please! (1)

Alioth (221270) | about 2 years ago | (#41539069)

The French are *considerably better* at using foreign languages than the British (or worse still, the United States).

Re:English please! (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about 2 years ago | (#41539353)

Well, not in my personal observations. about a quarter of the people from the US I know speak Spanish (to certain degree), about 50% of the people I met from Britain only speak English and about 95% of the French I met only speak French. Again, I do not judge that, it is a mere observation and then only a personal one.

Re:English please! (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#41540553)

My observation of the French and their attitudes towards speaking other languages is that they expect you to speak their language while in their country. Really if you are in a foreign country try to speak the language especially if you are American as you demand it of visitors to your country. Most of them know English but don't want to speak it as they are embarrassed by how poor they think they are at it (most speak it as well as the average US high school graduate). If you put forth the effort to communicate in French to a French person often they will respond back to you in English (yes you have an accent they recognize) and they don't get rude as you are putting forth the effort. This was based on my experience while I lived and worked in Paris for 3 months, my French coworkers were much more forgiving and even helped me to learn the language. When I arrived I knew very little (as much as I could absorb part time in 3 weeks in the US) and by the time I left I could hold a conversation that wasn't too complex.

So? (1)

lennier1 (264730) | about 2 years ago | (#41538747)

Not completely castrating the sector that has a good chance of helping them out of this mess just shows that there still have to be a few brain cells left in the French government.

President was educated to do his job: it shows (5, Interesting)

ColMstrd (103170) | about 2 years ago | (#41538871)

yeh, the French know that sacking the public sector in times of crisis does not help the economy; quite the reverse in fact. M. Hollande is old school ENA (Ecole Nationale d'Administration) which turns out highly-educated senior French bureaucrats and politicians, who, whatever else they may be, are not daft.

Re:President was educated to do his job: it shows (2)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#41539485)

From the summary:

France's education and research ministry gets a 2.2% boost under the proposed budget, giving it a budget of just under €23 billion (US$29 billion). Most other ministries get a cut.

The proposal is to keep education and research up with inflation and cut pretty much everything else, which I assume means cutting most public sectors. They really have no choice but to take austerity measures, they're close to the same cliff that Spain and Greece are looking over.

Inflation (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41538973)

So basically they are keeping up with inflation?

Re:Inflation (2)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#41539041)

Yes. This is a good thing. Basically they have recognized that there are a few core items that you cannot cut just to meet short-term needs or desires. I would not expect education spending to grow dramatically above inflation.

Re:Inflation (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41539147)

Well it is not a good thing that this is the best that the world has to offer this year for science research, particularly considering that half of the world has reduced spending by far more than inflation.

France keeps pace with inflation in science research, should not be a newsworthy phenomena.

Good news for some university's mafias. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41539217)

I worked some years in a french university, wow it was so disgusting seeing false thesis, professors stealing computers, false research laboratories, bounties stolen etc...

Fake Austerity (2, Interesting)

Nova Express (100383) | about 2 years ago | (#41539223)

So, France is going to cut (or at least pretend to cut) deficits from 4.5% of GDP to 3% of GDP, while hiking taxes.

That is not real austerity. You know what real austerity is? Cutting spending until it matches the amount of revenue actually coming in. This is the hard discipline that the vast majority of private enterprises have to adhere to, but which no government with a European welfare state seems capable of.

No Eurozone country [battleswarmblog.com] (with the possible exception of Estonia) has actually practiced real austerity. You know that "Greek Austerity" measure, the one that had Greeks rioting in the streets? That reduced deficit spending from 9.0% of GDP to 7.5% of GDP. And even that amount was probably a lie.

Politicians need deficit spending the way a junkie needs heroin because the cradle-to-grave welfare state is unsustainable, and no one is willing to face up to that fact. And the price of that delusion will be the destruction of our economy.

Re:Fake Austerity (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#41539823)

Um, real austerity is cutting things so you HAVE no deficit, so you can PAY BACK your debt. A balanced budget should be seen as normal, not austere.

Your sneering at "European welfare states" is kind of ironic considering that the US (that bastion of "capitalism") is deeply in debt, with huge deficits, and doesn't seem to be too concerned about doing anything about it. Half of the major US political parties still think large national deficits are a good thing.

Re:Fake Austerity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41540245)

>>Half of the major US political parties still think large national deficits are a good thing.

Which one party?

Re:Fake Austerity (1)

sackvillian (1476885) | about 2 years ago | (#41540221)

This is the hard discipline that the vast majority of private enterprises have to adhere to, but which no government with a European welfare state seems capable of.

Strange, isn't it. Almost as if governments and corporations are not the exact same thing.

Austerity makes zero sense when applied to governments. How many times does this need to be proven? How many gutted middle classes and depressions does it take? "Tightening the belt" on a countrywide scale is a feel good, self flagellating piece of fiction that simply does not work.

But don't let me take away your smug sense of superiority over nearly all of Europe. Romney 2012!

Re:Fake Austerity (1)

firewrought (36952) | about 2 years ago | (#41540405)

You know what real austerity is? Cutting spending until it matches the amount of revenue actually coming in.

I'm no economist, but I suspect that (1) debt growth can probably be positive, so long as it is sufficiently less than long-term GDP growth, (2) you can tinker with both sides of the equation (e.g., spending cuts and revenue growth).

The Tea Party would have a lot more credibility (and support) with me if it was willing to trim ALL the fat (do we really need a $1T military?), had some tolerance for new taxation, and recognized that some long term investments (education, research) are needed for the dividends they will pay down the road.

Of course, not all revenue growth needs to come from the existing tax base. Tourism is a cheap, renewable resource. Can we increase our appeal to foreign travelers? We have scientific outposts, military bases, and sensor networks scattered around the world... is there a way we can monetize those? Are there are some Pacific atolls we could issue 50-year leases on (for the Larry Ellison-wannabee billionaires), perhaps? De-criminalizing (not necessarily legalizing) soft drug usage would probably result in both spending cuts (on enforcement) and new revenue (from taxes). Finally, there have to be some "national treasures" that aren't really all that treasurable: can't the Smithosonian find a few pieces worth putting up for auction? Just some thoughts...

Don't Forget Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41539331)

The Canadian Government did as stupidly as their British and American cousins. Science? Science! We need to cut that! Do we even need science anymore? Here's my budget, and there it is, right there. Science. Written in red with a "-" in front of the number and a number that looks like $15 billion. Tomorrow or something we can put it back. If we suddenly find ourselves in need of a science breakthrough or something, then we will give them a few thousand for a few weeks. For a thing that by its very existence might deny the existence of God, good enough.

Re:Don't Forget Canada (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#41539841)

The current Canadian government yes. Previous ones were into balanced budgets and paying back the national debt (gently) before it got all trendy and, um, urgent.

France is dead. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41541431)

France is a nation of losers. (The minority of individuals who don't deserve to be a part of this harsh aggregate abstraction should relocate ASAP.)

Once the dominant nation of Europe [wikipedia.org] , seemingly destined to be the leading culture of the world, France had squandered that potential, which went to The English-Speaking Peoples [wikipedia.org] instead. Today, the English language has 15 TIMES [wikipedia.org] more content on the Internet than Frence! France's only noteworthy university ranks [wikipedia.org] below 33 universities in the English-speaking world, which completely dominates the ranking!

The native French are too lazy to work, and too lazy to have children (though most other European countries are even worse when it comes to the latter). Immigrants are making up some of the difference, but at this rate France will not remain France for long [wikipedia.org] ... They are coasting on the momentum of the past, like tourism and export of overpriced low-tech items like perfumes because of their lingering irrational prestige. EU subsidies benefit them tremendously.

In the last few decades, France has already been leapfrogged by upstart or more-WW2-demolished nations like Germany, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. It will soon be surpassed by other less [heritage.org] socialist [forbes.com] nations like New Zealand, Estonia, Chile, and Panama. (And that's going by a benchmark [wikipedia.org] that is biased toward socialism, because it counts government thug spending as being equally valuable as voluntary spending.) We will see an ever-increasing exodus of brains and capital out of France, until finally they will run out of competent people to exploit.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could deport all U.S. Democrats and Greens to France to let them directly suffer the consequences of their failed ideas...

--libman

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