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More from France’s Bloated Public Sector

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The public sector in France is among the best financed in Europe. Taxes claim around 45% of all income earned in the country, but even that is not enough to finance all the government projects. The country also runs a public budget deficit of over 3% of GDP, putting the whole output of the French government around 50% of the whole economy.

With such largesse one would think that the services are quite good. Furthermore, coming from a country whose motto is “liberté, égalité, fraternité” one would also guess that the spending is directed at the little people.

Wrong on both counts.

In one embarrassing recent admission, a French government searching for ways to get its budget under control admitted that its justice minister’s office employs 22 chauffeurs for a staff of only 17. Apparently the number of drivers is necessary because, despite working long days, they each get to take every other week off.

The Ministry of Justice responded by noting that it has already made cuts, and that “in the past four years, we’ve removed three drivers from our staff.”

France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls is searching for an excuse to cut 12,000 civil servants from the payroll this coming year. Maybe while he’s at it he should make it easier to become a taxi driver in Paris to help some of the more obvious redundant staff to find new jobs.

(Originally posted at Mises Canada.)

David Howden is Chair of the Department of Business and Economics and professor of economics at St. Louis University's Madrid Campus, and Academic Vice President of the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada.

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