At his press conference on Tuesday 13 November, François Hollande declared that, “Returning to a balanced budget essentially means looking to spending cuts rather than tax increases. Are we better off with 57 per cent of GDP of public spending, whereas it was 52 per cent five years ago?” He is right. This is common sense coming from a socialist president who set out with a policy of tax hikes, practically without touching public expenditure that is the highest among OECD countries. France spends € 150 bn more than Germany per year. Does that mean that the Germans are less well off? The average public spending in Europe is some 48 per cent of GDP.