Monday, January 26, 2009

Free Newspapers for All!

The Club For Growth blog recently posted about how French President Nicholas Sarkozy recently signed a law that will subsidize a free daily newspaper subscription for every 18-year-old in the country.

If this isn't a shining example of government backwardness, I don't know what is. It is clearly a government subsidy to the newspapers, hidden under the excuse of "it's for the children!" The reason that print newspapers have been flagging in recent years is because internet news sources have become convenient, immediate, and virtually free alternatives--and, a report released last year notes that young people are increasingly going here, here, and here to get their news.

And, of course, there's the matter of government-crowd out that will entice people who would have bought the newspapers with their own money anyway to take the government subsidy--probably the parents, the CFG notes, who "will cancel their current subscription and get a free one. The kid doesn't even factor into the equation."

1 comment:

Sophie said...

Welcome to Sarkozia!

This new law is a disgrace to my country so I could not agree more with your comments. Next thing a pannel of "experts" will decide what they should read. Typical top down approach.... The supreme leader telling citizens how they should lead their lives.

This nonsense is all part of the BIG stimulus plan supposed to rescue the economy... The cost of this free subscription idea will of course be borne by current and future taxpayers (the kids targetted...). It will of course not rescue the printed press and kids will continue to read what they want to read.

For me it is another small step on la route de la servitude as Hayek would put it... But Liberté loving French citizens are fighting back with to name but a few.

Sophie, Tokyo
Cato U graduate class of 2008