Last weekend's election results in France and Greece, we're told, show that eurozone voters want "growth, not austerity". In the UK, too, the deficit-cutting coalition Government is being widely castigated for "lacking a growth policy".
The latest numbers from Insee, the national statistics institute show France missed its deficit target of 4.2% in 2013 by 0.1 percentage points. Public spending is also up. Spending now amounts to over 57% of GDP with debt reaching 93.5% of GDP. The debt and deficit numbers are despite the fact that France's overall tax burden is 46% among the highest in Europe. France is collecting money, but what is it doing with it? The answer of course is wasting it on socialist dreams.François Hollande’s Deficit Plea Sets up Clash with Brussels
Which side is right in the debate over spending cuts and the economy? The truth is that no-one can know. Because the only thing everyone can agree on is that we live in extraordinarily uncertain times.
But the question of how fast to the cut the deficit is one of the most important facing this country today. This week I've summarised the best arguments for each side. You should think about where you stand.
French president-elect François Hollande has launched a preemptive attack blaming outgoing president Nicolas Sarkozy for the huge budget deficit of France.
Given Hollande wants to tax millionaires 75%, I find it quite ironic that Hollande blames the problem on "hidden taxes" of Sarkozy.
Please consider Brussels raises alert over French deficit
Wealthy households would face new taxes on property and other assets under German plans to prop up the struggling eurozone.
Senior advisers to Chancellor Angela Merkel are pushing for better-off households to pay towards the cost of any future bailouts for the weaker members of the single currency.
The proposals, from members of Germany’s council of economic experts, raise the prospect of taxes being imposed on property in a country like Spain if its government was forced to seek a bail-out.