All this flaunting of wealth by someone who was supposed to be the best hope for the great unwashed French masses has forced his party to acknowledge the disconnect. Benoit Hamon, the Socialist Party's spokesman, says that he understands that "this could shock millions of French."
Color me personally unshocked, Benoit. Strauss-Kahn, or "DSK," is a longtime French civil servant. Climbing to the pinnacle of public service and politics is how the left gets rich -- and it's really the only way they can do so, aside from marrying rich or inheriting wealth, because their business model doesn't allow for much else without delving into capitalist activities. Even the universally recognized symbol of extreme leftism, Che Guevara, was a product of Argentine high society and invested in a yacht company before setting out to lead the peasants in revolution against capitalism.
DSK has been mayor, parliamentarian and minister, and then collected a $500,000 yearly salary as head of the IMF. Whenever I see a wealthy self-described socialist, it's a pretty sure bet that, like DSK, they fell into a giant pile of someone else's cash at some point. Redistribution of wealth primarily toward themselves is how socialists roll: What's Jacques Taxpayer's is mine. What's wifey's is mine. What enters my hotel room is (allegedly) mine.
A French BFM TV reporter broadcasting live recently from DSK's new apartment held up two NYC newspaper covers expressing shock at his monthly living costs, explaining to French viewers that although Americans have less of a complex about money than the French, they're still raising eyebrows at the lavish spending. That's because his new spread is theoretically supposed to substitute for a jail cell. Not many people charged with sexual assault end up landing a massive new pad within a week of release -- let alone someone who was supposed to represent the great hope for the so-called people's party back home. It's hard not to marvel at the tone deafness of it all.
Not that socialists don't deserve to be well paid for a productive job well done, but the key word is "productive." The position of IMF chief shouldn't be held by anyone for whom it's the best-paying gig they've ever known. Instead, it should pay nothing in salary and allow for bonus performance-based payouts.
For example, DSK was set to lay out an austerity plan and strategy for Greece to reduce its debt in exchange for a 110-billion-euro bailout from Euro-zone countries. The head of the IMF shouldn't get a cent of salary until his advice pans out and Greece turns a profit based on it. The same goes for the 78 billion euros the EU just gave Portugal to sort itself out. The IMF chief ought to moralize to them as he's apt to do, and if his hot air manages to push their sinking ship's sails in the right direction, then he should get a cut. Instead, we hear that countries like Tunisia went from 3.7 percent growth to 1.7 percent growth, according to the IMF. Whoops, looks like global governor DSK underperformed. Those who want to be responsible for the world should take responsibility for the world.
The great paradox is that Socialists like DSK want to run their own countries and the entire planet while enjoying the power, prestige and salaries associated with doing so. But at no point are they ever accountable or responsible for any results. If they ever did solve the world's problems, they'd be out of jobs. If countries couldn't depend on the IMF, they'd be forced to get themselves in order, which would likely mean cutting costs and limiting government. A limited government wouldn't rely so heavily on civil servants and clunky paper-shuffling administrations. DSK and other self-proclaimed societal managers would have to find something more productive to do.
Being a man of the people moving societal goalposts around, making all sorts of rules and telling others how to live pays wonderfully and represents the pinnacle of socialist achievement. That's the dirty little secret the French are discovering with the DSK affair. It's hard to make a living as a socialist otherwise -- on a level and fair playing field with everyone else.
DSK's biggest claim to fame prior to his IMF stint involved bringing in the since-repealed 35-hour French workweek, handicapping capitalism and forcing employers to pay the same salary for less productivity. Ironically, it's that same kind of thinking from which he and the IMF had to rescue bankrupt EU countries. The private-sector equivalent would be someone who burns down your house and then offers you the chance to pay him to rebuild it. DSK and socialists are good at creating employment and wealth -- for themselves.
(Rachel Marsden is a columnist, political strategist and former Fox News host who writes regularly for major publications in the U.S. and abroad. Her website can be found at http://www.rachelmarsden.com.)