Goodbye, Austerity. Hello, Unknown.

Goodbye, Austerity. Hello, Unknown.

It was a hard week for austerity.

Voters in France rejected conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy by electing Socialist Party candidate François Hollande as president. Hollande pledged that the rich should shoulder more of the burdens of economic hardship. Greek voters also booted the parties that had promised to follow the strict terms mandated by international bailouts, instead electing far left and far right parties that opposed budget cuts.

Both moves by voters called into question the effectiveness of budget-slashing measures known as austerity championed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a fix for European countries weighed down by debt. Looks like economist Paul Krugman's new book decrying austerity might find a big audience in Europe.

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Speaking of being weighed down by debt, the Senate failed to pass a bill that would extend the lowered interest rate for student loans. But the deadline for the extension is July 1st, leaving hope that Congress will salvage the bill.

Meanwhile, on our shores, Facebook, preparing for its May 18th initial public offering, went on its IPO roadshow, a traveling presentation for would-be investors and analysts in New York and Boston that will wrap up in Palo Alto on Friday. Another tech company was in the news for less positive reasons: Yahoo's new CEO was found to have lied about his undergraduate major, leading the board member who heads up executive search to say she won't seek re-election to the board. (Which is a shame, because there aren't enough women on corporate boards.)

Economically, things look mixed: Consumer confidence is ebbing a bit after it had reached a new four-year high, and people are still wary of investing in stocks after the recession. But things are looking up for everyone making side income on arts-and-crafts site Etsy, which raised $40 million in venture capital funding.

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photo: French voters celebrating François Hollande's victory on May 6, 2012. (Sandrine Magrin/Flickr)

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