Friday, October 8, 2010

Today the French Senate Les Senateurs voted in favor pass retirement reform raising the legal retirement age from 60 to 62.

From a French viewpoint: This is an absolute outrage, an example of how the elite at the top are hurting the poor, hard-working French worker. Clearly the government must be pandering to businesses. They are corrupt officials and this is disgraceful, therefore we shall strike at dawn (not that we don't do that anyway)

From a French Politician's viewpoint: This is necessary to deal with a rising budget deficit, rising union power, and an aging population. 2 years will be relatively mild and we will save a lot of money.

From my viewpoint: This will reduce the burden, but only in the short term.

What I am trying to say is that in the context of this bill, French workers will have to pay taxes for an additional two years raising revenue for the government to actually pay for all of the benefits it offers. But then what happens?

Voters will probably realize this and will demand more benefits from its politicians, leading to new bills in which the already entitled French population will receive even more cheques du gouvernement and then the problem will keep compounding on itself.

If French politicians want to reduce the burden they face, they should try a combination of several acts in which the population strike a deal with their "out of touch" senators. I understand that they consider it a great personal achievement if they have a universal healthcare and subsidized education. Leave that in place but French laborers are going to have to reform. The French government can promote domestic spending if they can pass a tax cut but at the same time strike a bargain with the workers to cut back on their luxurious paid vacations. The average French worker has 39 days of vacation under his belt. That's a whole summer that even I couldn't enjoy and I'm only 17, not 60. That too, I think that it is time that French politicians jump on the side of businesses who are right now feeling that France isn't a great country to keep their operations going anymore. The CAC 40 index is a good reflector of how corporations are feeling at the moment and the index has remained stagnant. Maybe allow entrepreneurs more collective bargaining power and then we're talking about motivated workers who might just think twice before they head to picket lines.

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