You Say You Want French-Style Socialism?

You may wish to ponder that decision a bit more before you decide which candidates to support. I have mentioned previously my experiences in France. I find the French people, especially those in large urban areas, to be sullen and even morose. Not saying it isn’t a beautiful country with a fascinating history. And those living in the rural areas seem less burdened.
It’s a fantastic place to live if you are from Syria, or (French) Algiers or (French) Morocco. Well, maybe not even for them. It seems the native French are not big fans of the flood of immigrants; even though some speak their language. Even professionals from Africa and the Middle East struggle to find work in France, especially in the professions for which they are trained.
On a brighter note, there is a strong bond between our two nations. France came to our aid during the revolutionary war. Some say achieving American independence would have been far more difficult without substantial support from the French (and I am certain they enjoyed tweaking the Brit noses). We returned the favor in WWI and, just a few decades later, liberated France (along with other Allied nations) from the Nazis in WWII. Not to mention the financial aid we provided post war to help them rebuild. My focus here is more about its modern, post war history.
I have shared that it appeared there is labor strife almost every week in France with strikes, massive protests and frequent infrastructure breakdowns. In the past two weeks it was reported that one protestor was killed and 106 were injured in recent protests opposing rising fuel taxes. 90 were either “detained” or held for questioning. It seems the government of President Macron is trying to rid the country of fossil fuel use while many millions remain dependent on gas and diesel to travel to work or for their work. My observation is that the vast, vast majority of French citizens either ride motorcycles (they are everywhere in the thousands) or drive very fuel-efficient vehicles. There are quite a few larger luxury vehicles about, driven by the urban French elite; of which there are more than a few.
The protestors also complain of diminishing buying power. It seems wages are stagnant, opportunities are few and costs continue to rise within their slow growth economy. It also appears the government is attempting to amend the labor laws that allow workers to retire at 55 after working 35-hour weeks. It is no longer affordable the government claims. Quoting Robert Tichit, 67, among the protestors and a French retiree, as he referred to the president as “King Macron”. “We’ve had enough of it,” he said. “There are too many taxes in this country.”
In an AP report today, French police in the thousands used tear gas and water cannons to dislodge protestors from road blockades in central Paris where protestors are venting anger about taxes. Additional injuries were sustained on both sides as President Macron condemned the violence. The protestors responded with “it’s going to trigger a civil war….” said Benjamin Vrignaud. Another protestor snarled “They take everything from us. They steal everything from us.”
Oh, a few more tidbits for you. Do you know there are NO credit cards in France? That’s right, the government is afraid French citizens will not be able to control themselves. Bank cards are debit only. And you have a limit, set by the government based on your income, on how much you can spend on your debit card each month, or how much cash your can take from your account at an ATM. And, since banks have no interest income from individual credit cards, they must charge fees for everything to fund themselves; your checking account, any funds transfers, etc. all have substantial fees. Icing on the cake, is your cash savings at the bank has very limited government protection from bank failure. I guess they assume you won’t be able to save very much.
I am LOVING Capitalistic Americanism more and more each day.
References:
https://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/unfriendly-shores-african-immigrants-france-part-1
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/traveling-noir-pariss-little-africa-district-n365536

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