June 29, 2010

What's Worth Economic Disruption in a Recession

Justin Katz

This mindset is well beyond my capacity for sympathy, and almost incomprehensible:

Trains stood still and children played instead of going to school as workers around France went on strike to protest President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans to raise the retirement age to 62.

Neighboring countries suffered along with Paris commuters as walkouts by drivers delayed or canceled trains from Italy and Switzerland. Some flights were dropped or delayed. ...

The ranks of demonstrators swelled in comparison to a similar protest May 27. The Interior Ministry put the number of protesters around France at 797,000—double the number in May.

Such incidents should stand as a warning to the United States — a path not to take (any farther).

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And the left has a similar plan for us. Let government take care of everything, nobody has to work too hard or work too long. Somebody else will support you in your 30 years of retirement. Except they will be too busy trying to support themselves, if they can find a job.

Posted by: chuckR at June 29, 2010 11:06 AM

What is ACORN up to now? Watch the video at www.ACUACORNAction.org to find out what ACORN has become. Track former leaders to ensure that we know when ACORN attempts to create new groups using fake names to continue their work.

Posted by: Kyle Galatro at June 29, 2010 12:01 PM

The nerve of those citizens taking to the streets to exercise their right to free speech! Don't they know their proper role as consumers?

"The catholic principle of republicanism is that every people may establish what form of government they please and change it as they please, the will of the nation being the only thing essential."
Thomas Jefferson, The Anas, 1792.

Posted by: Russ at June 29, 2010 12:12 PM

As someone who has been affected by one of these silly demonstrations (in Rome, public transit strike, ended just as all the big tourist attractions closed for the day), I don't think they're all that cute. And Russ, I'm guessing that if you were trying to fly or take a train home to your family after a business trip or needed to get somewhere quickly and then were told, "Sorry, flight/train is cancelled, they're demonstrating today.", you wouldn't exactly be saying, "Oh hooray for them to exercise their rights to assemble and free speech. Where's my sign so I can help them."

Posted by: Patrick at June 29, 2010 12:15 PM

"I'm guessing that if you were trying to fly or take a train home to your family..."

I'm sure that would be annoying, especially to those who don't really believe in protecting the same rights of others they claim for themselves. Me, I'm with Jefferson on that one.

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, 1791.

Posted by: Russ at June 29, 2010 12:28 PM

So "liberty," according to Russ, is the power of a government-enforced monopoly to shut itself down and wreak havok on society whenever it desires more compensation through coerced government taxation. And "rights" are entitlements granted by government, taken from other private citizens.

You can keep your brave new concepts of "rights" and "liberty," Russ. As far as I'm concerned, yours end where mine.

Posted by: Dan at June 29, 2010 2:39 PM

Dan, if you don't like the French labor laws, move there and organize to have them changed. Alternatively just keep complaining that no society on earth looks like your vision of anarcho-capitalist utopia.

Posted by: Russ at June 29, 2010 4:43 PM

For those not in the neofascist camp, here's Jefferson on lex majoris partis:

The first principle of republicanism is that the lex majoris partis is the fundamental law of every society of individuals of equal rights; to consider the will of the society enounced by the majority of a single vote as sacred as if unanimous is the first of all lessons in importance, yet the last which is thoroughly learnt. This law once disregarded, no other remains but that of force, which ends necessarily in military despotism. Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, 1817.

I take it some here think train service is a natural right?

Posted by: Russ at June 29, 2010 4:57 PM

"Dan, if you don't like the French labor laws, move there and organize to have them changed. Alternatively just keep complaining that no society on earth looks like your vision of anarcho-capitalist utopia."

Russ, if you don't like stores like Walmart, why aren't you employed there right now rising through the ranks so that you can one day become CEO and change their labor practices? If you don't like the RIGOP, why aren't you a member so that you can run for chairman and try to steer it toward more progressive policies?

Any more inane suggestions?

"For those not in the neofascist camp, here's Jefferson on lex majoris partis:"

You can stop spamming irrelevant Jefferson quotations any time now.

I'm honestly not sure what the point is of even talking with someone who thinks that libertarianism is equivalent to "neofascism." Hard to make a more ignorant statement than that whopper. It clearly demonstrates that you have no real idea about either ideology.

Posted by: Dan at June 29, 2010 6:38 PM

"Such incidents should stand as a warning to the United States — a path not to take"

No, no, no, Justin! We need to spend ever more! 97% of GDP gone to gov't debt is not enough.

Posted by: Monique at June 29, 2010 7:44 PM

Well, don't worry! The republicans have plans for you.....

The leader of the GOP, Sen. Boner, said today that we should raise the retirement age to 70........that should sit well with most folks! Start school at 6 and stay with your nose to the grindstone until you are about ready to croak!

"House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said today that the Social Security retirement age should be raised to 70"

Posted by: Stuart at June 29, 2010 9:16 PM

Now, Justin, really....let's think rationally.

In France, if you had the same job you have here, you would make as much or more and:
1. Cradle to grave full - deluxe health care - best in the world.
2. 6 weeks PAID vacation plus sick time and other holidays.
3. A seriously good pension
4. Your wife would get a year or more off - PAID - when having your children. She would also get a mothers helper FREE when and if needed.
5. MANY other similar family and societal benefits.

HERE, you get:
1. Some horrible health care plan you probably pay into.
2. A job that could go away in a day if you hurt yourself or your boss does not like the look on your face...there goes your health care.
3. Probably 2 weeks vacation -if you are lucky it is paid.
4. Little or no pension or other job security.
5. A little bit of social security, if Boner has his way, that you will not get until you are 70.
6. NO time off for family leave, raising kinds, maternity and birthing, etc.

Yet, by most measure, the basic economics and debt of France and the USA are somewhat similar.

So, tell us - can you honestly say with a straight face that you prefer our system...which is getting even tighter and tighter as to those meager "benefits".....to their system.....at the approx. same price or less?

It would seem no sane person could honestly say that.....or honestly mean that............

I think any family would be healthier and closer with 6 months or a year maternity leave - and 5_ weeks vacation

So what if they have to raise the age a year or two. There is no comparison at all between our "sink or swim" system...where we have decided to give our money to war and the health care corporations.........and their system, which returns the benefits to the people.

I honestly think that if most Americans were schooled point for point on what I mentioned above...and given a choice to pick door #1 or door#2, that they would choose French way......

Do you think differently?

To reverse your argument, could not every decent country in the world look at the USA and our financial mess, environmental mess (BP, etc), health care mess, political mess, big business/corporation control.......and say, just as you say "let's not go down that path"

Posted by: Stuart at June 29, 2010 9:40 PM

Vive La France.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at June 29, 2010 10:24 PM

OTl & Stuart-guys,is this the same France that had a massive empire that exploited natural and human resources for generations to maintain their llifestyle?
That drew upon their colonial subjects to fight their wars?
That left behind countries that (particularly ib sub Saharan Africa)made no sense because they were cobbled together out of disparate elements by the Europeans?
The same France with graveyards of thousands of American soldiers and marines who fell there in two wars defending a bunch of effete cheese eaters?
Why do you ALWAYS crap on your own country?
We did a lot of things right here,in spite of our all too human faults.
I'm thankful I was born and raised here,because where my families(both sides)came from I wouldn't have been born at all.
Here we are heading to July 4th and all you can think of dointg is extolling the virtues of a foreign country?
And Russ,stop with the "neofascist" crap already.It's always people like you who like to quote Jefferson,et al,who are most intolerant of any divergent opinion.
You carry on with your progressive party line,but like most progressives,there's only your way or the highway.
I fail to see any difference betwen fascist and socialist dictatorships in terms of the end impact on peoples' lives.Both systems stifle freedom of thought and expression.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 30, 2010 1:50 AM

Don't forget the French Revolution and its reign of terror, Joe. The Progressives certainly haven't. There are a couple of RIFuture posters in particular who like to fantasize about their role in a near future American version.

Posted by: Dan at June 30, 2010 2:26 AM

Thank God for the SCOTUS decision on the 2nd amendment.This is why a radical un-American NY "intellectual"is Obama's pick for the Court.Sotomayor was a feint-she was relatively centrist in most of her decisions-this little monster is the real deal.She wants to remake our society from the bench.Just like Ginsburg who lied her ass off at her hearings.
Kagan's milieu of her upbringing has little relation to the greater America.
I call them the upper west side brunch radicals.They circulate through academia and the government like those turds that keep swirling around and don't quite flush.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 30, 2010 7:07 AM

"Russ, if you don't like stores like Walmart, why aren't you employed there right now..."

You seem to be confused about the nature of democracy. My point is only that as a democracy the French can run their country how they like. "I subscribe to the principle, that the will of the majority honestly expressed should give law" - TJ, 1793. That you don't like it, is totally irrelevant.

"I'm honestly not sure what the point is of even talking with someone who thinks that libertarianism is equivalent to 'neofascism.'"

Ah, there's your mistake. I'm talking about your apparent views, not generally about all libertarians. In fact, I consider myself a libertarian which I think we've been over before. I say proto-fascists like you and your particular brand of pseudo-liberalism don't believe in lex majoris partis, which clearly you don't since that's a form of "coercion" in your mind. On top of that it's quite elitist to presume to tell citizens of other countries how to run their own government or to go around whining that anyone who doesn't agree with you is "ignorant," and it's not hard to see why that's seems proto-fascist (10. Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology...).

No surprise that you don't like being reminded that your views are at odds with classic liberals like Jefferson. So I like quoting Jefferson. You're welcome to ignore it!

We wish not to meddle with the internal affairs of any country, nor with the general affairs of Europe. Thomas Jefferson to C. W. F. Dumas, 1793.
Posted by: Russ at June 30, 2010 11:06 AM

Don't be ridiculous. You live in the same empire that expanded by overrunning the indigenous population in a land grab of astounding proportions and then captured people from another continent and exploited their labor as slaves.

How can you excoriate France and ignore what was done right here. You seem to be able to forgive us, but not anyone else??

Let me be clear. Neither empire gets a pass.

What's your point, that empires are corrupt and exploitative? I agree.

Honestly, joe, sometimes your passion runs away with your reason.

Viva los pobres.


Posted by: OldTimeLefty at June 30, 2010 11:34 AM

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said today that the Social Security retirement age should be raised to 70

Well,if he did, it represents a Kinsley moment of inadvertently telling the truth. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. It could be fixed with a combination of increased retirement age and/or increased tax rate/limit. It is already the only tax paid by about half the wage earners in this country, many of whom get it rebated in others ways such as EIT. Problem with either of these solutions is that the pinheaded aggregate of Congress will keep giving away more freebies that are not costed and provided for, no matter what. For example, does anyone think FDR envisioned free scooters for the mobility impaired? (The folks in the ads say 'I didn't pay a penny'. But our kids and grandkids certainly will.)

We can see where this headed - Euro social democracy. The Euros have such confidence in the future that they are failing to replace themselves (German, Italian, Spanish and Greek births per woman are and have been for years around 1.3 vs 2.1 for a static population). That is the most profound disinvestment I can imagine. And the result is their (smaller) next generation will live in straitened circumstances to pay for the care for their elders in retirement. No thanks, I want my kids to be able to make their own way in the world and the way to allow that is to accept personal responsibility.

Posted by: chuckR at June 30, 2010 12:11 PM

>>Don't forget the French Revolution and its reign of terror, Joe

You mean the one that your hero, Thomas Jefferson, supported 100% and thought was the best thing ever......and would not even speak out against when most other Americans soured on it?

That one?
History can be a b itch....that's for sure. Old TJ was sure quick with the speeches, but when he heard the sound of gunfire during the War for Independence, he was known to have run and hidden!

As to adjusting SS, mr. Boner would have a point if his party did not run us into two wars and spent over a trillion dollars....and never vetoed a single spending bill for all that crap. But he did all that....so him asking our old folks to pay for his mistakes does not cut it.

As to "European style", where we are now and where we are going is "imperialist style" as well as "mad max" fend for yourself style. I would rather see something a little more For the People, as opposed to "For the Warlords, Corporations and Rich dudes".

Posted by: Stuart at June 30, 2010 12:26 PM

Bashing TJ! In fairness, I should point out that too is a fascist sentiment. The Eco quote above continues, "... insofar as it is fundamentally aristocratic, and aristocratic and militaristic elitism cruelly implies contempt for the weak."

Plus, run and hidden? Sir, those are fightin' words in C'ville (jk). I assume you're talking about his conduct as governor of Virginia:

Had the facts been accurately stated, it would have appeared that this favorite fabrication amounted to nothing more than that Mr. Jefferson did not remain in his house and there fight, single-handedly, a whole troop of cavalry, whose main body, too, was within supporting distance, and suffer himself to be taken prisoner. It is somewhat singular that this supposedly egregious offense was never heard of until many years after when most of that generation had disappeared and a new one risen up. Although the whole affair happened some days before the abortive attempt at impeachment, neither his conduct on this occasion nor his pretended flight from Richmond in January previous were included among the charges.
Posted by: Russ at June 30, 2010 1:53 PM

As to Social Security, Stuart, you have completely missed the point. SS, like MLMs and Ponzi schemes, depends a broad based pyramid of people passing money up the chain. In SS and the Euro social safety net, that means a broad base of younger workers passing tax money to a smaller number of elders. It doesn't work when the pyramid turns into a column - the number of people in 5 year age cohorts are similar sized no matter which cohort you consider. Worse yet is an inverted pyramid of age cohorts and that's where the Euros are now or where they will arrive soon.
It's inflammatory to call SS a Ponzi scheme, but that is EXACTLY how the government has structured it. Worse yet is Congress' proven inability to stop adding more freebies. SS has been fixed multiple times and multiple times benefits and eligibility have been added and outstripped the fix.

'The People', as you call them, would be wise not to rely on government promises. I think in the next several years, that point will be brought home by the circumstances the Euros will find themselves in.

Posted by: chuckR at June 30, 2010 2:13 PM

OTL-you're a fine one to talk about reason.You sound just a LITTLE angry and wound up at times.
We fought a civil war that cost a million American lives largely as a result of the dispute over slavery.I think the civil rights struggle was another battle to redeem ourselves.
France hasn't gone through the blood and fire to extirpate the recent memories of colonial abuses.Belgium neither.
We have paid a price to make things right.
As far as the Native Americans go,they lost.They were also victims of genocide in some places-and exile in their own land-the Trail of Tears being the best example.
I don't begrudge them exceptional treatment.It's the right thing by way of amends.
It doesn't compare with the European colonization of virtually the whole non-Western world.
Well,China wasn't colonized inthe whole,but certainly damaged.
Japan was an exception.But they colonized Korea.
You may think I'm too hot under the collar,but I know my history and geography(important combination)and i believe in American exceptionalism.
"Viva las pobres.'My family was poor after coming here-maybe yours was,too.No one handed them a f**kin' thing.they were mostly honest and hard working.Patriotic,too in the sense of not shirking military service and being proud of America.
I get the idea Stuart thinks it beneath him to fly the flag.I could be wrong.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 30, 2010 3:11 PM
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