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Socialism Raises it's Ugly Head Again. This time it's France. Next time it will be America,

Birthpangs 2012/05/08 15:19:32
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Last weekend, the people of France took a sharp turn to the left, and the rest of Europe may be on the brink of rebuking its recent tack toward fiscal responsibility. With Sunday's election of French Socialist leader Francois Hollande, France has leapt backward toward the policies that have helped sink the continent in a sovereign debt crisis. Disturbingly, the big government platform Hollande campaigned on is all too familiar to the American people, and if the United States is not careful, it could suffer the same fate as its European allies.

Hollande sailed to victory by appealing to an electorate dissatisfied with having to face necessary cutbacks, proclaiming that he is "proud to have been capable of giving people hope again." That brand of hope called for a change from President Nicolas Sarkozy's relatively conservative policies -- in his first term, Sarkozy worked to reduce the number of public sector employees, eliminate the 35-hour work week, reform the university system and cut taxes.

Hollande, by contrast, promised to raise taxes on big corporations and wealthy individuals, implement a top rate tax of 75 percent, increase public spending by 20 billion euros, raise the minimum wage, hire 60,000 more teachers, and lower the retirement age from 62 to 60 for some workers. He says he is "president of the youth of France" and believes that government stimulus, not cutting spending, is the right way to achieve economic growth.

If you've been a student of President Obama's presidency, much of this should sound familiar. President Obama came into office on a promise of hope and change, appealed to young Americans and promised renewed prosperity. His solution was more government spending to the tune of a near-trillion-dollar stimulus, a government-run health care plan, a bailout of government unions, and a call for higher taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations.

The difference between the United States and France is that the latter is much further down the path of a social welfare state. Hollande's proposals are not a new direction, they're merely a return to form. France is notoriously emblematic of the European way of life. As Daniel Hannan, a member of the European Parliament, describes in Why America Must Not Follow Europe, "Long vacations, paternity leave, a higher minimum wage, a short working week: What's not to like? The trouble is that eventually the money runs out."

In France, the money has indeed run out. The country's public debt now stands at more than 80 percent of GDP, government spending is at 55 percent of GDP, the tax burden is equivalent to 42 percent of total domestic income, and it hasn't balanced its budget since 1974.

The United States, unfortunately, is headed in much the same direction. As Heritage's Federal Budget in Pictures shows, U.S. debt stood at 67 percent of GDP in 2011, but unless the United States controls its spending, its debt will surpass that of France, Italy and even Greece, hitting 187 percent of GDP by 2035. Spending on Medicare, Medicaid, the Obamacare subsidies, and Social Security will devour all revenues by 2045, and taxes are soaring past their highest levels ever. And as for the budget, the U.S. Senate hasn't passed one in three years -- let alone brought it to balance.

The world has seen what lies at the end of this road to perdition. Though France is a prime example of a country that is spending itself into crisis, Greece has already gone beyond that tipping point. The country's debt has exploded, 21.8 percent of its people are unemployed, and among the youth, more are out of work than have jobs. In the face of belt-tightening measures that came as a condition of an EU/IMF bailout -- which include public sector pay cuts and pension reductions -- the country turned to open political revolt with violent riots in the streets. In elections this week, Greek voters rejected the political parties that support fiscal responsibility and instead turned toward the Radical Left.

If there is any bright spot in Europe's far left turn, it came Friday in the re-election of Boris Johnson, the Conservative mayor of London. Johnson campaigned for tax cuts and eliminating public sector waste in the hopes of spurring job growth. But alas, France's return to the deeply entrenched socialist policies could signal an end to the fiscally responsible measures that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has championed, leading to economic disaster.

Though Europe is an ocean away, the policies that are sinking the continent could have the same impact in the United States if replicated here. Endless spending has dire consequences, and if America is not careful, it could follow Europe's path to economic ruin.

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Top Opinion

  • BrianD3 2012/05/08 16:12:48
    What are the French people thinking? Are they nuts?
    BrianD3
    +6
    they are FRENCH, it is to be expected....

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  • Ginger 2012/06/04 20:35:31
    What are the French people thinking? Are they nuts?
    Ginger
    +1
    I'm french and with those results of the election , i really thought 'are french people thinking?are they nuts? /Moreover we can see what done socialism in Spain , french are never satisfied .
  • m75012 2012/05/22 16:59:02
    Other
    m75012
    +1
    "Socialisme" in French does not mean "socialism" in English... The "parti socialiste" is a CENTER-left party...
  • Birthpangs m75012 2012/05/22 19:30:07
  • m75012 Birthpangs 2012/05/26 18:40:27
  • Ginger m75012 2012/06/04 20:37:05
    Ginger
    +1
    No 'le parti socialiste' is left party . And socialism means the same thing in all languages .
  • Mark 2012/05/10 13:08:07
    What are the French people thinking? Are they nuts?
    Mark
    +1
    I wouldnt worry yet in USA. Even the conservative party under Sarkozy was slightly to the left of the Democrats. you have a long way to go.
    If the Occupy Wallstreet gang had their way, you'd be like Venezuala or Argentina by now.
  • Birthpangs Mark 2012/05/10 13:20:34
  • Vision of Verve 2012/05/10 01:38:09
  • Ginger Vision ... 2012/06/04 20:46:04
    Ginger
    +1
    If you think french are pretencious no problem but what is the link compared with France's election result .
  • stevmackey 2012/05/10 01:35:53
    What are the French people thinking? Are they nuts?
    stevmackey
    +1
    I do not know. I know that we saved their butts fro m the Germans in two wars. They keep making friends with the wrong people.
  • Soviet Revolution 2012/05/09 08:31:27
    Other
    Soviet Revolution
    France becoming Communist? I wish.
  • Birthpangs Soviet ... 2012/05/09 12:23:18
  • Soviet ... Birthpangs 2012/05/10 10:03:25
    Soviet Revolution
    Your implying Communism is bad for people? Compare CCCP to tbe modern versions of the 15 countries or Batista to Castro?
  • Mark Soviet ... 2012/05/10 13:09:57
    Mark
    +1
    The theory of communism is all well and good, the reality can never work. Yes do compare the old USSR to the modern seperated countries. Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania have prospered thanks to capitalism.
  • Soviet ... Mark 2012/05/11 00:49:40
    Soviet Revolution
    +1
    They are more Facist they are now honoring the Nazi as "Heros who fought the Soviets"
  • Birthpangs Soviet ... 2012/05/11 18:23:21
  • Soviet ... Birthpangs 2012/05/13 01:07:27
    Soviet Revolution
    Again I could ask you the same question.
  • Birthpangs Soviet ... 2012/05/14 12:32:09
  • Soviet ... Birthpangs 2012/05/17 02:52:15
    Soviet Revolution
    Ask the Native Americans and most of the graves we have made aren't here but in other countries.
  • Birthpangs Soviet ... 2012/05/17 14:21:11
  • Soviet ... Birthpangs 2012/05/17 18:15:29
    Soviet Revolution
    As is yours.
  • Birthpangs Soviet ... 2012/05/18 13:19:37
  • Ken 2012/05/09 01:43:41
    Other
    Ken
    The sooner the better, so it can fail and they will have to start over again.
  • Wolfman 2012/05/08 17:32:18
    What are the French people thinking? Are they nuts?
    Wolfman
    +2
    The stupid surrender monkeys voted to not pay their bills and bankrupt themselves. They will become a third-world country.
  • Demonic Rat Hunter 2012/05/08 17:27:45
    Other
    Demonic Rat Hunter
    +2
    What is it that drives these idiots to happily and gladly run to Communism. Once they have complete ccontrol you will then be placed in Slave Labor Jobs for the berrterment of the State. communism is slavery
  • whitewulf--the unruly mobster 2012/05/08 17:22:57
  • Rusty Shackleford 2012/05/08 16:16:09
    Other
    Rusty Shackleford
    +4
    What do you mean "next time"? What do you call the last three years?
  • Birthpangs Rusty S... 2012/05/08 16:46:34
  • BrianD3 2012/05/08 16:12:48
    What are the French people thinking? Are they nuts?
    BrianD3
    +6
    they are FRENCH, it is to be expected....
  • Ginger BrianD3 2012/06/04 20:51:56
    Ginger
    +2
    True , they have the power to forget everything , even something which happened yesterday . We had bad memories with socialism during 14 years but like they were against Sarkozy they just want to retry something which didnt work .
  • Steverno~POTL~PWCM~JLA 2012/05/08 16:00:52
    Other
    Steverno~POTL~PWCM~JLA
    +4
    I'm guessing that France has reached the place we're rapidly moving toward.That there are more people demanding more "free" government money & services.Then there are people actually working & paying taxes to pay for all those "free" government money & services.

    Add in the need to "punish the "rich" for the sin of being motivated,successful & having more personal wealth,then the majority of the French that are unmotivated,unsuccessful & have nothing that wasn't paid for by other people's tax money.

    These rich and motivated French people are already making plans to move out of France.To other countries in Europe.Where their abilities to create wealth for themselves & others are still valued!
  • Birthpangs Stevern... 2012/05/08 16:47:23
  • Stevern... Birthpangs 2012/05/08 16:53:34
    Steverno~POTL~PWCM~JLA
    +2
    I heard on a talk radio show that a lot of the rich are planning to leave the country if Obama gets reelected.In another words "Get out while the getting out is still good" !
  • Birthpangs Stevern... 2012/05/08 16:55:03
  • Stevern... Birthpangs 2012/05/08 17:01:43 (edited)
    Steverno~POTL~PWCM~JLA
    I'm sure there are plans in the works,to stop people for exited the country.Or at least not letting them leave with their assets!

    Case in point : Congress Giving IRS the Power to Revoke Passports over Taxes?
    http://patriotupdate.com/2101...
  • Birthpangs Stevern... 2012/05/08 17:09:37
  • Birthpangs 2012/05/08 15:21:55

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