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Guillaume, your post is, as the French say, stitched with white thread, meaning you can clearly see its ulterior motives. What you want to make out is that the French economy is irremediably screwed, in particular, according to you, by the failure of grandiose government schemes.

But really, you do go on a lot...

England wears makeup, you say (which is meant to belittle critiques of the supposedly fabulous UK economy) -- but a little further on, you're ready to admit the possibility of the British economy going belly up! (This because you want to make the exaggerated point about French expats working in Britain in such numbers as to lead us to believe French unemployment would be 50% greater without it! In other words, Guillaume, the UK employs one third of the French unemployed?)

You paint a horrifying, Zolaesque picture of industrial suburbs inhabited by the over-seventies who haven't worked in years. Perhaps. But the UK is no better. You tell us it's common to find people with a master's degree and three languages working as secretaries. Really? Is that common? (I'm tempted to ask you why these people haven't buzzed off to England...)

Your points about a major government programme of public works are really specious. First you use the theme to take a dig at government expenditure. With your kind of attitude, it's no use talking about Tennessee Valley anything, you're just not on the same page. Then you make the surprising development that such programmes, meant to create jobs for the French, would in fact necessitate huge immigration (!?) Guillaume, if construction companies are understaffed at the moment (not chronically, the situation was not the same ten years ago, for example), it's because demand, particularly in house-building, is high; employers have difficulty finding enough highly-skilled workers. If immigration solved that problem, they'd be bringing in immigrants. But the truth is that migrant workers in construction are mostly unskilled. The Polish plumber is a myth. Growth in Eastern Europe will keep most skilled workers from those countries in demand at home.

This is not to say that I believe a Tennessee Valley-type programme is the right kind of response to unemployment today. But to build this strawman argument to allow you to reach the conclusion that Le Pen would take power beggars imagination.

So, by all means teach your kids independence. I'm all for it. But don't weep crocodile tears over social problems when all you've got on offer's a fairly rancid form of hatred of government intervention.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 30th, 2005 at 10:26:49 AM EST
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