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TIME. Bill Saporito: How We Became the United States of France

Lots of fun stuff in here...

Admit it, mes amis, the rugged individualism and cutthroat capitalism that made America the land of unlimited opportunity has been shrink-wrapped by a half dozen short sellers in Greenwich, Conn. and FedExed to Washington D.C. to be spoon-fed back to life by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. We're now no different from any of those Western European semi-socialist welfare states that we love to deride. Italy? Sure, it's had four governments since last Thursday, but none of them would have allowed this to go on; the Italians know how to rig an economy.

You just know the Frogs have only increased their disdain for us, if that is indeed possible. And why shouldn't they? The average American is working two and half jobs, gets two weeks off, and has all the employment security of a one-armed trapeze artist. The Bush Administration has preached the "ownership society" to America: own your house, own your retirement account; you don't need the government in your way. So Americans mortgaged themselves to the hilt to buy overpriced houses they can no longer afford and signed up for 401k programs that put money where, exactly? In the stock market! Where rich Republicans fleeced them.

......

We've always dismissed the French as exquisitely fed wards of their welfare state. They work, what, 27 hours in a good week, have 19 holidays a month, go on strike for two days and enjoy a glass of wine every day with lunch -- except for the 25% of the population that works for the government, who have an even sweeter deal. They retire before their kids finish high school, and they don't have to save for a $45,000-a-year college tuition because college is free. For this, they pay a tax rate of about 103%, and their labor laws are so restrictive that they haven't had a net gain in jobs since Napoleon. There is no way that the French government can pay for this lifestyle forever, except that it somehow does.




You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 08:20:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like it's all over. The Evil Empire crumbles. And deep down in the Death Star, the canteen server is ordering unbiddable Darth to take a tray.

Back to reality.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 08:23:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who would have thought that Bush would turn out to be the most communist president that America has ever had.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 08:51:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Leninist, please!  Grab the power and all of the assets.  To Hell with ideology.  All power to the Soviets! (Paulson is become chief soviet.)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 10:39:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]

For those who might not recognize the reference ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 10:21:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is uninformed, racist and stupid. But hey, it's okay, we have the gallic shrug.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 04:05:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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