So, it looks like Sarkozy took a nosey. (you get it? Like, he took a ‘nose dive’- see what I did there? did ya? Yup. #lameismygame)
The socialist party in France has gained presidential power for the first time in over twenty years and this has a lot of French people scared crapless for a few reasons:
Most of what I learned about socialism came from high school history class (I still have a mental image of communist Russians collecting their rationed shoes and clothing) – but the basic idea is that a country shouldn’t have wide divides between rich and poor, but one big, thriving middle class. Everyone should have the same rights and be pretty much at the same economic level. So, they tax the wealthy. Basically a ‘take from the rich and give to the poor, robin hood’ type deal.
Thus the funny photo here, showing all the rich French people heading for the Swiss border. Unfortunately, like the image suggests- if big corporations are taxed too severely, they might be forced to take their business and their (much needed) labor/employment some place less expensive (like China) - further depleting the economy and job market here.
Another problem with trying to create an economically equal middle class is that, in addition to taking from the rich – you have to pick the poor and disfavored out of the gutter (which costs time, money, and resources) and try and teach them how to be middle class. Since most of the poor and disfavored in France are un-integrated Muslim and African legal immigrants, this means awarding them help and benefits. But with a lot of French feeling as though their cultural identity is already being threatened by this population (i.e.: A different birthplace+ a different culture+ different religion + different language = you’re not French, dudes!), they’re appalled at the thought of the nation’s money being spent to benefit the ‘non-French’ who’ve come here to take their jobs and collect benefits. And they’re afraid this will incite even more immigration in a country that is already suffering from job and housing crises.
Needless to say, it definitely didn’t please the French to see African, Palestinian, and Algerian flags at the Bastille for Hollande’s speech yesterday when, logically, this is a French election with two French candidates. And, um, oh yeah, we’re in FRANCE!
The French aren’t reassured by what’s happened/happening in Greece. Basically the socialist regime in Greece lied about their debt, their economy collapsed and they’re in the midst of uprisings and riots galore. Like Greece, France has a huge international debt and is in economic crisis. They’re also, like Greece, suffering from rises in immigration, unemployment and housing costs. It would only be on a hop, skip and jump for the French to end up where Greece is. So, yeah. Scary.
The last socialist president, Mitterand, was kind of a gangsta. His regime used money and fear to put pressure on national media and journalists for their own benefit- covering up personal and political scandals for himself and those in his entourage. Also, a lot of the national debt was acquired during his reign when programs to build a crapload of housing for the disfavored, establish free health care for all, and give money to the willingly unemployed (in addition to the unwillingly unemployed) pretty much sucked up every penny the government had.
So, there you have it- The French socialist debate in a nutshell (well,creepy style). I have to ask- what is the American’s take on all of this? Is it getting any coverage in the U.S.? Do you think a socialist government (while having noble intentions) can succeed in maintaining a politically, culturally, and financially strong country?