Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Sarkozy...

...After getting elected with such fanfare and promise barely a year ago, Nikolas Sarkozy (“Sarko the American”) finds himself mired with an approval rating worse than G W Bush’s and only slightly better than the Reid-Pelosi Congress, at 20%.


Well, he’s managed, as reformers, especially ineffectual ones, are wont to do, to piss off BOTH the Left and the Right, BOTH supporters and detractors, alike.

He’s failed to provide anything more than lip service to his centerpiece issue – Third World immigration to France. Add to that his failures to get real concessions from France’s massive and militant Unionists, and that’s provided a recipe for disaster!

Had he followed through on his immigration platform alone, the Right would not be put off and his approval ratings would’ve more than doubled, perhaps, some say, even tripled!

But now, at long last he’s looking to do something substantial – END France’s 35 hour work week. France’s annual hours worked (1,555 hours) ranks only above Germany’s 1,433 hours, and trailing other Western nations like the USA (1708 hours) and Italy (1,800 hours).

France’s Unions were caught off guard by this move and were set to meet this Thursday (June 5) to decide whether to strike.

Ironically enough, the French workweek was reduced from 39 hours to 35 hours back in 1998 to allow more people into the French workforce and although initially more jobs were created, the results have been “mixed” since that initial surge.

Once again, it seems as though we can look forward to yet another Summer of labor unrest in France.


Seane-Anna said...

Too bad for Sarkozy. I had such hopes for him. Sigh.

JMK said...

Me too.

I think the problems facing France, like those facing ALL the West are daunting and the opposition to market-based reforms is very strong by those who see themselves as beneficiaries of the failed Keynesian policies.

What's sad is the almost universal trait among Conservative or pro-market leaders to capitulate to their adversaries in order to placate "the mob" and buy a cotly temporary peace.

It costs them the support of their Conservative base and worse yet, the problems still get worse so long as nothing constructive (pro-market) gets done.

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