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Friday, November 23, 2007

Nicolas Sarkozy Wins His First Major Reform Battle

When Nicolas Sarkozy won the French elections, the French made a statement that their socialistic tendencies were destroying their country and he ran on a platform that is quoted as being very "un-French" and that was "work more-earn more".

Nicolas Sarkozy understood that the path that had led them to the breaking point, the government entitlement path, was unsustainable, and he promised to turn around decades of socialism and to restore the "value of work, authority, merit and respect for the nation.”

By choosing Mr Sarkozy, France turned a deaf ear to warnings that his plans to restore the work ethic, cut welfare and fight crime would lead to violence.

Today Nicolas Sarkozy has won his first battle in the war of reform when the railway strikers gave up and went back to work.

Yesterday, the strike of rail and subway workers that has crippled France for nine days was clearly crumbling, as workers began returning to work in large numbers and union branches conceded that support for the dispute is collapsing.

"We think a dynamic of return to work has begun," Julie Vion, a spokeswoman for France's state-owned railroad network, SNCF, said.

Union leaders began to concede defeat yesterday. "We have to face reality. Since yesterday's negotiations, things have changed. The strike is no longer the solution. The strike strategy is no longer winning," a leader of the Sud union representing Paris underground railway workers, Philippe Touzet, said in an interview with Bloomberg News.

This specific battle was over special pensions that have allowed railway workers and a select group of others to retire after 37 1/2 years, or as young as 50. These pensions cost the government more than $10 billion a year.

France gives us a unique ability to to see one possible future for America by showing us what led France to the edge of ruin.

An article written back in May, before the French election, by the Telegraph, gave us this window and highlighted where France had gone wrong and the challenges that faces Sarkozy in the coming years.

Please notice the portions I put in bold and compare it to the liberal agenda of our own politicians and the policies they are pitching to Americans around our country.

France's post-war rulers took the view that, to heal the wounds of 1940-44, they had to govern for all the French, not merely for a particular group within France.

What that has effectively meant is that the majority of French are bought off with a lavish welfare state and jobs on the public payroll, financed by a minority who pay high taxes for the privilege of living in France. That deal, however, is almost completely broken. Business has had enough of bankrolling bureaucracy and funding feather-bedding. Well-known French individuals, such as the popular singer and actor Johnny Hallyday, have sundered their ties with the country and gone to live abroad because of the penal wealth tax, which led to Hallyday complaining that he now has to send two thirds of his annual income to the French treasury.

Some of that sound familiar?

The people of France may doubt that Sarkozy can fulfill all of his election promises of reform but they voted him in to power based on those promises and in the first battle of many to come, the public backed Sarkozy because they have had enough.

For more than a week France has seen strike after strike in opposition to his countrywide economic reforms, the university shutdowns, the chaotic traffic jams, the street demonstrations, all of which had worked in the past, this time has run into two brick walls.... Nicolas Sarkozy and the people of France themselves.

The public has become aggravated and annoyed at those striking to hold on to a socialist agenda that the people voted to change in the May elections and by standing behind Sarkozy now, they have given his reform policies a fighting chance to work.

Sarkozy still has an uphill battle ahead of him but the latest polls show a significant increase in support from the weekend before with 66% of the public standing behind him and his ideas of reform.

The stage is set, the changes are beginning, and we have this unique opportunity to learn the lessons that France has learned without having to sink to the depths of ruin beforehand.

"Work more- earn more", a philosophy to live by.