Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Misguided Riots

Many young, unemployed people are rioting in France.

But of course, you knew that. How could you miss the news with pictures of cars set on fire and people running through the streets?

One of the reasons given for the riots is that people have little money and want jobs.

A video from shows a brief interview with some of the young rioters. They claim that there are no jobs, nothing for them to do; another hopes for the government to provide a solution.

Yet those who hope for the government to solve their problems hope in vain. For years, the French government has passed laws that create poverty and unemployment. For years, the French people have demanded that government provide exactly what they want. When the laws that they demand are passed, their situations only worsen.

I don't understand why there is any poverty in France. They have a minimum wage that far exceeds that of the U.S. Shouldn't they be richer than us? Shouldn't all of their poverty have been abolished? France "takes care of its citizens" by providing them with health care, making it more difficult for employers to fire workers, and ensuring that workers aren't overburdened by a 40 hour work week.

CNN notes that France has an unemployment rate of 25% in some areas. Youth unemployment is even higher. Yet people in the U.S. consistently cite the policies of European countries for the U.S. to emulate, without taking into account that consequences will occur.

Allow me to direct you to a paper which examines a trend that was visible nearly ten years ago in France. The trend has only escalated to the point of the riots occurring now. Next time, let us think twice about asking our government to take care of us. Perhaps the French should too.

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