Posted by Charity on March 30th, 2006

In honor of Tirade25 and her love of the French, I thought I’d post this excerpt from Cal Thomas’ column, “The French job funk,” featured today on Townhall.com.

France’s flirtation with and eventual embrace of socialism goes back more than a century. The late President Francois Mitterand effectively implemented socialism as national policy in 1981 when he issued his “110 Propositions,” which included a program to nationalize many industries. Seven of France’s largest 20 conglomerate industrial companies were nationalized, as were 36 banks and two finance companies. Mitterand’s misguided plan was designed to ensure that the government would have sources of capital for the nationalized sectors.

The French state accounts for about one-fourth of the industrial output of France. Among those employment enterprises with 2,000 or more employees, one-half are in state enterprises.

In typical socialist fashion, Mitterand tried to reverse a stagnant economy with collectivist tactics instead of using capitalist tools. As would be proved in other socialist states, a heavy government hand stifles initiative, restricts capital creation and leads the worker for the state or state-subsidized enterprise into a false sense of job security. It also makes it more difficult for one to achieve independence and success, as part of an upwardly mobile career in a position that produces products and services consumers truly want and need. In a socialist society the reverse always occurs, resulting in despair, high unemployment, mutually shared poverty and riots in the streets to protest the broken promises of the state.

I’ve always been curious as to why so many Americans, the bulk of which seem to be centered in a few liberal cities like Burlington, believe that we will be able to do socialism better.

For example, why do they want socialized medicine, even while Canada experiences out-of-control costs and excessively long waiting lines?

Why does anyone in this day and age insist upon repeating the failed experiment that is socialism? Is there something I don’t know or understand?

I don’t doubt that these people are intelligent, or at least have intelligent people among them, so there must be something I am missing. My common sense, backed by historical evidence, tells me that a government-controlled economy will be disastrous in the long term.

That’s the worst part of this whole matter. If the current forces behind US socialism ever have their way, they will have a glimpse of their utopia and die feeling like they saved us from ourselves. It will be future generations that will be left trying to salvage the ruins of this once great nation.

48 Responses to “Long live the French”

  1. Why don’t you ever address America’s national debt? That’s a form of socialism that our Republican leadership has been growing like there’s no tomorrow.

    I say it’s a form of socialism, because it isn’t private. It’s a public debt that we are responsible for. Not only that, huge portions of the money the Republicans are borrowing come from Communist China, where religion is banned; and Saudi Arabia which still has public beheadings.

    And what are we getting for it? Health Care? A decent Railroad?
    No! Decent VA benefits for people like my older brother who is stuck in Baghdad right now just trying to stay alive? No! Bush is cutting the VA budget!

    I submit the 9 Trillion Dollar national debt is going to impact futute generations much more that any entitlement program you can think of to rail against.

    Bill Clinton started to turn that around. It’s your guy that made it worse than ever. Tax cuts would be great if America was in the Black, but all they are doing now is adding massive interest we will all have to pay.

    God help us if China called in their chips tomorrow.

  2. So socialism is the way to go because… Bush is an idiot? How about actually responding to the post for a change?

    “Why does anyone in this day and age insist upon repeating the failed experiment that is socialism?”

    I have never met anyone who thought that socialism was worth a shot who didn’t stand to directly benefit from it. Occasionally politicians, usually people who don’t aspire to much and get bummed out by all the people around them who do.

  3. Well, Haik, I can do a post about the national debt. Perhaps I will.

    In the mean time, I thought you might be interested in this information I found on the Bureau of Public Debt website:

    Please follow these important steps to make a contribution to reduce the debt.

    - Make check payable to the Bureau of the Public Debt.
    - In the memo section of the check, notate Gift to reduce Debt Held by the Public.
    - Mail check to –
    ATTN DEPT G
    BUREAU OF THE PUBLIC DEBT
    P O BOX 2188
    PARKERSBURG, WV 26106-2188

    Seriously though, how is spending more money going to help the national debt? I don’t get that one.

  4. One more thing, I would be the first to agree that the Republicans are really screwing things up by spending so much money. What in the world are they thinking? (Didn’t I do a post about that? Oh, yeah.)

  5. Neither Socialism or Capitalism exist in a vacuum. They are on the same continuum. Rare is the conservative advocates a 0% tax rate. Rare is the liberal who advocates a 100% tax rate. Most people agree the goal is somewhere between the extremes.

    Any public enterprise, whether it’s the military, Burlington’s Public Works Department, Social Security, The Fire Department, FEMA, OSHA or whatever- is a socailist endeavor. In order for someone to advocate the complete abolition of socialism, they essentially have to advocate having NO government at all, and thus anarchy. Who’s gonna go for that?

    On the other hand, no liberal I know wants the aboltion of private enterprise. Most agree that whether you’re a kid with a lemonade stand or the founder of IDX, you should have a right to do business, make a profit and live a happy life. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think innovation and hard work shoudn’t be rewarded.

    The thing is finding the balance. How much tax should be levied to pay police to protect the lemonade stand from bullies? If someone gets poisoned from the lemonade, should they have a recouse in our tax-funded justice system? Should IDX get a government contract? Should there be competition for the contract? Should it be no-bid?

    My point is that there is no black and white. These issues are grey. When it comes to deficit spending and public debt, I hope liberals and conservatives can find common ground. Debt is bad.

    It’s bad for capitalism because it raises interest rates and makes capital scarce, and it’s bad for socialism because it drains money from all other responsibilities a government has to it’s people.

    I think some conservatives are stuck between their desire for less tax and their desire to balance the budget. There has never before been a time when the US has simultaniously gone to war and lowered taxes. This is causing our debt to explode.

    Since conservatives have enactacted these crazy policies, I think it’s incumbent upon them to address the issue of the Debt. It has everything to do with the topic at hand, and is only incidental to the fact that Bush is an idiot.

    Although I’m glad my nameless detractor recognizes that our Republican leader is, in fact “an idiot.”

  6. So socialism is the way to go because… Bush is an idiot? How about actually responding to the post for a change?

  7. “anonymous 1 said… “

    What is this, the online equivalent of “I know you are but what am I?” Give it up.

  8. “My point is that there is no black and white.”

    That’s all really interesting. It doesn’t address Charity’s post at all, however.

  9. “My point is that there is no black and white.”

    That’s all really interesting. It doesn’t address Charity’s post at all, however.

  10. “anonymous 1 said… “

    What is this, the online equivalent of “I know you are but what am I?” Give it up.

  11. “anonymous 1 imposter said… “

    Just because you couldn’t handle running a blog yourself doesn’t mean you have to try to ruin someone else’s.

    Charity, feel free to delete the duplicate posts.

  12. “anonymous 1 imposter said… “

    Just because you couldn’t handle running a blog yourself doesn’t mean you have to try to ruin someone else’s.

    Charity, feel free to delete the duplicate posts.

  13. Maybe I should just shut up.

  14. “Maybe I should just shut up.”

    Maybe you should, Haik. You’re making a fool of yourself.

  15. OKAY! Stop this insanity!

  16. Haik, was that a well-spoken, well-reasoned thought coming out of you? Impressive.

    You raise some good points, Haik, but I disagree with some of them.

    For one, conservatives do not want no taxes or no government programs. I have said this before, we want the government to do what it need to do, that which we cannot do ourselves, but we want then to get out of the busy-body, nanny-state mentality that they need to control every aspect of our economic freedom. They should offer protection (police, fire, army, etc.). No one has ever disputed that. The government needs to protect our rights, but not infringe upon them.

    “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think innovation and hard work shoudn’t be rewarded.”

    Are you kidding? Under FDR, taxes were raised to 94% on income over $200,000. Tell me that doesn’t punish success.

    To put the entire tax burden onto the “rich” is unfair. We should all have a portion to pay. The socialist faction in this country wants to place the entire burden on the rich to provide more and more services for the middle-class on down. They advocate “progressive” taxation which would create a small class of people (the “rich”) who carry the entire burden, effectively punishing success.

  17. Oh, yeah, one more thing. Stop being a *blogtard*. :)

  18. I have said this before, we want the government to do what it need to do, that which we cannot do ourselves

    That’s the question, isn’t it? What do we need the government to do?

    The private sector is failing to provide health coverage to 40 million people in this country. They can’t all be lazy underserving sloths.

    We agree on so much more than we disagree on. I think government should only do what we need them to do too.

    It’s just a matter of nailing down exactly what that is…

  19. I’m so poor, I’d join the Progressives for a sandwich.

  20. “The private sector is failing to provide health coverage to 40 million people in this country.”

    Coincidentally, exactly as many people are “failing to provide” the private sector with payment for that health coverage.

    With socialized medicine, “the government” would not provide health care for those people, their neighbors would. And as has been proven repeatedly, those same neighbors would see a significant degradation in the health care available to them as a result of the new system.

  21. “that which we cannot do ourselves.” Cannot do, not “will not do,” not “aren’t doing well.” We can provide healthcare with out the government. Hundreds of millions of people are.

    Did you know that the number of uninsured includes people like Rush Limbaugh, who choose to pay out of pocket for care, and people who are part of those Christian healthcare groups, that are not considered insurance? There are people who do not want HMOs or the government to have access to their medical records; they don’t have insurance, either.

    I do not think the uninsured numbers are reliable.

  22. So screw the 40 million? Let ‘em rot?

  23. Of course Limbaugh pays out of pocket. It’s easier to get black market oxycontin that way.

    (Sorry. Way too easy not to take that shot.)

    The cases of rich people paying out of pocket are so anomylous, they’re not worth mentioning unless you need a red herring.

  24. My point is that the numbers do not indicate why the people have no insurance. (Way to ignore the other examples.)

    According to the Census Bureau, 84.3% of Americans have health insurance and 15.7% have none. Hmmm. That percentage of success is like twice that of the public school test scores. Still think the system is a failure?

  25. And what would the percentage be less recipiants of Medicaid, Medicare, and programs like VHAP? Less than 84, I bet.

    And yes. As long as there is a single uninsured person in this country- the system is a failure.

    Some people from Denmark laughed at me once because I was uninsured. They couldn’t wrap their minds around it. Health insurance isn’t something they have to worry about. They’re free to focus more on other priorities. Is the Danish economy so bad? Ever been to Copenhagen? They are wealthier than us.

  26. Bzzzzt! Try again.

    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3167.htm

    “However, at present the number of working-age Danes living mostly on government transfer payments counts more than 800,000 persons (roughly 23% of the working-age population). Although this number has been reduced in recent years, the heavy load of government transfer payments burden other parts of the system. Health care, other than for acute problems, and care for the elderly and children have particularly suffered, while taxes remain at a painful level. More than one-fourth of the labor force is employed in the public sector.”

  27. Sorry. I’m going to have to go with my own eyes over Bush’s State Department website.

    Way to google, though.

  28. It is true that the economy there is strong, but over 20% of the country is on welfare and 25% of workers work for the government. They are experiencing the early signs of strain on the welfare and healthcare system from the excessive use. That is what always happens. It starts out good, but then reality kicks in.

    They have one of the highest taxation rates in the world. They also pay a 25% consumption tax tax, even on food. No thanks.

    I am not one of those “love it or leave it” types, but I am curious, why reinvent the wheel? If there are already socialist-leaning countries, why live in the US? Shouldn’t the capitalists get at least one country to live in? Where the heck are we supposed to go?

  29. Besides, what about us? Someone in Denmark could find no shortage of statistics to prove America’s system sucks ass. So?

    ‘There are lies, damn lies and statistics.’

  30. The captialist should be happy as clams in Communist China. That’s were they seem to be going with our jobs.

  31. “I’m going to have to go with my own eyes over Bush’s State Department website.”

    I met a Nigerian a few weeks ago who is doing quite well. I guess that means that Nigeria is better off than we are.

    I’ve been to Copenhagen and the state department statistics – which I guess you’re suggesting they just made up? – and their conclusions pretty much ring true.

    You can hit the wikipedia for a more dire assessment.

  32. This blogging is a sick addiction. Are your kids OK? I gotta get back to work…

    “Anonymous 1″ can take over for me. He, she or it should be happy to gave me gone for a while…

  33. Ummm..yeah. Capitalists should move to a communist country. Okaaaaaaaaaaay.

    Sorry, you lost me there.

    BTW, just so you know, my stats came from a Danish government site.

    Quote: “The tax rate in Denmark is one of the highest in the world, as Denmark has a very large public sector. The public sector looks after many things that people in other countries often have to pay for themselves or that may not even be available to the public. Danish society is expensive to run and thus requires a lot of tax funds.”

    It’s just a fact.

    Besides, you didn’t answer my question: why reinvent the wheel?

  34. Yeah, they are working on their illustrations for the Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest, but thanks for asking.

  35. Some people want to shut down lemonade stands….

    http://www3.whdh.com:80/news/a.....l/BOS3354/

  36. The National Debt is a huge problem. The Republicans are borrowing and spending which will put the burden of paying the debt and interest on the debt on our children and grand children.

    Here are a couple charts from http://www.kowaldesign.com/budget

    http://www.kowaldesign.com/bud.....eficit.gif

    http://www.kowaldesign.com/budget/images/debt.gif

    The part of the problem is people on the left have a knee-jerk reaction to small government. First we start by focusing our military spending on defense, not on a nation building or being the world’s police. This would quickly bring the budget back in line. Next we need to devolved the federal programs back to the states so politicians can be help more accountable.

    As the latest transportation budget showed with over 6000 pork projects in it, the politician in DC are not accountable to the people. We need to bring the power back home. Back to the state level, and then back to the town level wherever possible.

    If you want to help fix the budget deficit, the spending, and taxes, then get involved. Vote Libertarian! Run as a Libertarian. Come to our convention on April 29. :-)

    Hardy Machia
    Vermont Libertarian Party

  37. To follow Charity’s “logic” (a term I use loosely to describe such reasoning), because Canada has long waiting lines and “out-of-control costs”, socialism is a failed experiment.

    This reasoning must be a joke. Nevertheless, it is quite invalid logic.

    So socialism is bad and will doom capitalism to a bitter end, eh? [No, you didn't say this directly, but it was quite clearly implied] To oppose socialism is to oppose fire departments, police, roads, your parents’ social security payments, Medicare, weekends off, vacation time at work, OSHA, food safety, and tons more. In response to the above commenter who asked you about opposing these types of programs, you said, “No one has ever disputed that.”

    Yet here you are disputing it in your original post. You even asked, “Why does anyone in this day and age insist upon repeating the failed experiment that is socialism?” If that’s not you disputing yourself, then I need to find a blog that is less schizophrenic.

    Instead of using a broad brush to paint all of socialism as evil, why not be specific? If it’s healthcare you’d like to debate, then let’s stay there and talk specifics. What long lines are you referring to? I’ve seen none. Which out-of-control costs do you reference? Those of Canada or the ones proving how the U.S. spends far more than our socialist northern neighbor on healthcare?

    By the way, you left out that billionaries like Rush Limbaugh generally don’t have insurance because they will not suffer the same catastrophic consequences as those who are generally forced to declare bankruptcy.

    Gosh, where to go here… citing Cal Thomas on your blog gives your arguments as much credibility as citing Bush. The statistics and view of the world are twisted and worthy of extreme caution.

    Finally (there’s so much more, but no time to counter ever nugget of mistruth you collected from your right-wing talk shows), your logic leads one to believe that there are no rich people in the Netherlands. After all, so many are either on welfare or work for the government, right? Haven’t they been able to defeat capitalism yet?

  38. “To oppose socialism is to oppose fire departments, police, roads, your parents’ social security payments, Medicare, weekends off, vacation time at work, OSHA, food safety, and tons more.”

    The mere existence of these things in a society in no way means that that society is socialist. Nothing about living in a capitalist society precludes any of these things.

    “What long lines are you referring to? I’ve seen none.”

    Have you ever seen a US resident go up to Canada to seek a level of healthcare that is unattainable here? Because there’s an unending stream of Canadians coming down here for just that reason. I wonder why.

    And the Netherlands is a terrible example of the wonders of government involvement in the economy. Their GDP has increased and unemployment has decreased in direct proportion to the decrease in government involvement and public spending.

  39. Anyone who starts out an argument with insult is not really worth my time, but I’m feeling generous.

    “because Canada has long waiting lines and “out-of-control costs”, socialism is a failed experiment”

    Interesting you would say that in a post about France, but hey. [shrug] I was not talking only about Canada.

    “To oppose socialism is to oppose fire departments, police, roads, your parents’ social security payments, Medicare, weekends off, vacation time at work, OSHA, food safety, and tons more.”

    Sorry, you are going to have to explain that because it makes no sense.

    Socialism has to do with the collective ownership of production and distribution of goods. Opposing that has nothing to do with opposing fire departments, police, roads, or time off from work.

    And who said I supported Social Security or Medicare?

    “If it’s healthcare you’d like to debate, then let’s stay there and talk specifics.”

    Umm..yeah. I did that on the “The right to healthcare” thread.

    “citing Cal Thomas on your blog gives your arguments as much credibility as citing Bush.”

    Not really the same thing because Bush is not a conservative. Anyway, I make it clear that this is the opinion of a conservative woman, so why wouldn’t I agree with Cal Thomas?

    (I’ll let you in on a little secret, posting anonymously on a blog gives you zero credibility.)

    “your logic leads one to believe that there are no rich people in the Netherlands.”

    Who was talking about the Netherlands?

    One last thing, I don’t actually listen to any talk-shows, but you are not the first person to say I sound like a right-wing talk show host. Thank you. I consider that a compliment.

  40. (I’ll let you in on a little secret, posting anonymously on a blog gives you zero credibility.)

    Ouch! You hear that anonymous 1 and Louie De Palma? “zero credibility.” I know you wouldn’t care if I said that, but coming from Charity, it’s got to hurt.

  41. You have to use your real name to have credibilty. Everything I have ever said, including this sentence is a lie. That’s not a paradox. I have credibility. That’s true because I’m not saying anything- I’m typing! I’m SMART! I’m from HOLLYWOOD!! Thank you veddy much!

  42. “I know you wouldn’t care if I said that, but coming from Charity, it’s got to hurt.”

    I wouldn’t care if you said it because I know you don’t believe it, given the tantrums you’ve thrown over anonymous comments.

    “Everything I have ever said, including this sentence is a lie.”

    It doesn’t really work when everyone knows who you are.

  43. Sorry, Haik, Andy, or whichever personality you are right now, but anonymous 1 does have credibility based on the simple fact that he (or she) agrees with me.

    ;)

  44. I rest my case.

  45. “I rest my case.”

    Nice to see you continuing your long tradition of making no sense whatsoever.

  46. The things I write only make sense if you understand them.

    What a nice day!

  47. It is a nice day. Haik, you are a strange cat. When are we going to get back BurlingtonPol?

    We want BP! We want BP!

    Okay, gotta go. I have kids to teach. They’ll never become crazy right-wing conservatives if I blog all day!

  48. “The things I write only make sense if you understand them.”

    I think I actually understand them better than you do, and they still don’t make sense.