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France protests could hint at America’s future

Apr 26, 2023

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The protests in France over President Macron’s pension reforms show no signs of slowing down. After weeks of unrest that included burning cars and police firing tear gas, French citizens are now using their pots and pans to make their displeasure known over Macron’s plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Straight Arrow News contributor Newt Gingrich says the France protests suggest a society in steep decline and argues it could be a hint at America’s future.

President Macron couldn’t get any reform through. So he used a clause in the French Constitution which allows the president to have a motion of confidence in the Parliament. And as long as he wins that motion, he can impose a rules change that’s dramatic. Now, the change is to go from 62 years for retirement to 64 [years old]. The result was an explosion. The rail unions went out on strike, virtually every union in the country is now striking, people are in the streets, cars are being burned. They’ve had two solid weeks now of absolute riots, over going from [age] 62 to 64, and it’s just a symptom of what’s happening. 

The French economy is collapsing, they are rapidly running out of money, the cost of food is rising dramatically, people are not safe. And that doesn’t count the areas where they have huge numbers of illegal immigrants who live in neighborhoods that are called no-go zones, because they’re so dangerous. The police won’t go in unless they basically have a military-scale reinforcement, because it’s just literally going to explode with violence. 

You ought to watch carefully because France, which was at one time a major power, is disintegrating. And when you look at their difficulty of dealing with their fiscal problems, and you look coming down the road at the price of Medicare or the price of Social Security, the scale of our deficits, it’s pretty sobering to realize that the Western democracies, all of them, are having a huge problem coming to grips with reality. And … the politics of survival may be very different than the finances of survival and the two may collide in a way which makes America’s future more difficult.

And if you watch France, it’s a very sobering study in what happens when the political system breaks down. People no longer trust their government, and they literally can’t solve their problems.

People should be paying attention to what’s happening in France. The French system is decaying, verging on collapse. They can’t get any kind of major reforms through. Finally, President Macron, in a moment of desperation, the French have the youngest retirement age in Europe. It started at 60 right after World War II. It’s now 62. And of course, they live much longer; women in France, I think, live to to be 89 on average. And so people are getting pensions that were supposed to originally be for about five years. And now they’re for 20 years. The result is the system’s going broke. 

President Macron couldn’t get any reform through. So he used a clause in the French Constitution which allows the president to have a motion of confidence in the Parliament. And as long as he wins that motion, he can impose a rules change that’s dramatic. Now, the change is to go from 62 years for retirement to 64 [years old]. The result was an explosion. The rail unions went out on strike, virtually every union in the country is now striking, people are in the streets, cars are being burned. They’ve had two solid weeks now of absolute riots, over going from 62 to 64, and it’s just a symptom of what’s happening. 

The French economy is collapsing, they are rapidly running out of money, the cost of food is rising dramatically, people are not safe. And that doesn’t count the areas where they have huge numbers of illegal immigrants who live in neighborhoods that are called no-go zones, because they’re so dangerous. The police won’t go in unless they basically have a military-scale reinforcement, because it’s just literally going to explode with violence. 

You ought to watch carefully because France, which was at one time a major power, is disintegrating. And when you look at their difficulty of dealing with their fiscal problems, and you look coming down the road at the price of Medicare or the price of Social Security, the scale of our deficits, it’s pretty sobering to realize that the Western democracies, all of them are having a huge problem coming to grips with reality. And … the politics of survival may be very different than the finances of survival. And the two may collide in a way which makes America’s future more difficult. And if you watch France, it’s a very sobering study in what happens when the political system breaks down. People no longer trust their government, and they literally can’t solve their problems.

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