November 7, 2005
Will rioters burn the French social model?
Last week Paris was burning. Now it is the little town of Evreux where 50 cars were torched on Saturday night by Muslim teenagers. No problem? Evreux is 25 miles from Giverny, the home of Monet's garden and its famous Japanese bridge. The garden was restored in the 1970s by an American publishing heiresses. After the Los Angeles riots in 1992 the French were supercilious. It couldn't happen here, they sniffed. The French social model made such a thing impossible. But on Sunday after ten nights of riots, French President Jacques Chirac convened an 'emergency security meeting' to address the crisis. He could start by ordering the French pompiers to put out the blaze in the social model, a system designed to frustrate opportunity and job growth for the poor and the marginalized. Inspired by their social model, the French have a very high minimum wage, about twice the level in the United States. Ten years ago, the Joint Economic Committee of the...(Read Full Article)