Operation Escargot and French pension reform

October 19, 2010

As public pension systems all over the world face growing shortfalls, some countries have taken steps to close the gap. In France, a movement to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 has passed the National Assembly and awaits approval in the Senate. Unwilling to concede to those that argue the French are living longer and the financial trajectory of the French pension system is unsustainable, the general public has undertaken a series of protests that are crippling….the general public.

Truckers have instituted “Operation Escargot,” a “time-honored” form of protest for the French. This involves trucks forming slow-moving convoys on major roads between Paris, Lille, and Angers, clogging the roads, stopping traffic, and causing everything to slow to a snail’s pace.

In a more impactful protest, oil refinery employees have stopped working causing many fuel stations to run out of gas. French drivers have started to line up at stations, fearing widespread shortages. Incoming flights are being told to bring extra fuel for their return legs.

Even students as young as high-school age refuse to be left out, turning to burning tires and cars.  “I don’t understand these young people who don’t know who they’re fighting against and why they are doing it. If they want to fight it, ok. But they have to understand the meaning of what they’re doing,” said a woman whose car was burnt out by students.

But we’d expect all this from the French, right? They are a generally passionate populace, after all. Though, it begs the question: when faced with the necessary cuts to bring our current fiscal crisis under control, will we respond a bit more maturely?

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15 Responses to Operation Escargot and French pension reform

  1. Rosario Beury says:

    At least the French does something to make themselves be known… We continue to allow other to think, speak and even fight for us rather take action ourselves… Talking about immaturity… We’re almost like the oblivious and childish Italian from the 30′s.

  2. Rosario Beury says:

    At least the French does something to make themselves be known… We continue to allow other to think, speak and even fight for us rather take action ourselves… Talking about immaturity… We’re almost like the oblivious and childish Italian from the 30′s.

  3. Rosario Beury says:

    At least the French does something to make themselves be known… We continue to allow other to think, speak and even fight for us rather take action ourselves… Talking about immaturity… We’re almost like the oblivious and childish Italian from the 30′s.

  4. L'angelo Misterioso says:

    Although I don’t think it’s unreasonable to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, I have to give the French credit. At least they have passion. We just sit around and watch like bystanders as we get robbed and lied to.

    There is talk of raising the age in the US from 67 to 70 and maybe 73, as well as raising the tax and cutting benefits. The politicians should keep their hands off the money. Then, there wouldn’t be a need to do this. If they keep raising the age, we all will be dead before you get a chance to collect (just what they’re hoping for). Also, if we legalize all the illegal immigrants, like the Democrats want to, that will be another 30 million recipients of Social Security, even though they didn’t contribute to the system.

  5. L'angelo Misterioso says:

    Although I don’t think it’s unreasonable to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, I have to give the French credit. At least they have passion. We just sit around and watch like bystanders as we get robbed and lied to.

    There is talk of raising the age in the US from 67 to 70 and maybe 73, as well as raising the tax and cutting benefits. The politicians should keep their hands off the money. Then, there wouldn’t be a need to do this. If they keep raising the age, we all will be dead before you get a chance to collect (just what they’re hoping for). Also, if we legalize all the illegal immigrants, like the Democrats want to, that will be another 30 million recipients of Social Security, even though they didn’t contribute to the system.

  6. L'angelo Misterioso says:

    Although I don’t think it’s unreasonable to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, I have to give the French credit. At least they have passion. We just sit around and watch like bystanders as we get robbed and lied to.

    There is talk of raising the age in the US from 67 to 70 and maybe 73, as well as raising the tax and cutting benefits. The politicians should keep their hands off the money. Then, there wouldn’t be a need to do this. If they keep raising the age, we all will be dead before you get a chance to collect (just what they’re hoping for). Also, if we legalize all the illegal immigrants, like the Democrats want to, that will be another 30 million recipients of Social Security, even though they didn’t contribute to the system.

  7. Doug Baker says:

    I will be thankful if I have the health to work to the age of 75! I want no pension, I hope to never need a penny of social security, and I remember my Father’s admonishment, when I accepted 3 months unemployment benefits, back in the late 70s! I am an American, . . better yet, I am a United States Citizen! I hope to work till the day I drop! My only desire is to be allowed to work at something I love. Socialism belittles people to working at what work is available, and it is no wonder they demand an exit strategy, so they are left with some life to use in pursuit of happiness. Here, we are encouraged to seek that happiness in our work, not in the escape from our indenture to it!
    This is what is known as “exceptionalism”. Its what the USA got right, and every other “democracy” and/ or “republic” got wrong! The sad state of affairs is every new “democracy” or “republic”, models after any and every version BUT the one that works! “The 5000 Year Leap” explains the “exceptional” nature of our nation. Read it, and you will know why the UK. France, Greece, and even Israel, keep teetering, tumbling, and bouncing from rail to rail, like ill devised billiard strategum.

  8. Doug Baker says:

    I will be thankful if I have the health to work to the age of 75! I want no pension, I hope to never need a penny of social security, and I remember my Father’s admonishment, when I accepted 3 months unemployment benefits, back in the late 70s! I am an American, . . better yet, I am a United States Citizen! I hope to work till the day I drop! My only desire is to be allowed to work at something I love. Socialism belittles people to working at what work is available, and it is no wonder they demand an exit strategy, so they are left with some life to use in pursuit of happiness. Here, we are encouraged to seek that happiness in our work, not in the escape from our indenture to it!
    This is what is known as “exceptionalism”. Its what the USA got right, and every other “democracy” and/ or “republic” got wrong! The sad state of affairs is every new “democracy” or “republic”, models after any and every version BUT the one that works! “The 5000 Year Leap” explains the “exceptional” nature of our nation. Read it, and you will know why the UK. France, Greece, and even Israel, keep teetering, tumbling, and bouncing from rail to rail, like ill devised billiard strategum.

  9. Doug Baker says:

    I will be thankful if I have the health to work to the age of 75! I want no pension, I hope to never need a penny of social security, and I remember my Father’s admonishment, when I accepted 3 months unemployment benefits, back in the late 70s! I am an American, . . better yet, I am a United States Citizen! I hope to work till the day I drop! My only desire is to be allowed to work at something I love. Socialism belittles people to working at what work is available, and it is no wonder they demand an exit strategy, so they are left with some life to use in pursuit of happiness. Here, we are encouraged to seek that happiness in our work, not in the escape from our indenture to it!
    This is what is known as “exceptionalism”. Its what the USA got right, and every other “democracy” and/ or “republic” got wrong! The sad state of affairs is every new “democracy” or “republic”, models after any and every version BUT the one that works! “The 5000 Year Leap” explains the “exceptional” nature of our nation. Read it, and you will know why the UK. France, Greece, and even Israel, keep teetering, tumbling, and bouncing from rail to rail, like ill devised billiard strategum.

  10. JDRose1985 says:

    Doug if I may ad..

    The United States actually lead the world into this depression with the phony debt based monetary system we exported to the world (65% of all financial transactions occur in USD). The way it stands now there are two options; hyperinflation or outright default.

    Time to let go of the past, this isnt the America you grew up in!

    Sold down the river by those we gave our trust to, never to be seen again. Leaving behind a legacy of debt and broken promises.

  11. JDRose1985 says:

    Doug if I may ad..

    The United States actually lead the world into this depression with the phony debt based monetary system we exported to the world (65% of all financial transactions occur in USD). The way it stands now there are two options; hyperinflation or outright default.

    Time to let go of the past, this isnt the America you grew up in!

    Sold down the river by those we gave our trust to, never to be seen again. Leaving behind a legacy of debt and broken promises.

  12. JDRose1985 says:

    Doug if I may ad..

    The United States actually lead the world into this depression with the phony debt based monetary system we exported to the world (65% of all financial transactions occur in USD). The way it stands now there are two options; hyperinflation or outright default.

    Time to let go of the past, this isnt the America you grew up in!

    Sold down the river by those we gave our trust to, never to be seen again. Leaving behind a legacy of debt and broken promises.

  13. This article fails to get to the root of the matter. To begin with, the retirement age in France is being moved from 65 to 67 – 60 is the age for a PARTIAL PENSION, which most working people probably can’t afford to live on. Second of all, nobody ought to be “indentured” to work, as Doug Baker claims above. We work to make a living. The vast majority of the wealth produced by workers goes towards the profits of corporations and is shared out among company executives and shareholders, who do virtually nothing by comparison. After a lifetime of sweat and toil, we ought to be allowed to spend out twilight years as we please, without fear of heatwaves (like those that killed the elderly in Chicago a while back) or resorting to eating cat food…..

    Third of all, WHY is the retirement age – in France or anywhere else – under attack? To balance the budget, supposedly, but why is the budget all messed up? The economic crisis is the excuse – and this crisis wasn’t caused by retirees or even workers. It was caused by the banks and the real estate system. Meanwhile, that entire industry continues to make a profit off of bleeding us dry. Wages are stagnant, we’re shackled with credit debt, and everywhere our standard of living is under attack.

    The demonstrations, strikes, and occupations in France are an example of what EVERY country needs right now. We need working people to stand up and assert themselves against their bosses and governments and dare to say, “WE make the government. WE make the country. WE are the people.” Business ought to be run in the interests of all members of society, not just for the rich.

  14. This article fails to get to the root of the matter. To begin with, the retirement age in France is being moved from 65 to 67 – 60 is the age for a PARTIAL PENSION, which most working people probably can’t afford to live on. Second of all, nobody ought to be “indentured” to work, as Doug Baker claims above. We work to make a living. The vast majority of the wealth produced by workers goes towards the profits of corporations and is shared out among company executives and shareholders, who do virtually nothing by comparison. After a lifetime of sweat and toil, we ought to be allowed to spend out twilight years as we please, without fear of heatwaves (like those that killed the elderly in Chicago a while back) or resorting to eating cat food…..

    Third of all, WHY is the retirement age – in France or anywhere else – under attack? To balance the budget, supposedly, but why is the budget all messed up? The economic crisis is the excuse – and this crisis wasn’t caused by retirees or even workers. It was caused by the banks and the real estate system. Meanwhile, that entire industry continues to make a profit off of bleeding us dry. Wages are stagnant, we’re shackled with credit debt, and everywhere our standard of living is under attack.

    The demonstrations, strikes, and occupations in France are an example of what EVERY country needs right now. We need working people to stand up and assert themselves against their bosses and governments and dare to say, “WE make the government. WE make the country. WE are the people.” Business ought to be run in the interests of all members of society, not just for the rich.

  15. This article fails to get to the root of the matter. To begin with, the retirement age in France is being moved from 65 to 67 – 60 is the age for a PARTIAL PENSION, which most working people probably can’t afford to live on. Second of all, nobody ought to be “indentured” to work, as Doug Baker claims above. We work to make a living. The vast majority of the wealth produced by workers goes towards the profits of corporations and is shared out among company executives and shareholders, who do virtually nothing by comparison. After a lifetime of sweat and toil, we ought to be allowed to spend out twilight years as we please, without fear of heatwaves (like those that killed the elderly in Chicago a while back) or resorting to eating cat food…..

    Third of all, WHY is the retirement age – in France or anywhere else – under attack? To balance the budget, supposedly, but why is the budget all messed up? The economic crisis is the excuse – and this crisis wasn’t caused by retirees or even workers. It was caused by the banks and the real estate system. Meanwhile, that entire industry continues to make a profit off of bleeding us dry. Wages are stagnant, we’re shackled with credit debt, and everywhere our standard of living is under attack.

    The demonstrations, strikes, and occupations in France are an example of what EVERY country needs right now. We need working people to stand up and assert themselves against their bosses and governments and dare to say, “WE make the government. WE make the country. WE are the people.” Business ought to be run in the interests of all members of society, not just for the rich.

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