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France And Its Ways  
User currently offlineToulouse From Switzerland, joined Apr 2005, 2758 posts, RR: 58
Posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 3459 times:

WARNING: LONG!!!!

A personal disclaimer... this is a personal rant. This thread is in no way intended to provoke any derogatory posts towards the French or France in general, so I’d ask anyone who wants to make some wise mark or take a cheap shot at this country, to think before posting.

My reason for posting has two objectives: firstly to rant and get something off my chest, and secondly to get the insight of other foreigners living in France and of course the opinions of native French a.netters are welcome!

So a quick bit of background. I’ve been living in France for some 7 years’ now. What is my general impression of France: it’s a magnificent country, filled with incredible culture, history, sights, landscapes. And my impressions of the French? Knowing it’s not good to generalise about an entire nationality, but well, here’s my view. To be honest, I was rather surprised once I arrived as I found the French to be much more welcoming than I had expected. In general, they are very courteous people, sometimes even over-courteous and one sometimes must be forgiven for wondering how genuine their politeness is. They are friendly in general, and I must say I have always been made feel welcome. On the other hand, they are rather reserved for my liking, and striking up good friendships is difficult. When I compare to them to the people back home, well I love going back to Ireland as I find the Irish to be friendlier in an “informal” way, and are much more down-to-earth than the French. But all in all, the French are human beings as we all are, each person is an individual, but overall my impressions of the French in a “generalised” view are positive.
And here is my “but”, the reason for my rant. I CANNOT stand the system! I’m sick of it! It’s been driving me mad since I arrived, made me very bitter for a while, now I just view it all as stupidity and don’t let it bother me. Possible mainly because myself and the missus have decided it may be time to leave this beautiful country, and knowing that, I can’t wait to leave. Don’t get me wrong French friends, I have no regrets over my 7 years in France, have made good friends, and plan to return many times, but on holidays... as in my view, France is a great place for a holiday, but to live, Non merci!

Why you may ask? Well it all boils down to the bloody French system, bureaucracy, everything implemented by the government, which while I think many politicians are useless world-wide, the bunch of idiots that always seem to lead this country are just making things worse and worse for the French people.

So some things that annoy the hell out of me:

The tax system: it’s tax after tax over here! Tax for this, tax for that and tax for the other! I recently read that the French are one of the most highly taxed people in the world. Income tax (and wow, those are complicated forms to fill in leading to you making as many mistakes as possible, especially if you’re a foreigner, and thus they can penalise you). I pay two forms of property tax, in addition to their TV tax (€116 for their shi**y TV). I get two different types of water bills. We did some work on our house last year, and I just received a tax bill for... yes you guessed it... doing renovation work on my house!
Now my big error was that I was a freelancer here, and that’s where the screw you ROYALLY! On top of all the above, I have had to pay corporate tax, professional tax and an endless and totally nonsensical infinite list of different taxes towards their bloody social security system. They have this great organisation here called the URSSAF who set your business up for you and make it all seem fine and rosey when doing so, and then once set up, do the best to bleed every last cent out of you and seem intent on putting you out of business as soon as possible. You pay them about 3 different type of social taxes per year, which seem to be duplicated or even tripled as some of the same charges (difficult to know as they loving using acronyms for all charges here) in other taxes. Then the actual Tax Authorities (the URSSAF is part of the Social Security system) send you a whopping bill they call “SOCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS”, and me thinks each time I receive it what the f**k have I been paying to the URSSAF (which is basically an acronym for the entity in charge of collecting social security charges)! Apart from this you have to play a bloody organisation, called a Mutuelle and depending on the line of work you’re in, also intent on destroying you, for your pension. Then you have to pay for the “national social debt”. You also HAVE TO pay an annual sum towards continued training/courses offered, even if you don’t want to partake in them. And then to top it off, you have to pay for your social security card. And despite all this, France’s social security system is majorly in debt! My opinion, the system is totally flawed! Of course, if you’re an employee, while wages really aren’t that great compared to many other EU nations, most these “social” taxes are paid by your employer. I was told it costs a French employer roughly double what you are paid in social taxes, so if you are paid for example €2000 a month, it costs your employee €4000 (€2000 for the employee and €2000 in social charges)!!! And of course, the employee still has to pay their income tax and all other domestic taxes etc.

Now the last thing you want to do in this country, is be late paying a tax bill or be in a position to not pay immediately, despite the fact the state has already eaten up most your income on taxes, as they do not like that. Oh I know we all have to pay tax, but you see when you’re being taxed left, right and centre, it can get difficult in La France to actually manage to live and pay all your taxes, so if you get into a tight position, don’t worry they’ll help you! In fairness, the tax authorities are usually fair enough in my experience (yet most French people I speak to beg to differ), the ones who don’t give a damn are ALL the confusingly many social security entities eager to get your hard earned money. Don’t pay, they might send you a letter, obviously already with a hefty penalty, which of course they never send by registered post, but if you don’t get it, are unaware, forget (easy in the confusion of ALL the tax bills one faces here), one day you’ll go to use your bank card, and no money.... Heck, what happened??? Oh don’t worry monsieur, “x” entity has frozen your bank account until you pay your debt. A few days later you’ll be advised by your bank and possibly even by said entity! Of course you’ll be penalised “financially” for the pleasure of them going to “the trouble” of freezing your bank account, and of course your bank will penalise you for being bold enough to have them having to freeze your bank account and will charge you a penalty!

I have seen so many small business and freelancers go out of business here, even lose their homes and simply flee this country is unbelievable.

So that’s the tax side of it. What else can’t I stand? The bloody free medical system. “What?!” you all say? Sure, it’s great going to a doctor or into the chemist (pharmacy), flashing the little green card called the “carte vitale” and not having to pay a penny, but given all the tax I pay towards this system and the huge debt it has, I’d prefer to pay less tax, and pay a bit when I have to go to the doctor or get prescribed medicines. Then the actual abuse within the medical system. Go to a doctor with the sniffles, and they’ll send you off to see a specialist, to a laboratory to get x-rays and blood tests, all paid for courtesy of ALL the tax we pay, ahem, I meant to say by the state.

French banks... I won’t even get started. Sure, we might all complain about bank, but the French banking system is ARCHAIC with a capital “a” and does not seem to have ever heard of the term “customer relations”. And of course, not that I would as it’s something I’ve always been very careful about (no actually it happened to me once, will explain below) let a cheque bounce... sin! Crime! You’ll be black-listed on a national system until rectified, the bank will penalise you, and if it happens to you three times they’ll f**k you for a long time, keeping you in the precious black list of the Banque de France, and basically rip away any banking services to you for a long time. Before, I said it did actually happen to me once, only once. I was at that stage with a large French bank, had been with them for 3 years and had actually built up a good relationship with them. Did my personal and professional banking with them, through the same branch. Wrote out a cheque to my son’s crèche, and said crèche lodged it quickly and on the day it was lodged I was about €30 too short. The bank actually phoned me, about an hour before lunch-time and said they had a cheque which my account didn’t cover at that time, I explained I’d transferred an important sum that would arrive that same day, didn’t convince him, so I said can you wait and I’ll try to pop in before lunch if I can, and lodge the €30 difference. He said fine. As was working didn’t get there before lunch, but went at lunchtime and lodged the money through an ATM. And what happened, they bounced the cheque, charged me €60 or €90 for the bounced cheque, and low and behold, the sum I was expecting and had informed them of was credited the same day, but after they bounced cheque, and suddenly my account had much more than was necessary to for the cheque. At least they said they wouldn’t put me on the black-list! But living in the EU has its advantages, as does internet banking, as for the past number of years I’ve 95% of my banking through banks in two different EU states. And a word of warning to foreigners coming to France... opening a bank account here is an entire adventure in itself!

And speeding tickets... I’m not into speeding as I’ve stated on other threads, but about two years ago I was caught by a speed camera. It is a camera just as you come off the motorway and enter Toulouse city. Somebody wouldn’t let me in to the lane I needed, so I speeded to get in and not miss my lane, and I was rightfully caught, going at 54km in 50km/hour area. Fine of €45. Fair enough. But the fine arrived to my wife as I was in her car. I followed the instructions on the fine which did say that if a different person was driving the car (not the owner) to send them this that and the other so fine would be readdressed to correct person. I do all this, and within the time limits set out. Some 3 months later still hadn’t heard anything. Actually tried phoning them, and after listening to music waiting for somebody to answer for some 30 minutes, and being charged for calling a special number with an additional rate, hung up. Told my neighbour, French, about it later, and he said don’t phone them you idiot, probably means they forgot you so just forget it. So I did, after other French friends confirmed this. About 9 months later got a letter from a debt collector giving me 7 days OR ELSE to pay around €500 for failing to pay my speeding ticket. Never mind that I did what I was supposed to do and it was THEM who failed to send me the new fine, they still managed to figure out it was me driving and not my wife which I had told them, but didn’t bother sending me a new bill and I had to pay the +/- €500.

Just to show how “bizarre” this country’s systems are, my wife was at her gynaecologist, who is a foreigner from another EU state. She was doing one of the mandatory visits and mandatory ultrasounds. When finished he asked her to write 2 cheques if she didn’t mind, one for the consultation and another for the ultrasound and to put two different dates on them. She had no problem doing so but as she was perplexed, and we know him well, he’s an honest and good guy who has already delivered our first child, as why. Well apparently it is ILLEGAL in France for him to do this mandatory consultation and ultrasound on the same day!! But his opinion was always why make his pregnant patients come all the way to his office twice within a few days and do it all in one go. Better for all around, don’t you think? My wife certainly does as most his patients would apparently also seem to think. But last year one idiot didn’t (probably a fonctionnaire –civil servant-) and lodged a formal complaint against him, behind his back, to the social security BECAUSE he did her consultation and ultrasound on the same day!! The mind boggles, doesn’t it! And well, the social security acting in the typical sad and backward ways that the French administration does, this is what they did. They fully investigated the doctor, behind his back. And how did they investigate him? No they didn’t go directly to him, but they got the contact details of some 50 of his patients, phoned them, asked lots of questions about him and finished the calls by warning the patients to be careful as he was a fraudster! It’s just baffling, isn’t it? And this is so typical.

Other things that annoy me? Wages are relatively low, tax is incredibly high, but life remains expensive (I see it costs me about the same to fill my trolley here as it does in Dublin, where salaries are about 3 times higher on average and tax is MUCH lower). And to be honest, with all the talk of French food, the truth is we pay a fortune for substandard quality. Especially regarding meat, fish and other fresh produce, as the stuff you usually get in the supermarkets are awful. My wife, who is Spanish, even admits the quality of fresh produce (meat, fish) is far superior in Irish supermarkets to French ones’! In order out of the 3 countries we’re most familiar with, we place Spain in 1st place for quality of fresh produce in supermarkets, Ireland comes in at a very close second place, and France WAY below). Now I’m not disputing French cuisine, paying money you can get great meals at restaurants, and going to the right “market” you can get great fresh produce, just not in any of the supermarkets!

Petrol prices continue a roller-coaster ride, with no logic behind the sudden increases and drops. Having driven a bit about Europe recently, I find French petrol prices remain much higher, by as much as €0.40 per litre compared with some EU countries, but sure, that’s all down to FRENCH TAX! Then every day, somebody is on strike! Why? Nobody in France seems to agree with the striking culture, except of course all those who do it as a national hobby and disgrace the nation in the eyes of the rest of the nation. However, I might actually be up for striking or causing some national movement against the social security and tax authorities! LOL Postal system has gone down the tubes since I’ve arrived, the amount of post that goes missing is incredible. Passport control at Toulouse airport, this is my pet peeve. I get so depressed when I arrive from Dublin into Toulouse where nobody was pointing guns at me, and my our to France as well disembark is always three soldiers, who refuse to make individual eye contact, yet scrutinise each and every passenger, holding machine guns. Why? I’m arriving from Ireland or the UK, sure, we’re non-Schengen, but we’re not arriving from Afghanistan (nothing against Afghanistan, but you know what I mean!). You’ll often have a Uk flight that arrives around the same time as the DUB flight, and instead of getting more police at the passport desks, they don’t and you spend your first 20 minutes in France in a line with three soldiers staring at you and holding machine guns! And the police are paid to swipe you passport through their little machine, glare at you, but their pay doesn’t cover greeting you, smiling or the likes (there is one friendly one in Toulouse, the rest are robots).

So rant over, my fingers are tired of typing. I once remember a fellow a.netter being highly critical of France here on a.net about 5 years ago and I jumped in to defend the country. He pm’d me to say he lived in France as a foreigner, had a business, and that the state was destroying him, and many other foreigners he knew in the Mediterranean area and he was going to have to leave France. Now, I understand him.

I feel that sadly the French are generally actually disillusioned about their country. Many say it to me, and some even have been saying to me that I should go back to Ireland or somewhere else as in their opinion France is screwed and the future is bleak, and have said to me, think about your children’s future. I think they’re right. An Irish woman I know who has lived here for some 40 years, while discussing the global downturn late last year, claimed that the problem in France was that France has actually been in a form of recession for the last 35 years... perhaps she is right?

When I see all these social taxes I often think of many of our US friends here on a.net always quick to criticise us “Euros” and are socialism. I think they may actually be right concerning France, not all of Europe though. France has always been very socialist, much more so than most other EU states, and proof that this does not work is the sad state of the huge debt the country is in.

Then there’s our crèche, often suddenly closing for one reason or another. Just next Thursday the eve of the first of three long weekends here in France in May, they’ve decided to close at 10.30am to have a meeting... coincidence they do this the eve of a long weekend, I’m sure they’ll all be out of there by midday! And us parents, paying to have our children there, have to rearrange our work schedules.

The I learnt about the schooling system, my son is starting this September... it’s a nightmare. They seem to have a 2 week holiday nearly every 6 weeks. Friday is a half-day, and no school on Wednesday (just am classes for students having difficulties)!! It’s mad!

If you’re planning on moving to France, don’t let me put you off necessarily! If you’re retiring here, fine come along, it’s a great place to retire to (albeit all the local taxes, but it’s only in business that you’re truly screwed), if you have employment, come, as a student, come, but if you’re planning on setting up a business, BEWARE unless you have huge sums of money in your bank account! When I decided to be an entrepreneur here in France, something that should in theory benefit the national economy, many friends here in France, both French and foreign, told me it may not be a wise decision... sadly I didn’t listen to them.

All this has made me very bitter about living in France. It’s a pity as it’s just the system, the administration, the government that has done this. I do love the country itself, and like the French, but my time here is finished. You know the celebrity show “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!”, well I’ve recently nicknamed my current life as “I’m a foreigner trying to make a living in France, get me out of here!”. I can’t wait to be able to leave.

Again dear French members, please do not take offence. This is not an attack on the French people or your beautiful country, simply an attack on the system so many of residing here in France suffer on a daily basis, and 99% of the French people I know, agree 100%.

Sorry for the rant!


Long live Aer Lingus!
54 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2711 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3369 times:



Quoting Toulouse (Thread starter):
Again dear French members, please do not take offence. This is not an attack on the French people or your beautiful country, simply an attack on the system so many of residing here in France suffer on a daily basis, and 99% of the French people I know, agree 100%.

You've always seemed a reasonable guy to me, Toulouse, so I will try to be sympathetic. However, if I may say so, you do sound quite the bitter expat right now and that's not very becoming. You've moved from your regular defense of France as a whole to your current extreme negativity, I believe, primarily because you've taken the decision to move on. Don't misunderstand; I'm not neglecting the genuine slog it is in this country to run a small business start up; decades of previous socialist governments have put in place so much bullshit wealth 'redistribution' that it will take decades to unravel it all. I'm insulated from that to a large extent because I work for a huge corporate. Even if I pay relatively high taxes, however, the do not appear to be as high as my colleague working in the same company in NY! I'm serious.

So, my observation is that you are allowing your existential disposition of having decided to move on, combined with a reservoir of pent up (understandable) frustrations, to turn you into the bitter French expat. Don't do that. Just call a spade a spade, love Ireland, love France and philosophically move on. I have too many friends who have gone the same way and it can be quite an ugly phenomenon.



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineBraybuddy From Ireland, joined Aug 2004, 5633 posts, RR: 32
Reply 2, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3353 times:

You don't paint a pretty picture, Toulouse, but before you even think of relocating back to Ireland just remember how bad things are here, and are going to be, given the recent massive increase in unemployment and the severity of the recent emergency budget. No one knows where this global recession is going, or when things will start to recover, so my advice to you would be -- unless things are really bad for you there -- hold tight for the moment until at least there's some light at the end of the tunnel.

I've read and heard similar stories to yours about France, and I think everyone expected Sarkosy to at least start reforming the country. Doesn't seem to be that way though, and he seems more interested in insulting and offending foreign leaders that sorting out his own backyard.

For every story you have about France, I'm sure I could dig out an equivalent one about an inefficient and bureaucratic civil service here. And you have the freeloading class who piggyback on everyone's taxes and contribute nothing to society. I heard one young woman on the news last week, after the budget, complaining that her monthly €900 rent allowance was being cut to €825. You can be sure she's getting single parent benefit, and also a nice monthly childeren's allowance to boot. Also, as the recession bites, taxes are going up, disruption in services is guaranteed, petty crime is expected to increase . . . need I say more!

I'd say this is not a good time to make life-changing decisions, unless absolutely necessary.


User currently offlineToulouse From Switzerland, joined Apr 2005, 2758 posts, RR: 58
Reply 3, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3318 times:



Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 1):
You've always seemed a reasonable guy to me, Toulouse, so I will try to be sympathetic

OzGlobal, thank you. I am reasonable, I hope!

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 1):
However, if I may say so, you do sound quite the bitter expat right now and that's not very becoming. You've moved from your regular defense of France as a whole to your current extreme negativity, I believe, primarily because you've taken the decision to move on. Don't misunderstand

Of course you may say so. I agree with what you say but would like to jump in in my defence. I don't really think I am a bitter expat, yet anyway! As you said at the end of your post, the time has come to move along, and I just highlight that I did say I will not see my 7 years in France with any form of regret. I bought my first house here (always rented before), my first child was born here and I always want his to be proud of his French "origin" and will instill this in him (and looks like my second child will also be born here). And I guarantee you my friend, I will continue my regular defense of France here on a.net. My negativity is extreme, granted, but it is in no way aimed at the French people, the style of life in France, etc. It is aimed I suppose simply, as you put it, too many years of (quite extreme) socialism which I think the country is only really starting to pay for, and I don't see an easy way out.

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 1):
I'm not neglecting the genuine slog it is in this country to run a small business start up; decades of previous socialist governments have put in place so much bullshit wealth 'redistribution' that it will take decades to unravel it all.

Totally agree with you.

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 1):
So, my observation is that you are allowing your existential disposition of having decided to move on, combined with a reservoir of pent up (understandable) frustrations, to turn you into the bitter French expat. Don't do that. Just call a spade a spade, love Ireland, love France and philosophically move on

It is possible that the fact we have taken the decision to move (but planning is going into this, and I can't se us relocating until next year at the earliest) have made my bottled up anguish come to a head, but don't worry, I'm not a bitter French expat! I agree with your advice, and I will always love Ireland, and will also always love France even when I've moved on, and believe it or not, I'm sure France will become my prime choice as a holiday destination when I leave as I have made some very good friendships here, and despite being here for 7 years, there is still so much of this incredibly country for me to see.

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 2):
You don't paint a pretty picture, Toulouse, but before you even think of relocating back to Ireland just remember how bad things are here, and are going to be

Hi Braybuddy! No, it's not a pretty picture at all. However, I do think it is mainly a picture of what it's like to try and run a small/medium sized business here. I did want to return to Ireland, but alas that's not where we'll be going (my wife, Spanish as you know, loves Ireland and the Irish, but says she couldn't stick the climate... she says the climate in Toulouse is already on her limits of "acceptably" sunny/warm climates!). So, it would actually be a return to Spain, where I already lived for 10 years, yet to a totally different area.

Slightly off topic, I always empahsise that things are bad everywhere, despite the fact that RTE and the Irish press in general are having a field day painting an incredible picture of doom and gloom. People are losing their jobs everywhere. Imho, the Irish are getting a reality check, and you must remember you are falling from much higher than many of your European counterparts. Irish salaries were and remain extremely high in comparison to most other EU states. And money was just to readily available in Ireland, with people buying every last gadget possible the past 10 to 15 years, something you don't see to the same extent abroad. I believe the future is not half as negative as the Irish press is making you believe. To give you a quick example, while waiting to board my EI flight in TLS last week some Irish couple caused havoc demanding their seats be changed so they'd be together. They were very rude about it. The girl behind me was laughing and looked French, I turned to her asking if she was French, she replied "oui", and I said something like "don't worry, we're not all like those two". She responded that she knew how friednly we were. I'd say she was only about 25, told me she relocated to Ireland in December and planned on staying. She was offered a job and the salary was double what her dad is earning in quite a respectable managerial position in a company we often refer to here on a.net with it's head-offices in Toulouse... you get the hit!)! She knows of about 15 friends from Toulouse she told me who have also relocated to Ireland in the past 6 to 12 months due to better working conditions/salaries than here!

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 2):
my advice to you would be -- unless things are really bad for you there -- hold tight for the moment until at least there's some light at the end of the tunnel.

Braybuddy I do appreciate your advice, and would usually totally agree with you, but all I can say is that after much reflection by myself and my wife, things will be much better for us outside France.

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 2):
I've read and heard similar stories to yours about France, and I think everyone expected Sarkosy to at least start reforming the country

I had a feeling he wouldn't, then I sort of became pro Sarkozy just prior to the elections. And he has failed. But to be honest, it's a monumentous task to reform this country, and as OzGlobal said, it will take decades to do.

Thanks for the replies so far. Hope I've cleared my feeling for you OzGlobal, and other French a.netters. I think my criticism is probably shared by you. I have NO criticism whatsoever of France as a country or its people... a great place! Just due to my own professional circumstances, no longer the place for me to live in.



Long live Aer Lingus!
User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2711 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3288 times:



Quoting Toulouse (Reply 3):
Hope I've cleared my feeling for you OzGlobal, and other French a.netters. I think my criticism is probably shared by you. I have NO criticism whatsoever of France as a country or its people... a great place! Just due to my own professional circumstances, no longer the place for me to live in.

Yep. I think it was good for you to do so, as it probably helps you too, to direct the frustration in a more targeted way and hence 'digest it', if we can speak like this.

Even if it's time to leave, don't despair of France herself.... Like someone you love who has made some bad choices, you need to leave them grace to sort through it all... and have enough faith that they will eventually do so.



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineToulouse From Switzerland, joined Apr 2005, 2758 posts, RR: 58
Reply 5, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3274 times:



Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 4):
Even if it's time to leave, don't despair of France herself.... Like someone you love who has made some bad choices, you need to leave them grace to sort through it all... and have enough faith that they will eventually do so.

That's very nicely put OzGlobal. And have no fear, I still believe in the idea of "Vive la France!". I get frustrated at the difficulties imposed by the government against business/entreprenurial schemes, and it also saddens me. If I didn't care about France, it wouldn't bother me! I think you have understood me now, and I do apologise if my initial post came across as an complete attack on France. France holds a special place in me heart, and eventhough it seems most likely we will leave, and we do need to leave, France will ALWAYS have that special place in my heart, and as I am the sort of person who speaks to often through the heart, I think thankfully when I share my impressions of France with foreigners where ever we end up, I will only speak good things of France. Jeez OzGlobal, you're going to get me upset about leaving now! LOL
Just one final thing, leaving France has been on the cards for a year or two now, and it does often make me feel somewhat sad to be leaving.



Long live Aer Lingus!
User currently offlineCzbbflier From Canada, joined Jul 2006, 971 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 3180 times:

Oh Toulouse!

I think that's the longest post I've ever seen in a.net. Sorry, my eyes got crossed after about 5 paragraphs.

I am one who lived in France in the 1990s for a short while and have since studied French government and politics a bit during my MA program.

What makes France tick is not it's logical government system if there were one to tick. One does not measure one's time or love of France by the brain. Toulouse, it's with the heart. So all that you were speaking of, taxes, illogical government systems, the involvement of 'l'ETAT' in almost everything.... that's a product of not just successive socialist redistribuionist policies of relatively recent years; it's a product of the fact that there have been some 24 government regimes since 'la Revolution francaise' waaaay back in 1789.

As a consequence, THE STATE is a free-standing, free-operating organism that functions all by itself. Politicians can merely muck with the margins: the State runs itself and is Prime Directive is to self-propagate.

Your frustration is not misplaced, however, as the French economy is completely suffocated as a result of the employment taxes. There is no flexibility. There is no initiative. What's the point? What is it that makes France so great? It's cutting-edge administrative know-how? Non, alas.

France's ability to be great is its ability, through thick and thin, to live up to "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose." And, by golly, the wine is great and the trains are fast.

Try to affect change... I mean REAL change, and everybody is in the streets protesting. Street riots are dangerous things in Paris: it's what happened that lead to the storming of the Bastille. I remember seeing (several times over the course of a total of a week I stayed in Paris) the buses of crack riot-squad police that tore about the city putting down un-sanctioned protests and with considerable force / violence if necessary or so I recall hearing at the time by life-long locals.

And so, my dear friend, Toulouse. Forget all these miseries. You've had a good time in France, non? Remember the words of the great Benjamin Franklin as you head off to new adventures, "Toute homme a deux patries: la sienne et puis la France." Leave everything else behind. Life is too short otherwise.

(I'll see you in Nice when we retire.)

Brian


User currently offlineToulouse From Switzerland, joined Apr 2005, 2758 posts, RR: 58
Reply 7, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 3132 times:



Quoting Czbbflier (Reply 6):
Oh Toulouse!

I think that's the longest post I've ever seen in a.net. Sorry, my eyes got crossed after about 5 paragraphs.

Sorry about that Brian. My eyes were also getting crossed and fingers acheing as I typed. I got so tired, I didn't even include some other things on my mind... fortunately for readers! LOL

Quoting Czbbflier (Reply 6):
What makes France tick is not it's logical government system if there were one to tick. One does not measure one's time or love of France by the brain. Toulouse, it's with the heart.

Very wise words.

Quoting Czbbflier (Reply 6):
Your frustration is not misplaced, however, as the French economy is completely suffocated as a result of the employment taxes. There is no flexibility. There is no initiative. What's the point? What is it that makes France so great? It's cutting-edge administrative know-how? Non, alas.

Totally agree. And as I've been hoping to get across to our dear French members is that despite all the above criticism, I do feel great love for this country and its people.

Quoting Czbbflier (Reply 6):
France's ability to be great is its ability, through thick and thin, to live up to "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose." And, by golly, the wine is great and the trains are fast.

Couldn't agree more.

Quoting Czbbflier (Reply 6):
Try to affect change... I mean REAL change, and everybody is in the streets protesting.

That's the problem, and the problems are getting worse, French people seem to be getting more and more bitter in the 7 years I've been here (spent some longish periods in the 90's here, and the general atmosphere was definitely more positive than the past 7 years). Most people seem to want this change, but they all fear what you say, and thus resign to thinking it won't happen and thus so many people from France tell me the country's future is bleak. At least the wine and cheese will remain good, the climate great, and the beauty of its landscapes and towns won't change!

Quoting Czbbflier (Reply 6):
And so, my dear friend, Toulouse. Forget all these miseries. You've had a good time in France, non? Remember the words of the great Benjamin Franklin as you head off to new adventures, "Toute homme a deux patries: la sienne et puis la France." Leave everything else behind. Life is too short otherwise.

Very, very wise words.

Quoting Czbbflier (Reply 6):
(I'll see you in Nice when we retire.)

Probably! LOL



Long live Aer Lingus!
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26853 posts, RR: 58
Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 3072 times:

Hi Peter,
Well I enjoyed your article and also Ozglobals reply. Both were quite well written and I agree with somethings and not others. Was actually talking about your comments with my Dad last night who is living in France for the last 9 years. He does agree with you on certain points and he does agree things can be very stressful at times but he seems to still stay there and like it. He is in Alsace region so I think its quite different than where you are. Regions can make a different from what i have heard.

Personally as a foreigner living in Ireland I would find it hard to leave. I probably never will after being here for over 10 years. We always complain about things but in the end given the choice I probably wouldnt leave Ireland. On the flip side of the coin I personally would not like to live in France, just my personal prefference and opinion. I like going to see my Dad and always enjoy it but not to live.


User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 9, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 3068 times:



Quoting OA260 (Reply 8):
Well I enjoyed your article and also Ozglobals reply. Both were quite well written and I agree with somethings and not others.

Great thread. So nice to see a discussion of a set of propositions remain reasonable and logical. I will not contribute except to say it is really interesting even if (or perhaps because) there was the odd very long post.


User currently offlineOffloaded From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2009, 871 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 3062 times:

Interesting post Toulouse. My former biz partners moved to France (nr St Emilion) about 5 years ago. They love it, and I have visited several times. Their house is right on the Dordogne, really beautiful location, they get on well with the locals and get involved with the community (he's Irish, she's English) great fun when France play Ireland / England at rugby etc. Contrary to what people say about them I have always found the French charming and helpful (in that area anyway), and guess what, lot's of them really do speak English, but they really appreciate you trying to talk to them in French, and my French is pretty basic at best. The roads are well maintained, for the few times they have needed medical assistance, it has been efficient and cheap. So what could be better?

He formally ran a very successful bar and restaurant in the Algarve (Portugal) and had some plans to do the same when they moved there. However, by the time he had looked into what it was going to cost, minimum employee contracts (eg even casual labour seemed to require a 3 month contract - hence why a lot of places close early in the year, as even when they could get maybe another 6 weeks out of the season, if you have to pay for 12 weeks it doesn't make sense), high tax and social security contributions etc it wasn't going to be worth doing. Dividends are also taxed at 50%, so it's almost as if "profit" is a dirty word in France. Certainly not much incentive to take someone off the unemployment line. In top of that, the French don't seem to want to spend money. So as a place to retire to, fantastic, but not to work.

I understand that only about 8% of French workers are actually in a union, they just seem to be a fairly hardline 8%. Also the protests by the young people didn't seem to make sense a year or so ago - they seemed to not be protesting about not having a job, more like protesting that when they did get one, they didn't want a cut in the benefits currently enjoyed by those in work. Likewise, a public sector job is highly sought after, and still seen as a job for life with good benefits.

The French don't seem to be as happy as they used to be, and know things have to change. They seem terrified of the Anglo Saxon model, but as Margaret Thatcher once said, “The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money”.



To no one will we sell, or deny, or delay, right or justice - Magna Carta, 1215
User currently offlineToulouse From Switzerland, joined Apr 2005, 2758 posts, RR: 58
Reply 11, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 3038 times:



Quoting OA260 (Reply 8):
Hi Peter,
Well I enjoyed your article and also Ozglobals reply.

Thanks Philip.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 9):
Great thread. So nice to see a discussion of a set of propositions remain reasonable and logical.

thanks Baroque. Just after I posted this thread I feared it may cause problems and was thinking of deleting it, but got caught up with work, and when I came back was glad to see the response was simply a healthy and civilised discussion. I have even received some very kind private messages from some French a.netters!

Quoting Baroque (Reply 9):
there was the odd very long post

Referring to me?  Wink

Quoting Offloaded (Reply 10):
Interesting post Toulouse.

Thanks Offloaded! And may I say your post if also highly interesting, and what your friends have seen seem similar to me.

Quoting Offloaded (Reply 10):
they get on well with the locals and get involved with the community (he's Irish, she's English) great fun when France play Ireland / England at rugby etc. Contrary to what people say about them I have always found the French charming and helpful (in that area anyway), and guess what, lot's of them really do speak English, but they really appreciate you trying to talk to them in French, and my French is pretty basic at best.

That is all very true. being Irish myself, and living in Toulouse (big rugby land) have great fun with the local when Ireland is playing France or and Irish and French team are playing. Fitting in with the locals has been surprisingly easy, and is one of the things I most appreciate about life, in this part of France anyway. And yes, I also find the French to be charming people.

Quoting Offloaded (Reply 10):
The roads are well maintained

Very true. And the motorways are great (yet the tolls are very expensive!). Their service stations and rest areas on the motorways are also magnificent.

Quoting Offloaded (Reply 10):
for the few times they have needed medical assistance, it has been efficient and cheap.

That is true. But I have seen how the system can be abused by the actual medical profession, and numeorus doctors have admitted this to me. I was also operated under GA, costing me a total of €6 (yes, six euros), it turned out not to have been necessary. As there were some complication about a year later, I checked with two specialists back in Ireland (and also one in Spain due to a problem that arose while there) and ALL three said I should not have been operated on. There were easier forms of treatment, as in medication, which in the opinion of all 3 would have solved the problem and not caused the complications caused by the operation.

Quoting Offloaded (Reply 10):
However, by the time he had looked into what it was going to cost, minimum employee contracts (eg even casual labour seemed to require a 3 month contract - hence why a lot of places close early in the year, as even when they could get maybe another 6 weeks out of the season, if you have to pay for 12 weeks it doesn't make sense), high tax and social security contributions etc it wasn't going to be worth doing.

This is THE problem. And fortunately your friend did his homework better than I did, and got out in time. I'm still being punished by the tax authorities, even 24 months having ceased the activity here.

Quoting Offloaded (Reply 10):
so it's almost as if "profit" is a dirty word in France

So true. And "profit" nmade legally by an individual also seems to be deemed as a "criminal act" by the tax authorities/social security which needs to be heavily penalised!

Quoting Offloaded (Reply 10):
I understand that only about 8% of French workers are actually in a union, they just seem to be a fairly hardline 8%.

I didn't realise the number was so low, but doesn't really surprise me. There are quite hardline as you say and make a lot of noise and do a good job frequently bring the country to a standstill. I still have to meet a French person who supports the frequent strike action here.

Quoting Offloaded (Reply 10):
The French don't seem to be as happy as they used to be, and know things have to change.

That is also my impression. Apart from my own difficulties in the past after stupidly going into business here, it's actually listening to the "desperation" of so many French people I know about the state of the country and its future that have also heavily contributed to our decision to leave.

Quoting Offloaded (Reply 10):
They seem terrified of the Anglo Saxon model, but as Margaret Thatcher once said, “The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money”.

Have to admit I wasn't really a fan of Thatcher, but must say I totally agree with the above.

Quoting Offloaded (Reply 10):
So as a place to retire to, fantastic, but not to work.

That's it in a nutshell!



Long live Aer Lingus!
User currently offlineMillwallSean From Singapore, joined Apr 2008, 1240 posts, RR: 6
Reply 12, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 2995 times:

Interesting thread, I feel just like Toulouse but my issues are with living in New Zealand.

Its always hard to be in another country.
No matter how long we stay away from our countries we tend to keep original values. Whats right in our mind is based on the cultural context that we were brought up in.
To me liberalism is to the right, to an American its leftwing.

When my parents moved to England, my father was sent to look after a business his employer had bought, they couldn't stand the place.
They hated it, they still do, and as soon as we have a discussion at home about London or England the words one-glass windows, buildings that wouldn't be approved in 16th century Uganda, food that prisoners wouldn't be served, borrowing money to lower taxes has never ever worked and it always ends with my mother and father agreeing on the fact that women in England looks like fat sausages rolling down the street. Then my mum asks me, with a smirk, why does English women dress in tight clothes when they are fat? Why don't they exercise and control their diets?
You used to date so many of them, pls tell us and all of a sudden I am the one supposed to answer for thousands of English women that are overweight and hits the town in tight shirts.
My parents never understood England, the English mentality or the English way of doing things.
I never understood England's love for crappy food and housing either and I also reckon most English women should think more about their weight and how they dress.
But if I don't want crappy food I can actually eat brilliant in London these days. I just have to choose my place. If I don't want chubby women there are thousands of women from all over the world in London etc etc.
A lot in London is crap but every city has lots of crap and London is by no means worse than any other city. (perhaps except for its housing, its impossible to defend the housing actually).
London is where I grew up and I love the city. Its my city. I always defend London. I defend one glass windows, Industrial carpets hell I have even defended old traditional fry ups.

You would think I would have been more ready to be sent abroad, but no that wasnt the case at least not to New Zealand.
I loved living in Asia though, loved every minute of it and the fact that my next assignment means I will be permanently stationed in Brunei from July and onwards has me over the moon.
But I wasn't ready for New Zealand. I thought it would be like Europe but boy was I wrong. I was sent to New Zealand by my employer so I didn't seek to come.
I scream when I board the planes to New Zealand, cant stand how backward the place is. Cant stand the food or the fact that houses here wouldn't pass as sheds in many European countries. Blow on them and they fall down.
They do tax returns by paper and pen and despite a small city like Auckland having traffic jams like London they refuse to increase the tax and build commuter trainlines, an underground and motorways. Heck even paying a tax of 8 cents extra per litre on the petrol makes people protest. I can go on and write as much as Toulouse has but I think you have already gotten the picture.
I don't understand New Zealand/kiwis and instead I get frustrated start talking about inbreds driving Holdens or Fords watching rugby and surfing on the worlds slowest ADSL.
And its not New Zealand its me that off the mark.
I want to have things the way I like it. I want new Zealand to be how I like a society and it of course isn't.
I think that to settle down in a new country when you arrive from another developed country you have to be very openminded and willing to accept that things will be different. That the mentality will be different and that life will change.
I was not prepared to accept that and that why living here isn't for me. I still like New Zealand though its a good country and people are nice. They are not easy to connect with or become good mates with but they are friendly and easy to deal with.
If you're not properly prepared and ready the thing with living in certain places just becomes to much.



No One Likes Us - We Dont Care.
User currently offlineGrahamHill From France, joined Mar 2007, 2809 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 2984 times:

I totally understand your bitterness, Toulouse. Because you have underlined what most of French people complain about all the time. People with common sense, at least.

Fact is that our country is in a socialist system, despite having socialist governments only for an accumulated period of 15 years in half a century. But even our right-wing politics are conducting a socialist policy!

France is choking because of too much bureaucracy, because of too much incompetent and lazy civil servants, because of too much taxes of which we don't know where the money is going.

Our medical system is convenient, but you are right when you say that some are taking way too much profit of the system. But if the system allows you to, why bother? The social security is under enormous debts and they started to stop reimbursing some medicines. It's of course not enough, but it's a first step. Let's hope they can manage to clean up their mess.

Quoting Toulouse (Thread starter):
France is a great place for a holiday, but to live, Non merci!

Come on, don't put us on the same level as the Spanish, please Big grin  Wink

Quoting Toulouse (Thread starter):
in addition to their TV tax (%u20AC116 for their shi**y TV)

Funny enough, it's more expensive in Ireland. I had to pay €130 last year...

Not to mention the road tax. €333/year for a 1.4 liter car! If you drive a 2.0, it costs you €784/year...

Is there a road tax in France that you have to pay every year?

Quoting Toulouse (Thread starter):
I see it costs me about the same to fill my trolley here as it does in Dublin, where salaries are about 3 times higher on average and tax is MUCH lower

I disagree. Everything is more expensive in Ireland than in France. Alcool, for example, is a real rip-off.

And salaries are indeed higher, but since you have to put half of it into your accomodation, I don't see where is the gain here...

Quoting Toulouse (Thread starter):
Especially regarding meat, fish and other fresh produce, as the stuff you usually get in the supermarkets are awful. My wife, who is Spanish, even admits the quality of fresh produce (meat, fish) is far superior in Irish supermarkets to French ones’!

It's well known that you should not buy meat in French supermarkets. We have enough good butchers around who sell proper meat.

Quoting Czbbflier (Reply 6):
Street riots are dangerous things in Paris: it's what happened that lead to the storming of the Bastille. I remember seeing (several times over the course of a total of a week I stayed in Paris) the buses of crack riot-squad police that tore about the city putting down un-sanctioned protests and with considerable force / violence if necessary or so I recall hearing at the time by life-long locals.

We always have a revolutionary behaviour. A legacy from 1789, I guess.

Quoting Czbbflier (Reply 6):
"Toute homme a deux patries: la sienne et puis la France."

That's a nice quote  Smile



"A learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant one" - Moliere
User currently onlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16820 posts, RR: 51
Reply 14, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 2978 times:

My Wife and I visited Marseilles, Nice, Aixen Provence on our Honeymoon back in 2006. As we were about to get off the tour bus in Aixen Provence our tour guide warned us to watch where we step as the French (who love dogs) don't pick up after them, I thought he was joking. Getting out and Walking around I was shocked how much dog poop was on the sidewalks, it was crazy being in this beautiful town but having to keep staring where we were stepping in order not to step on a poop land mine.

I loved France, and I love Dogs. But please this thing about not picking up after dogs is weird, everyone in New York picks up after their dogs even celebrities.

The other thing I loved was that I saw people actually using rolling papers for cigarettes, back in the US the only reason to buy rolling papers is because your going to smoke pot. But over in Aixen Provence I was watching this guy sitting next to me at a cafe who was rolling cigarettes and smoking them one after another, he made it look so cool it made me want to go back to smoking which I gave up 10 years ago.



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlinePROSA From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5632 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 2951 times:



Quoting Toulouse (Thread starter):
the French banking system is ARCHAIC with a capital “a” and does not seem to have ever heard of the term “customer relations”. And of course, not that I would as it’s something I’ve always been very careful about (no actually it happened to me once, will explain below) let a cheque bounce... sin! Crime! You’ll be black-listed on a national system until rectified, the bank will penalise you, and if it happens to you three times they’ll f**k you for a long time, keeping you in the precious black list of the Banque de France, and basically rip away any banking services to you for a long time.

Banks in the United States are no different. They charge stiff fees for bounced checks, and failing to make good on the bounced amount can result in one's name being added to a bad-customer list (Telecheck, I believe it's called) and blacklisting by other banks. In addition, writing a bad check can be a criminal offense in certain cases.



"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8942 posts, RR: 40
Reply 16, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 2927 times:

Quoting PROSA (Reply 15):
Quoting Toulouse (Thread starter):
the French banking system is ARCHAIC with a capital “a” and does not seem to have ever heard of the term “customer relations”. And of course, not that I would as it’s something I’ve always been very careful about (no actually it happened to me once, will explain below) let a cheque bounce... sin! Crime! You’ll be black-listed on a national system until rectified, the bank will penalise you, and if it happens to you three times they’ll f**k you for a long time, keeping you in the precious black list of the Banque de France, and basically rip away any banking services to you for a long time.

Banks in the United States are no different. They charge stiff fees for bounced checks, and failing to make good on the bounced amount can result in one's name being added to a bad-customer list (Telecheck, I believe it's called) and blacklisting by other banks. In addition, writing a bad check can be a criminal offense in certain cases.

True, but at one point you have to wonder about your financial privacy. The bank cannot share private information, and that should include placing your name on a "national list". They can do this because either the "system" allows it or requires it.

Though this is hardly limited to France, I think it's a valid complaint.

[Edited 2009-04-23 09:39:07]


"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlineSlider From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6785 posts, RR: 34
Reply 17, posted (5 years 3 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 2810 times:



Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 4):
Even if it's time to leave, don't despair of France herself.... Like someone you love who has made some bad choices, you need to leave them grace to sort through it all... and have enough faith that they will eventually do so.

Faith won’t cure what ails France. Believe me, we’re 100 days into the Hopey Changey show over on this side of the pond and nothing has happened except for the socialization of America.

No, faith won’t fix France. More freedom and liberty will though, immersed in a free market economy, unshackled to allow citizens to do what they will. France is a perfect storm brewing right now—negative birth rate, unchecked immigration that’s not assimilating, a runaway entitlement class that continues to strike at will, and the weight continues to build. It’s untenable.

France would do well to heed to brilliance of its own: Voltaire and Rousseau notably. While you’re at it, throw in Locke, Smith, and the Austrians like von Mises and Hayek and get back to ‘classic liberalism’ that would save France. Almost everything Toulouse identified in his rant (well done, BTW) has its underpinnings in a very simple formula: liberty.

We would do well to heed that lesson here in the USA, I might add.


User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2711 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (5 years 3 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2787 times:



Quoting Slider (Reply 17):
No, faith won’t fix France. More freedom and liberty will though, immersed in a free market economy, unshackled to allow citizens to do what they will.

I dispise the US myth of the 'trickle down effect' as much as I do the (genuniely) socialist notion of wealth redistribution as sometimes practiced in France. These are equally unrealistic and misguided cons.

As for "freedom" and "liberty", Republicans bandy these words about as if they have a precise meaning: Freedom from what? To do what? If it's just about giving everyone back all their tax dollars, I don't find much to admire about that. No a properly balanced 'Social Democracy' seems the most fittingly adapted to support the Common Good of human society. Too many aspects are missing and teh notion of the common good so weak in the US that it's not a model I would recommend.

Quoting Slider (Reply 17):
France is a perfect storm brewing right now—negative birth rate

Wrong. In fact it's about 2.2 and above replacement level, making it the highest in Western European large countries. Germany has the negative birth rate.



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineGrahamHill From France, joined Mar 2007, 2809 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (5 years 3 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2770 times:



Quoting Slider (Reply 17):
negative birth rate

It might be negative, but we're still among the best in Europe.



"A learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant one" - Moliere
User currently offlineGrahamHill From France, joined Mar 2007, 2809 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (5 years 3 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2760 times:



Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 18):
Wrong. In fact it's about 2.2 and above replacement level, making it the highest in Western European large countries. Germany has the negative birth rate.

Ah, so we're actually positive. It's true that I heard that on the radio not so long ago, but i did not pay too much attention to it.



"A learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant one" - Moliere
User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2711 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (5 years 3 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2756 times:



Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 18):
Quoting Slider (Reply 17):
France is a perfect storm brewing right now—negative birth rate

Wrong. In fact it's about 2.2 and above replacement level, making it the highest in Western European large countries. Germany has the negative birth rate.

Washington post (data is from 2006 and has improved since, but story is relevant):

"As Europe Grows Grayer, France Devises a Baby Boom"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...le/2006/10/17/AR2006101701652.html



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineSlider From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6785 posts, RR: 34
Reply 22, posted (5 years 3 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2721 times:



Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 18):
I dispise the US myth of the 'trickle down effect' as much as I do the (genuniely) socialist notion of wealth redistribution as sometimes practiced in France. These are equally unrealistic and misguided cons.

Well, you’re entitled to your opinion to despise trickle-down, but it’s been proven correct. Economic growth is not a zero-sum game. But you’re right that income redistribution (or, as some might call it, theft) is totally misguided, morally repugnant, and unacceptable beyond those needs the Federal government has to provide for the common defense and the few enumerated powers that the US Constitution actually authorizes.

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 18):
As for "freedom" and "liberty", Republicans bandy these words about as if they have a precise meaning: Freedom from what? To do what?

First, I’m not a Republican. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve had to qualify a statement with that. But I agree that the W era has ushered in a very cavalier use of that term without explaining it much less truly selling it to the American people as their birthright. Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, free from regulation, without duress, with limited regulation, the freedom to use each person’s God-given talents and skills in ways they choose. Today in the USA, there isn’t ONE aspect of our lives that doesn’t involve government…and that’s ridiculous. And now as a % of GDP, we’re spending as much as any EU nation save Sweden I believe on entitlement programs and pork.

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 21):
Washington post (data is from 2006 and has improved since, but story is relevant):

"As Europe Grows Grayer, France Devises a Baby Boom"

Thanks for the link and I stand corrected on the birthrate…thank you for clarifying. But there again, that’s another government entitlement that takes more funds.


User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26853 posts, RR: 58
Reply 23, posted (5 years 3 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2721 times:



Quoting GrahamHill (Reply 13):
Funny enough, it's more expensive in Ireland. I had to pay €130 last year...

( Its gone up now )

Under the current Wireless Telegraphy Legislation it is a prosecutable offence to be found in possession of an unlicensed television set. Fines for an unlicensed television set can be up to €634.87 for a first offence and €1,267.74 for subsequent offences.

TV Licence Fee: €160.00  Wow!  Wow!

As for food and drink Ireland is I agree a lot more expensive than alot of other EU countries. Irish flock in their thousands across the border to Northern Ireland to avail of 30-40% savings !!

---------------

Call for action to stop shoppers heading north
Urgent action is needed to stop shoppers going north of the border, it was claimed today.

Retail Ireland said the VAT rate on goods, particularly alcohol, needs to be reviewed to protect the economy and employment.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2009/0315/breaking28.htm


User currently offlineSlider From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6785 posts, RR: 34
Reply 24, posted (5 years 3 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2715 times:



Quoting OA260 (Reply 23):
Under the current Wireless Telegraphy Legislation it is a prosecutable offence to be found in possession of an unlicensed television set. Fines for an unlicensed television set can be up to €634.87 for a first offence and €1,267.74 for subsequent offences.

TV Licence Fee: €160.00

Are you making that up? For real?

Crap, I hope the FCC doesn't know about this...we're next. Shit.


25 Post contains links OA260 : The Irish and British have the same system , its a discrace. Even if you have Pay TV and dont even watch the state channels you MUST pay !! UK £142.
26 Davehammer : If I'm honest I don't mind paying to have some TV free from ludicrous adverts and a decent news service. I do feel that you should be able to opt out
27 PPVRA : See, we all can get along. There are still reasonable people left in this world.
28 MD11Engineer : This is very real in most European countries (where radio and TV used to be ubtil recently under direct or indirect government control, like the Brit
29 Toulouse : Some very interesting posts here, thanks all. I think my fingers are still "recovering" from my long rant that openned this thread, and I'm just to ti
30 Czbbflier : Slider, how has this conversation to do with the United States? Please don't bore us all with how great the American system (as corrupt as any) is, o
31 Baroque : Hey, you cannot claim that for France, it is called Kangaroo Paw in honour of its inventers. Careful how you go there. Timely item on Friday 24 April
32 GDB : Interesting and well argued, from all sides. Being British, I am supposed to be hard wired to dislike France. (And visa versa as far as they are conce
33 Janmnastami : It seems the description of Italy!
34 GrahamHill : Not since 1904
35 Post contains links OzGlobal : Uhhmm... No, wrong again. The historical evidence, which cannot be set aside, says exactly the opposite. Between 1963 with the highest tax rate at 91
36 Baroque : And talking of the early 1900s ish, nice continuation of the link between Aus and Villers-Bretonneux on Saturday.
37 OzGlobal : I heard they had well over 3000 for the ANZAC day dawn service. I've been there a few times for a visit and the place is crawling with references to
38 Baroque : They also sent a contrib to the Vic bush fire survivors earlier this year. The relationship is much appreciated. There are so many ways in which Fran
39 Slider : I understand the discussion is about France--my intent was to correlate the growing entitlement class here and how untenable it is with the maturity
40 AlexEU : I don't like the way French threat non-French speakers! I guess that all of you felt it. For them, English and other languages are second class.
41 Czbbflier : OK- this is a contribution that seems more like a contribution rather than just a "look at us! look at us!" Although I am curious how the correlation
42 Toulouse : Again, a grand merci to all the excellent contributions. I have been following the thread. I must say I do agree with Slider here. One really gets the
43 Toulouse : I see Mercer Human Resources Consulting has today released it's international statistics on quality of life and cost of living in cities around the w
44 Baroque : Don't forget Toulouse that if the stats are as they were, if you are miserable living in France, you get to live there longer than in most other coun
45 Post contains images Toulouse :    Indeed! And Australian cities do very well in said statistics![Edited 2009-04-28 08:37:59]
46 GrahamHill : You were probably not in France yet, but 10 years ago, we used to have a road tax, similar to the one in Ireland. I would not know about that, I don'
47 Baroque : If that was an implied question, happy enough!! And a deal more happy with our corporate regs than you are with yours! I though our GST would be the
48 Post contains links OzGlobal : Rant against myth of charming Geneva / Swiss society: Zurich, I've only passed through a couple of times so can't really say and I've heard Basel on
49 Toulouse : As is Dublin I suppose, and what was the name of that RTE TV show... "Rip-off Ireland"??!! LOL OzGlobal, having LIVED in Geneva, and FREQUENTLY visit
50 Post contains links Oa260 : In search of Europe: France The EU's eastward enlargement seems to have few fans in France, where fears about competition for jobs and declining Frenc
51 Baroque : Have you thought of going back to "Long Live Air Linctus" for the flu season?
52 GDB : Toulouse, I don't doubt you at all about management in sectors of the French economy, in the area of work ethic. Certainly within small/medium compani
53 Airtrainer : Hi, I've finally taken the time to read your thread (sorry, not yet the answers) and found it very interesting. I'm french, I spent most of my life,
54 Baroque : What about the chocolates? Get a sense of proportion please. And the Napoleons too.
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