Sunday, June 27, 2010

don't let our youth go to waste

Ah, France, where reality is optional. Thanks for this:

The front lines of the latest French protest against raising the retirement age revealed a remarkable sight: Not the slightest wrinkle, not a single gray hair.
Brandishing "Save our Pensions!" banners, students who haven't even entered the job market yet are already worried about what happens when they leave it.
Welcome to France, where workers' rights are so deeply entwined into the culture that even teenagers are unsettled about plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, which is still among the lowest in Europe. The reform protest brought nearly a million people out into the streets across the country Thursday.


and here is the belle of the ball:

Despite the protest's colored balloons and jovial atmosphere, Julie Mandelbaum, a 23-year-old geopolitics student from the prestigious Institut de Sciences Politiques, was not in a party mood.
Four years ago, she erected barricades in front of several French universities to stop a contentious work contract that would have made it easier for companies to hire — and fire — young workers. The government then abandoned the proposal.

Mandelbaum says the government should tax high wage-earners and banks instead to ensure there is enough money for pensions when she retires.

"Don't let the government squander away our pension!" she bellowed into her microphone, leading the march for France's main student union UNEF.