Chirac to Protesters: ‘Nous Nous Rendons!’

By April 11, 2006General

To the surprise of absolutely no one, French President Jacques Chirac yesterday cried “Nous nous Rendons!” (translation: “We surrender!”), caving to the students and other protesters fighting a new law that would have allowed employers to employ anyone under age 26 at will for their first two years in the workplace. As we’ve noted here before, France currently ranks an embarrassing 30th among developed countries in competitiveness. This will no doubt take them a notch lower. Developing countries are trying to climb up the competitiveness ladder, and will succeed.

As our Chief Economist, Dave Huether noted in a post here last week, the unemployment rate for the group affected by this law is currently a whopping 21%, over twice the overall rate, which in turn is twice the US rate.

Times like these are defining for a nation, any nation. They show whether they are willing to make the tough decisions in the hopes of ensuring the economic health of their country going forward, or just cave to entrenched political interests. The French did what we all guessed they would do. There’s an object lesson in there for us as well. Were we to face France’s predicament today, how much faith do you have in Congress to make the right choice?