France: more sensible approach to bailouts


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Vive La France – The Red, White and Blue of It

by Monika Mitchell     Page 1 of 1 page(s)

America does not like to be bested by their old buddies the French.          

Remember the outrageous rivers of French wine poured in protest during the Bush years? (When I think of all the vintage Bordeaux gone down the drain, it truly hurts.) 

And remember Freedom Fries in retaliation for French disagreement to American autocracy? Well—all that is a fleeting memory now. Freedom Fries are replaced by a nightmare global economy that is sinking faster than fast. Carmakers in France are experiencing similar challenges to American automakers. Growing inventories, falling sales, outdated models, poor energy efficiency, worker layoffs, all the obstacles the Big Three face on our shores. 

Only the French government would never dare say to their workers “Let them eat cake.”- That didn’t go over too well the first time, did it? Just the thought of it makes the hairs on the backs of their necks stand up. If you know what I mean! 

Never say the French are slow learners. Rather than ignore the plight of distressed automakers, President Sarkozy announced a six billion euro ($9bn) bailout for Renault and Peugeot-Citroën. Only there is one major caveat–the companies must agree to keep workers employed and not close factories. Why didn’t we think of that? I don’t know why, but it still has not been suggested by any member of our government. 

In the name of our revolutionary comrades in arms, perhaps America the Beautiful should take another page from the French book of law and order. Let them eat cake ended with a vicious response from ignored and neglected citizens, who took off with their leaders’ heads. Now we wouldn’t want to do that to any of our members of Congress, would we? Perhaps the U.S. should reconsider a Big Three Bailout with these conditions. Here are your funds, keep the doors open and the folks employed.  In turn, you have to make cars that people want to buy. But if they don’t have jobs, they can’t even buy a loaf of bread, now can they? 

Come to think of it this would be a good focus for a national bailout of all large companies to prevent more unsustainable layoffs that will in the end deplete our entire system. Should we create more unemployment insurance, food stamps, homeless shelters, bread lines, and Medicaid? Or should we instead inject capital in these teetering companies and keep our workforce employed? 

It seems a logical response. Vive La France. 

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Monika Mitchell is the Executive Director of Good Business International, Inc., aka GoodB,( a web-based Think Tank dedicated to building better business for a better world. Monika is the co-author (along with Peter Ressler, “the Sage (more…)