A Gaulic Response to Raising Retirement Age: Protest!

When people ask me about the best places I’ve ever been, two countries pop up the fastest. These would be New Zealand and France. Why? Because they both offer a combination of gorgeous scenery, the best food, and the friendliest locals. Even France, that often gets a bad rap, for the most part is full of welcoming people and that food…well few other places compare.

I read with a laugh about another country-wide protest in France. Nicolas Sarkozy, the right-leaning president, has successfully pushed through a reform moving the retirement age up to 62. That’s freaking out the powerful unions who blocked streets and created a shortage of gasoline that almost crippled the country.

But if you look at a chart of life expectancy, it’s only natural that retirement ages have to keep moving up. People live so much longer than they did in the 1940s when the original age was set. How many people are truly ready for retirement and a pension at only 60? In our country, we already have two unfair types of employment–those who work for the government or schools and get a guaranteed generous pension for life, and those who have to invest in their 401Ks themselves and cross their fingers that there will be enough.

There are simply too few people in France paying into the system as workers and there aren’t enough French babies being born to fill the ranks. Farms are being abandoned and nobody except immigrants wants to work them. So maybe working a few more years will help stave off an inevitable collapse, which will be filled by immigrants who will come from poorer countries and save the poor French.