Once again, socialism has put a silver fork in itself. Standard & Poor's has downgraded France's AAA credit rating, giving the country the side-eye on its claims to have its debt under control. This means the country will now have to pay it all back at an even higher interest rate.
Who are we kidding? No one's paying back any debts right now. You need money to do that. When was the last time France had any extra cash lying around? It's like raising the interest rate on the credit card of an addict who's pumping capital into his veins faster than any German, Chinese or Russian can slip him a tenner.
No amount of hot air and spin could ultimately keep socialism afloat. It's a good lesson for those in America and other parts of the world who think that Europe is in any way an exemplary, sustainable alternative to free-market, limited-government capitalism.
If capitalism is perceived to not be working in America -- as the Occupy Wall Street movement has argued -- it's because the system isn't capitalist enough. It's because a lack of oversight has led to corporate welfare and an unlevel playing field -- socialist government intervention in business, in other words. Similarly, if the U.S. health care system has problems, it's because of private insurers' heavy-handed lobbying of government and government's willingness, in turn, to meddle when its palm is adequately greased. That, too, is a problem for which more capitalism -- less government and a free-market -- is a cure.
And now, again, we have proof that the system long considered the model for successful socialism finally has been choked out.
This isn't French President Nicolas Sarkozy's fault. He's spent the five years since he took office doing his best to move the country off the rail of socialism and onto one of personal independence, trying to change the rhetoric and the way the French think about such things. But how do you explain to a Labrador retriever the exhilaration of being free like a wolf, despite not having someone place a full bowl in front of you at regular intervals?
The French want less debt, but they also want the same lengthy vacations and no government cutbacks in jobs or services -- mainly because those are precisely their jobs. They also expect their kids to all go to "management school," after which they will never have to produce anything in the French workplace -- not even a signature, as there will be a stamp for that ... made in China.