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November 15, 2005
The Jimmy Carter Of France

Jacques Chirac finally addressed the French people about the riots that have extended into their 19th evening. Looking wan and tired, Chirac gave a speech with a familiar ring to it, at least among those Americans who have not blocked the memory of the Jimmy Carter era like the trauma that it was:

President Jacques Chirac, addressing his country for the first time since unrest broke out, said that he had asked Parliament to extend a national state of emergency to February and that he would set up a program that would provide jobs and training for 50,000 youths by 2007.

The president, stressing respect for the law and the need to recognize the diversity of French society, acknowledged that the past two weeks had been proof of a "profound malaise" in the country, calling it a "crisis of identity."

That, of course, recalls the infamous "malaise" speech by Carter, when he told Americans that we would have to learn to get by with less, and that mandatory energy rationing would be the New Patriotic Way. Like Carter, Chirac has taken a real problem and used it to cover for a more serious problem -- and the solution Chirac proposes will make the situation even worse than before.

Even if one accepts that the uprising in France has little to do with Islamists and mostly concerns the massive unemployment in the immigrant community, the Chirac government offers little more than a Band-Aid for a solution. Instead of setting the economic conditions that will create real jobs, Chirac proposes a domestic Peace Corps -- a civil service that might pay minimum wage and add in food stamps and housing assistance. France also plans on offering job training, and says it will have 50,000 "youths" in such training by 2007.

Fifty thousand youths, out of a total immigrant population of 5 million people, in an economy that already has double-digit unemployment: no wonder malaise has struck France. The government they elected cannot even do math.

How does Chirac and his cohorts figure on paying for this new civil corps and training program? They will pull even more resources out of the private sector, which will decrease the working capital that might allow some critically-needed job creation. Chirac will only wind up extending their addiction to government intervention in their lives, in order to offer a benefit that even if all plans go on schedule will only service one percent of the population. In the meantime, the crushing weight of the French social model will get larger and make an economic recovery even more remote for the nation.

When Carter gave his "malaise" speech to Americans, we recognized that his time had passed and we needed a new direction in the White House -- and we weren't even watching a nationwide riot burning into its third week. If history gives any guidance, the French will mostly either agree with Chirac or object that his solutions are not socialistic enough to solve the problem. France appears completely lost, even apart from the radical Islamism that seeks its destruction.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 15, 2005 5:19 AM

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» Chirac applies Band-aid to hemoraging wound from Independent Sources
In his first address to the nation since the troubles began on October 27, Jacques Chirac annouced the creation of a paid training and employment scheme for 50,000 youths from affected areas and a series of measures to improve access to the workplace ... [Read More]

Tracked on November 15, 2005 9:37 AM

» France: 'We Surrender' - And we are so sorry that we made you riot! from Hyscience
Chirac just accelerated the Islamization of Europe - France should no longer be called France, and Europe should no longer be called Europe. Both are now Eurabia - and Chiraq is the chief dhimmi. [Read More]

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Do the mainstream media knowingly report ironic things without noting the irony, or are the journalists involved just too lacking in historical perspective to realize the irony? On November 14, Jacque Chirac gave his first televised address to France s... [Read More]

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» Les Muslimerables in Deep Malaise from All Things Beautiful
I am beginning to think that the speculations that Chirac is on medication are unfortunately true. What other explanation could there be for this apparent complacency in a serious situation which demands firm and decisive action [Read More]

Tracked on November 15, 2005 1:30 PM

» Le Resistance from California Conservative
You can’t make this stuff up. AP reports: “Police tightened security in central Paris on Friday with riot forces and bomb squads along the Champs-Elysees, and angry residents of riot-torn suburbs staged a sit-in Friday near the Eiffel Tow... [Read More]

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