Tourism Threatens to Collapse in France

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What’s crushing France’s crucial industry?

France was the number one visited country in the world with 85 million foreign visitors last year. The Paris region (Ile-de-France) was swamped by 16 million. In Ile-de-France alone, the jobs of half a million people depend on tourism. It’s the region’s largest industry. Tourism accounts for 7% of the French economy and for 13% of the economy of the Ile-de-France.

France hosts the Euro 2016 soccer tournament this year. It will kick off on June 10 and last about a month, with games played around the country. About 2.5 million spectators are expected.

But last November, terrorist attacks killed 130 people in Paris. This followed the January 2015 attacks at Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket. The attacks in March this year in Brussels – less than 1.5 hours by train from Paris – reignited the global headlines. And now, after the headlines have finally receded, it’s a tumultuous, three-month bout of occasionally violent labor unrest, whose images have been gracing the media around the world.

And the inevitable happened:

  • Hotel bookings by Japanese tourists – who’re somewhat squeamish about tumults – collapsed by 56% in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to a statement by the tourism board of Paris on Monday.
  • Hotel bookings by Russians plunged 35%.
  • Hotel bookings by Chinese tourists, on whom all hopes had been pinned, the biggest growth factor in the industry, with a record 1.2 million showing up in Paris last year – well, they fell 14%.

“The start of 2016 is still feeling the disastrous consequences of the attacks in 2015,” the statement said. And then the social unrest: “The scenes of guerrilla-type action in central Paris, beamed around the world, reinforce the feeling of fear and misunderstanding from visitors in an already angst-filled climate.”

Hotel bookings for June through August have plunged 20% to 50% year-over-year, Evelyne Maes, head of the UMIH-Paris-Ile de France hotel federation, told Reuters.

Last week, the French trade association GNI had warned of “massive” cancellations by foreign visitors, adding: “A strike of that scope a few weeks before Euro 2016 and at the heart of the tourist season is more than unacceptable.”

For the trade unions that are now trying to paralyze significant parts of the economy, the big sin was that the Socialist Party under Socialist President François Hollande, the very folks that they helped vote into power, tried to reform France’s infamous labor law.

Hollande’s reign has been wrecked by an unemployment fiasco. When he assumed office in May 2012, the official unemployment rate had been rising to a near catastrophic 9%. But during his first year in office, rather than dropping based on his policies, the unemployment rate breached 10%, and now, years later, hovers at 10.2%.

Part of the problem in France is that businesses are reluctant to hire because the labor law makes it expensive and cumbersome to fire someone. Hence, hiring is associated with huge risks. And so companies have not been hiring.

The labor law reforms would make it less treacherous for companies to fire employees. It would still not be easy. But it would be more possible. The law would also lengthen the sacred 35-hour work week. That a Socialist government, pushed to the wall by an unemployment fiasco, dared to even think about reforming the labor law has touched a nerve with the unions.

So last week, after months of various street protests and associated chaos, workers at France’s eight refineries blocked or disrupted production. Port workers paralyzed oil imports at the Mediterranean ports and at Le Havre on the English Channel. Others blocked fuel depots.

Suddenly, nationwide gasoline and diesel shortages made the headlines. The media showed continually updated maps with gas stations that still had either gasoline or diesel or both. This lasted until the government sent in the police to remove protesting workers.

None of this made appealing headlines for the Japanese dreaming about a romantic week in Paris.

Now labor unions are planning to paralyze trains across France starting on Tuesday, the metro of Paris starting on Thursday, ports too, and perhaps even airports as air traffic controllers might go on strike on Friday. Transportation mayhem is guaranteed.

They’re targeting tourists! Where it hurts France the most! It’s part of their well-established extortion method. They’d rather unemployment soared to 15% than make it feasible for businesses to hire more workers.

And to top it off, the CGT labor union is agitating for another mega-protest on the streets of Paris on June 14, four days into the Euro soccer tournament! The moment of maximum pain.

“There is still time to save the tourist season by putting an end to these blockades that are being shown the world over,” pleaded Frederic Valletoux, head of the Paris tourist board. “It’s the entire tourism and leisure network that is penalized.”

The Socialist government is buckling under the pressure. So it sent Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and Ile-de-France region Vice-President Jerome Chartier to the Eiffel Tower, jointly, to demonstrate to the world that Paris is safe – that they in fact made it all the way to the Eiffel Tower without problems.

“I believe that a spirit of responsibility will prevail,” Ayrault said, when asked about the threatened chaos during the Euro tournament. “We will find a solution through dialogue,” he said. “Our country has a real tradition of hospitality.”

And Prime Minister Manuel Valls reportedly spoke with the head of the CGT union. Compromise is likely. The reform in the labor law may be dialed back. And the message will stick for French politicians: no matter how terrible the unemployment fiasco gets, don’t even think about reforming the obvious.

So France, with all its structural problems, isn’t going to be helped by negative interest rates, the drug that the ECB has been prescribing. “Free” capital isn’t going to induce French businesses to hire more people than they absolutely have to. Many can move their operations to the UK or other countries with more flexible labor laws.

But there’s one thing that the ECB’s negative interest rate policy is doing: it’s sending money fleeing. Read… The NIRP Refugees Are Coming to America

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  61 comments for “Tourism Threatens to Collapse in France

  1. frederick
    May 31, 2016 at 1:53 am

    Tourism on the Turkish coast is supposedly down around 30% due to trepidation on the part of the usul European sunseekers of terrorism although things culdnt be more peaceful Hopefully it will stay that way İ am keeping my powder dry and hoping for a drop in the stratespheric property prices so İ can buy something nice

  2. Vookz
    May 31, 2016 at 4:17 am

    And I only thought labor unions are bad for developing countries

  3. Mary
    May 31, 2016 at 6:07 am

    Fav quotation: “Our country has a real tradition of hospitality.” ja, ja, ja.

    • Chip Javert
      May 31, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      Well, unless you’re Jewish

  4. Kevin Beck
    May 31, 2016 at 6:42 am

    I love it when a plan comes together!

    Here are two problems with socialists. One is that they don’t know how to govern, as we are seeing in every socialist-run economy worldwide. And the second is that they don’t believe they will ever suffer the consequences of their disastrous ideas.

    Every case where socialism is tried leads to disaster for those it says will benefit from it. In every case where it’s voted in, I can just see the movement’s leaders saying behind closed doors: “Look at how those idiots believed us!” Hence, Joseph Stalin referring to the workers as “useful idiots”. They have a leadership that despises them when they don’t need to count the votes, yet they just follow them to the poorhouse without questioning their leaders. I think this is also a main reason these socialist leaders are always spoken about as being “intelligent”. Remember that there were some Barack Obama acolytes who said that he was “taking a step down” to become President of the United States.

    The only place in politics where socialism works is when it comes to rousing the rabble. Because socialism doesn’t work as a means of governing; it only works when speaking out against government institutions. Note that Barack Obama’s main claim to fame before becoming politically active was as a community organizer.

    The other part of the situation is that these “leaders” always have their escape plan secured before they leave office. And most of them die while in office. But they are never away from being protected by any of the disaster policies that they inflict upon their nation’s citizenry.

    As Mark Twain said so accurately: “Every politician deserves two terms. One in office, the second in prison.”

    • economicminor
      May 31, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Kevin, As if Neoliberial Crony Capitalism is working well…

      It seems to me that the CB’s have really messed things up for most of the world with their power meddling. I don’t see how you can equate socialism with this mess. Socialism does have its inherent problems but the turmoil we are seeing is from what the FED and the other CBs have done to us all. Not what socialism has done.

      • economicminor
        May 31, 2016 at 10:37 am

        In re-reading my response it isn’t only the CBs but the divide and conquer mentality of the two party system. The FED stepped in to the void. If our system actually worked for the majority, the FED and other CBs would have little power.

        Both parties are conservatives as neither wants change. It is just that one party represents one major segment of industry and the other party another group. Both support the Dulles doctrine in supporting the US military beyond sanity. Both parties are afraid of the future so neither will allow any changes that are progressive.

        Kevin’s rant against Socialism totally ignores the failure in the US to address any of our real underlying issues either. But don’t worry, a crisis is just around the corner and which ever side can make the most of it will jump ahead of the other for a short while. Until the entire Crony Capitalist system finally collapses.

        • Dan Romig
          May 31, 2016 at 11:13 am

          On 22 May, the Minnesota Legislature ended in typical failure. The two party duopoly almost came through with a much needed long-term transportation package that would have put $300 million in cash and $300 million in bond proceeds for road and bridge projects. Minnesota will need to invest $300 million a year for the next ten years.

          At the last minute, in a game of chicken, both the House GOP and the Senate Democrats came up with new legislation that was done to deliberately fail. So now my state’s transit infrastructure will fall apart for another year.

          The ‘socialist’ Democrats want to raise vehicle license tab fees in order to financially punish those who drive nice and newer cars/trucks, but the GOP refuses to allow gas/diesel tax increases to actually pay for the work straight up.

          The French unions who’re sabotaging the economy are no different than my Legislators who’ve sabotaged the state. At least we can vote the mother expletives out; the French are stuck with theirs.

        • Red Rock
          June 10, 2016 at 2:00 pm

          Agree with Economicminor.
          This isn’t just about socialism….this insidious destruction of economies all over the world was the- guess what- Hegelian dialectic at work: Problem, Reaction, Solution. So the new world order plan is solve what they wrecked with, of course, incessant control of our lives and limitation of our opportunities to move freely. Until people start waking up & getting conscious, none of this will improve. The US was a model of success until they decided to take it down….which is happening right now. On the up side, now we can begin to see the truth, if we will.

    • May 31, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      Kevin; it was Lenin, not Stalin, who called Westerners “useful idiots” for saying good things about bad regimes..
      You must be doing well personally in an economy where real wages for the working class have been stagnant for 40 plus years.. Good for you.

    • ML
      June 1, 2016 at 12:38 am

      Although I agree with your sentiments – also thr EU is an experiment in socialism – I think the underlyimg causemis compromise. When people do not know where they are from one moment to the next they opt for line of least resistance.

    • JerryBear
      June 1, 2016 at 8:38 pm

      Kevin, you really have things all mixed up in your mind. Your description of “socialism” is a garbled mess that exists only in your own imagination. It is clear that you don’t know what genuine Marxian socialism is. Why don’t you make a real study about it before you pontificate on it.


      P.S. The Stalinist regimes that called themselves “Communist” were very strongly nationalistic as well as totalitarian. They fit the definition of “fascism” and have nothing in common with Marx’s conception.

      • June 2, 2016 at 4:00 pm

        Yes, Jerry-Bear, the Lament of the True Marxist! “If only they did it the right way!” Next, under Dear Leader Bernezuela, we will set the dial to halfway between Trotsky and Mao, but only the best ideas from each! Next time, we’ll get the formula just right!

        (Said every socialist dictator who wound up a mass murderer, even if by brutal famine created by stupid central state policies. Pass a law ordering production of food to be doubled, and shoot the farmers who fail to comply. Yeah, that works every time. Just look at Venezuela. Now, tell us the mistakes that Chavez and Maduro made, and how you have a fool-proof plan for avoiding that quicksand.

    • Smitty
      June 2, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      You don’t understand socialism at all, the end game isn’t “competent management”, the end game is to use the state to steal all private assets, and for that Socialism works great.

      All the world’s capital outflows have an upside, a capital inflow somewhere else.

      • June 2, 2016 at 5:18 pm

        There is no upside to capital inflows if the countries that are losing their money collapse or go into recession. Our Fed might raise rates this month where the rest of the world is flirting with ZIRP or actual NIRP which should mean hot money will pour into the US and do what? Prop up sick companies that should have folded years ago but were tossed a lifeline of cheap money..
        JerryBear is right that the Socialist/Communist regimes were nothing of the sort and had more in common with National Socialism which was fascism and cult of persoanlity.. Would the USSR had actually achieved Socialism if Lenin hadn’t been murdered and Stalin not taken power? ( now believed Stalin had him poisoned) Probably not because they had no concept or history of Democracy.

    • June 2, 2016 at 3:56 pm

      Brilliantly put. And when you look at the demographic-economic-terrorism nexus at play going forward in Europe, well, it looks like they are royally screwed.

      Something I wrote in Feb: “Burning down the house in 2016.”

  5. P Walker
    May 31, 2016 at 6:43 am

    I don’t think employers in France would react in the way you just said they would. Or how these employers and their paid lackeys are claiming they would.

    Firms are far more likely to to seize the opportunity as individual firms to save themselves leaving someone else to pick up the costs. They will all be rushing for the exits, not to hire, but to fire. Beware statisticians and economists wielding mathematical models and flawed logic because all those people can do is cheerlead societies on in the “race to zero.” It’s all they have and so continue to double down on failure.

    Instead of being more prone to hire people in France, the new law is far, far, far more likely to usher in an era of mass layoffs. I can virtually guarantee that the unemployment rate in France will go up, not down because that serves the interests of the elite.

    • May 31, 2016 at 8:04 am

      Under the old law, mass layoffs for economic reasons are not impossible (but not easy!!) to do. They happen quite a bit, including shutting down entire plants. So the new labor law will NOT lead to more mass layoffs.

      Firing for specific reasons, such as performance-related or other reasons, is the hard part. They’re fiercely contested and get very expensive.

      I started up a company in Belgium, where the labor code is similar in making it hard to fire people. This makes it a huge risk to hire anyone because, once hired, you’re stuck with that employee, even if it doesn’t work out. The solution in Belgium at the time was to hire contractors, or hire in other countries …. yes, the unintended consequences.

      • P Walker
        May 31, 2016 at 9:09 am

        Hollande and his coterie of imbeciles are not doing this at all for altruistic reasons; whether they are intellectual imbeciles or doing this to support other compatriots in the same elite orbits doesn’t really matter. These of “reforms” never, ever end up the way they’ve been sold to the public.

        In a similar way that American congressional candidates, together with an endless stream of pundits in print and on the airwaves, always fawn over the expected rise in high paying export jobs that inevitably arise from “free trade” agreements. This shows that these market liberalizations are the only thing people of limited leadership and intellectual capacity can master and the intellectual bankruptcy found in academia despite all previous promises have rung hollow.

        Worse, the likes of people such as Hollande are nothing but simple bureaucrats who take orders from their belief system (aka ‘herd mentality’). Their sole role as bureaucrats isn’t just to provide ‘an’ answer but to provide ‘the’ answer. That’s why academia spends so much time coming up with mathematical models and so when the old solutions of the past don’t work, you always see a double-down response in the wake of failure.

        Education, post-secondary in particular, is no longer about reality, but indoctrination. I’m ashamed to have been part of it given what it’s wrought upon the world.

        So, when I see Hollande and others proclaim this as a solution to an underlying problem (of their own making), I see nothing but red. Not to mention the fact this is something would have expected from a Sarkozy, not a Socialist.

        I’m sure Yanis Varoufakis and others will point out that this kind of bloodletting did not solve the underlying economic and social problems anywhere at any time. On the contrary, even the IMF recently, and publicly, admitted these “crush labour” approaches mades things worse wherever it was attempted.

        Yet, Hollande and Valls are showing their “religiosity” towards their doctrine. Or are they faking it merely to appear as if they are “doing something.” Again, it doesn’t matter. It just means they have to go, and as soon as possible.

        Even despite a cursory glance at reality, or seeing former stalwarts express doubts, it’s amazing how the inertia keeps everything pretty much on the same course as before. Right into the iceberg…

      • Mary
        May 31, 2016 at 9:57 am

        Over and over your blog documents how US workers are being screwed by corporate capital’s unfettered ability to overwork, underpay and eventually replace their employees with robots. Now you seem to be arguing that labor has no right to fight for job protection.

        I’m confused.

        • May 31, 2016 at 10:13 am

          Mary, everything has a balance.

          Without businesses, there are no jobs. France is figuring this out. You’ve got to have an environment where businesses can thrive and are encouraged to hire.

          This is not about pay. France has a reasonably high national minimum wage (compared to the US). The SMIC, as it’s called, is now at €9.67 per hour ($10.76).

          This is about flexibility. Businesses need to have some flexibility, they need to be able to change, they need to be able to promote good workers and week out bad ones.

        • Chip Javert
          May 31, 2016 at 6:50 pm

          Yes, Mary, you are confused.

          There probably are examples of where American employees are getting screwed, but that’s not universally (or even mostly) accurate throughout the economy. In any event, if you’ve had enough “abuse” at Company A, you can quit and go to work for Company B.

          Not so in France. If you quit Company A, it’s really, Really REALLY hard to get hired by Company B. Further, as stunning as France’s 10% unemployment is, it is even worse because this is concentrated among the young.

          If you actually believe labor unions fight for worker job protection, you should look at US auto maker employment figures from 1960-currentvery few unionized industries that have more union workers now than 20-40 years ago (when US population was smaller.

          You want job protection? Get a good education (not gender studies or sports management), and focus on delivering value-add to your customers.

  6. NotSoSure
    May 31, 2016 at 8:24 am

    All the supposed economic troubles in China and yet visitors only down 1.4%. Sometimes I am not sure what to believe.

    • May 31, 2016 at 8:27 am

      Not “1.4%” but 14%!

      • NotSoSure
        May 31, 2016 at 12:28 pm

        Oops sorry, but still 14% after a record year could simply be a return to the mean on top of the security issues.

    • JerryBear
      June 1, 2016 at 8:47 pm

      Chip, American workers are being screwed on a massive scale. You re really out of touch, You should not substitute theoretical presumption. Theory isn’t truth, facts are, The theory helps us to understand the facts, not substitute for them.

  7. Paulo
    May 31, 2016 at 8:46 am

    I had to chuckle at Kevin’s comments about how socialists don’t know how to govern? And in the US, with gridlocked Houses, no firm budgets, few laws being passed, with the saviours of Trump/Clinton possibly coming to the rescue, the US is now the paragon of good government? Come on. Just who is that new Supreme Court nominee again? Trump is going to solve the California drought problems. According to him it is a no brainer easy. Maybe France can rent him?

    “They’d rather unemployment soared to 15% than make it feasible for businesses to hire more workers.”

    I think it is always a little more complicated than staements like that. First of all, there is no trust left in the business culture or cycle. If there was, there wouldn’t be any Unions. Period. You wouldn’t need them. Plus, I think it is too easy for republics to become polarized, as in the US. Certainly, the many parties of Italy are a bit of a joke, but a parliamentary system with a majority in power can be very effective. When Canada has a minority Govt. it also works well as a concensus is usually forced to avoid the Govt falling. But, to speak to the above it always comes back to trust. Why do come cities have rent controls? Same thing. If you didn’t need them they wouldn’t exist. “Oh those poor landlords. If only there were no rent controls they would be building housing for those renters and the rents would come down. What are they thinking”? Righhhht.

    The pendelum swings both ways. As far as France goes, what dealings I have had with French people, (not Quebecois), has always been difficult. First of all, they know everything. Secondly, the first words out of their mouths in a conversation is, “non, non, non”; spoken very quickly…. then they proceed to tell you the real facts and God help you if you try to get a word in edgewise. Thirdly, they seem to take the contrary view as a matter of course. If you say it was sunny, yesterday, the response might be, “are you sure about that? It was not sunny all day, there were some clouds”. My neighbour is French. If I remark about the weather forecast his first response is, “Weathermen, what do they know? They are always wrong”. My brother, who has lived in Paris most of his life assures me it is a national trait!! Last, if you mix these traits up in conflict and survival issues I don’t think agreement and cooperation is remotely possible.

    My sister leaves for France this Thursday. hah. I won’t send her the article. Plus, my brother has lived there for almost 50 years, now.

    Like I said, trust does not exist. Hollande is and has been ineffective, anyway. Sarkozy is an insider crook. Likely, he will be voted in next go around. The pendelum swings. The place is ungovernable.

    • ERG
      May 31, 2016 at 1:27 pm


      Sixty percent of the US Federal Government’s budget goes to social welfare/entitlement programs.

      If that doesn’t make the United States a Socialist country, then I don’t know what does.

      • JerryBear
        June 1, 2016 at 9:06 pm

        Let’s keep it simple. In Karl Marx’s time. most people were independent farmers, shopkeepers and craftsmen. Marx predicted that in the future, the great majority would be proletariat, that is to say, they would work for a wage or a salary (it doesn’t just apply to factory workers). Nowadays that has come true, Most of us are no longer independent but work for wages or salary. This means that we rely on the economic system for our means of survival, whether our employers or the government social support network.
        I have had the impression for a long time that business cannot afford to provide all the means of survival for all their workers. This is why the government support network is so important. But now, the business community is both trying to minimize the amount of support they give their workers while at the same time, deep sixing the support network. If they succeed, they will end up denying a large proportion of the American people of the means of existence which can only lead to a violent response. Very few will choose to go find some alley where they can quietly starve to death.

      • JerryBear
        June 3, 2016 at 11:49 pm

        That kind of “socialism” is absolutely necessary. Do you think the business community could meet all those needs or pay their workers to meet them? It makes my point that big business cannot really do that. Few people are independent and there is no choice but for the government to do that. Before Social Security something like 90% of the elderly in this country were effectively destitute. The alternative to “socialism” of this sort is to have the kind of society you see in Indonesia or Bangladesh. Is that really your cup of tea?

    • JerryBear
      June 1, 2016 at 8:53 pm

      I think Napoleon once wailed in dismay, “How can I govern a country with over 400 kinds of cheese?!” If you really want to see the feathers fly, get two Frenchmen arguing over which is the best cheese….

  8. Humpty
    May 31, 2016 at 9:15 am

    Incidentally these same laws are in force in Mexico – hire someone and you might as well marry him. Basically you cannot fire anyone who has been working for you after a year – so, it is a system of constant turnover and low wages. ‘The government is for the worker’ is a constant refrain in Mexico and people are elected to perpetuate a system that destroys their economic lives. They invade the US and want the same thing. The democratic party here would love to dictate the terms of employment. Unemployment compensation going on for years is the first step to that.

  9. JohnS
    May 31, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Americans have their own messed up systems too, but they love to criticize everyone else while their own problems remain unsolved.
    I’m not sure if living in the country of Trump & Clinton is any better than what France offers. I lived in both, and there are pros and cons of each.

  10. ke
    May 31, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Under rigged capitalism, socialism makes sense to those who feel powerless, and the marriage lasts so long as natural resources are plentiful. Tourism is a loss leader, depending on people willing to work for falling living standards, as rent inflation runs away from wages because the tourists are printing money, and the local regime is collecting it, essentially laundering each other’s money, while subjecting their own populations to the losses. Profit for the few at cost to the many. Most have not experienced demographic deceleration in their genes line, so they have no coping mechanisms, and government is an actuarial ponzi, which is why the CBs are ineffectual.

    May 31, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Crime is yet to strangle and collapse the French Tourist Economy.

    With hundreds of thousands of Muslims, Arabs, North Africans flooding into France, it will have huge “no-go zones” as we have here in America.

    In the early 1970’s, I used to visit France every summer. I could sleep in the train stations, walk from the train, bus, tram or sub-way back to the Youth Hostel, through small quiet streets…..can I do that today?

    If I got off at the wrong stop, it was like being in Paris around 1930 with little apartments, etc. Can I do that now? What has changed?

    I could go out late and walk to the Eiffel Tower and see it at night, walk beneath it. Lovely. Peaceful. Can I do that now? What has changed?

    I and a few other young guys and girls would purposely “get lost” and look for restaurants that had no English menu. Can I do that today? Why not? I know why and if you have the guts, you will know why.

    France is dead.

    • May 31, 2016 at 10:16 am

      France is a heck of a lot safer than the US … check out the homicide rates!!!

      • Merlin
        May 31, 2016 at 12:31 pm

        Make sure you are comparing like demographics: all in the US know our homicide rate is driven by predominantly urban, black on black killings. It would be useful to see US rate excluding black AND illegal Hispanic contribution. (What is the Hispanic % in your cali prisons?)

        May 31, 2016 at 3:42 pm

        Homicide rates? Yes, in the “no-go zones” I mentioned.

        If the US crime rates subtracted out the killings that take place in the urban areas of our major cities, such as Baltimore, Birmingham, Chicago, Detroit, Gary, Newark, Memphis, East St. Louis, Atlanta, etc, the US falls to, something like, #30 in crime rates/statistics for the entire world.

        America consists of at least 2 Worlds. Approaching 3 rapidly.

        The data is there to back up my uncomfortable comments, but the realization of this is very disturbing.

        Gun crime in America is found in a specific demographic niche and the data backs that up. It is also why no gun laws will stop it since those that do the shootings and killings don’t obey gun laws.

        This is a topic that is going to bring down numerous American cities. As the “tax base” leaves (that is code), there will be no income for numerous large US Cities. As for the pensions they owe the firemen, Policemen and teachers from the past years? Forget it. Municipal bonds from these cities will be worthless in our life-times.

        This is a touchy topic, yet there are some blog-sites that discuss it directly and without PC fear.

    • frederick
      May 31, 2016 at 11:47 am

      Dead İ dont think so By the way İ am an American living in Turkey and last week i left my car door unlocked and every item was safe and sound in the morning. Couldnt do that in ANY major US city İ was in central İstanbul by the way a mega city of 18 million Very low violent crime rate Been here since 2004 and never had a problem other than cabs trying to rip me off Turkish Muslims are great from my experience anyway

      • nick kelly
        May 31, 2016 at 4:39 pm

        My sister first went to Turkey on biz (college rep) and TOTALLY fell in love with the place and people. Has visited since on holiday.
        BTW: there are all kinds of Roman ruins and they are accessible.

        • NotSoSure
          May 31, 2016 at 6:04 pm

          I loved Turkey. The food, etc were great!!! Want to see Roman ruins, can’t go wrong with The Library at Ephesus.

          Go on a food tour in Istanbul. I guarantee you’ll have a fantastic time.

    • JerryBear
      June 1, 2016 at 9:16 pm

      i lived in Saudi Arabia and always felt safe. I talked to Arabs from other countries and they said things were similar in their countries unless the social order had broken down. Crime is punished harshly under Islamic law. Even something like two men getting into a fist fight is likely to result in both being thrown in jail for a good while. Disturbing the peace and vandalism is very severely frowned upon. I think you are being overly prejudiced towards Arabs. Do you actually know any?

  12. Petunia
    May 31, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Aside from most people being mostly broke, couldn’t the tourism problem be about the Muslim invasion. I remember somebody commenting: what’s the point of going to Europe to see Muslims. I think there is a lot of truth in the comment. Francophiles want to see France, to enjoy what is French, can they even do that anymore? Same thing with the rest of Europe.

    • frederick
      May 31, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Not true İ own an apartment in Warsaw and its still very much Polish Great nightlife cheap and good beer and food low cost of living and low crime rate Great mass transit as well Great small city and İ wish İ could spend more time there Zagrebs wonderful too especially if you like blondes

  13. Clever.One
    May 31, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Try offering tourists free concert tickets…

  14. JimTan
    May 31, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Easing France’s Labor Laws now could also benefit companies looking for cheap labor. This is likely a major interest pushing its implantation. Unlike the U.S., I think France (and many European countries) historically have had a limited pool of ‘cheap’ illegal immigrant labor. The current migrant crisis throughout Europe is changing this. A professor at the London School of Economics recently addressed the subject:,-says-new-LSE-research.aspx

    My guess is migrants will reshape many aspect of European economies, shifting wage negotiating power in favor of companies.

  15. Nicko
    May 31, 2016 at 10:49 am

    It wouldn’t be summer in France without nationwide labor protests. They still have the croissants, cheese, wine, and all that. They’ll still get millions of rich Chinese tourists (and everyone else) flocking to spend big bucks at Euro Disney and Versailles.

  16. Merlin
    May 31, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Could this be why tourism over all Europe has declined by people from Judeo-Christian countries?

  17. d'Cynic
    May 31, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Just want to add that France is under the state of emergency, which has been extended to cover the soccer championship.
    I am confident, the French will manage to kick the can down the road for another day. Just like some people in position of power closer to home.
    And what are the French choices out there, and in fact everywhere.
    1. The current socialists with an unpopular president, and perhaps slightly more popular Manuel Vals. I think, they can’t be too competent if they tried to ram through a comprehensive package, including extending the work week. And that before the summer tourist season, and a soccer championship coming.
    2. The UMP of short tempered N. Sarkozy who has a baggage from the previous presidency, including co-creating the chaos in Libya that just keeps giving.
    3. Waiting in the wing is Front National whose last election slogan was: Ni gauche, ni droite, Front national (Neither left, nor right). Perhaps that will be the final outcome everywhere.

      May 31, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Why not try freedom?

      Let someone who owns a business run it with freedom? Free to hire who they want.

      Free for someone to take the job or not. Free for someone to leave a job if the boss/owner is a jerk.

      Why not freedom?

      If the French people want “power”, then shut the borders and “force” those who own a business to hire French people. Why should the citizens of France have to constantly compete with immigrants, etc.? This is the evil trick American “robber barons” did in the late 1800’s. They kept the borders wide open and thus kept wages low.

      Shut the borders, force French business owners to hire French people, but give the business owners freedom so that the best person does the job and nobody uses force against each other.

  18. Walt
    May 31, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    I spoke with a clerk at Home Depot here in Florida. He had gone on a tour to Mackinac Island and the Traverse City area in Michigan. A tour leader asked all the participants why they came to Michigan. Most replied, that they didn’t feel safe going to Europe anymore.

  19. Julian the Apostate
    May 31, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    Wow. This seems to have ignited a firestorm. Crony capitalism is not Capitalism. It is a perversion of Capitalism backed by a government gun. It is quite simply theft. Unions had little sway in the late 1800s, they didn’t become powerful until FDR put government guns behind it. No system is perfect we are talking about the real world here. But statism, whether Fascist or Communist, always ends in piles of human corpses, and Socialism is its gateway drug. These looters are not the champion of the ‘little people’ that’s just camouflage. They’re after power, and they mean it. Freedom has a gun to its head everywhere now, even in the United States. The immigrants in the 1800s came here legally, and were expected to assimilate. And most of them were Europeans. The country did not support them with handouts. A lot of them came with 67 cents in their pocket and did good. They did not parade around political rallies with the flags of the Old Country demanding to make America INTO the Old Country, like the Muslims and Mexicans are doing now. Not all of them of course but enough. They have brought bed bugs and lice and tuberculosis with them. Half of people today are riding it the wagon (feel the Berne) and those who are pulling the wagon, why, we’re voting for Trump. Why? Because screw ’em – that’s why.

  20. Mary
    May 31, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    Those progressives in America love the European welfare states, their cradle to grave government sponsored safety net, destructive unions, binding labour laws. And France is just one of the countries where this welfare system is rearing its ugly heads, perpetuated by those violent unions. (Well, look at Greece for more inspiration.)
    I hope those French, (alongside the Venezuelans, the Greeks) are feeling the bern.

    • economicminor
      June 1, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      Mary, Mary, Mary, you seem to think that what we have here in the US is so great vs the European style of Capitalistic Socialism.. For the few who have money and property in the US things are pretty sweet. Same for those in Europe who have money.

      On the other hand, IF you are one of the many who have neither money nor real assets and you actually live in a democratic state, whereas your vote actually counts for something, why wouldn’t you want job and medical security?

      Europe got along pretty good until the advent of neo-keynsian economists took over the banking industry in the entire world. Everything is now about leveraged debt. You can not have exponential debt increases in a finite world.

      Their games of financial monopoly has destroyed or will destroy the political systems of the entire world. This is way beyond whether which kind of capitalism works better for the majority.

      If you don’t like Europe’s brand of capitalistic socialism, just don’t go there. Don’t act like we are soooo superior, we aren’t. Not any longer. We have huge ghettos and fa villas and extreme poverty and lots of violence here in the US. Just go visit one of those areas of your own country and see how wonderful it is to be an American for millions of Americans.

      • JerryBear
        June 1, 2016 at 9:53 pm

        I see nothing Keynesian about giving huge sums to the banks and finance industry. Keynes would have given the money to the people to stimulate consumption and through the multiplier effect the whole business cycle. What have done is take vast sums of money from the people, who largely spend it to the rich who sit on it or use it to speculate. At any rate this depresses consumption which in turn depresses the whole business cycle. The vital part of money in circulation is that which is available the people to spend on their needs and desires. It is the part of the money supply that does the vital work of the economy. Tying up so much of it in nonsense like the huge multi-trillion dollar burden of derivatives contracts the true working money supply and pushes economic depression. If you know something about Milton Friedman’s theory of Monetarism then what I said should make sense. Look up what he said about the Great Depression.
        As for the current disaster, it doesn’t spring from Keynesian economics but from Market Fundamentalism and NeoLiberal economic theories. Keynes economics resulted in decades of prosperity and growth not the current mess.
        Is there no common sense on here?

        Vox Clamanta in Deserto

        • economicminor
          June 1, 2016 at 11:09 pm

          Mister Voice in the Wilderness,

          I didn’t disparage Keynes.. Neo-Keynesian economics is another matter.. it goes right along with Neo-Liberal politics which I will endlessly disparage and malign as not being in the best interests of anyone who is not of the elite or the privileged.

          Otherwise I enjoyed your commentary.

          As to no common sense here. Here, meaning on this blog or in this world in general?

          Common sense often loses to greed and hubris.

          Once the money is in a pocket, getting it out, no matter the right or the due becomes difficult when the person holding it has a sense of privilege or entitlement and is within a system that protects them.

  21. chris Hauser
    May 31, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    hollande is a dolt.

    so why not trompe?

    • JerryBear
      June 3, 2016 at 11:39 pm

      Ah! I stand corrected my good Sir, I apologize for my obtuseness. I admit I have never heard of that diabolical fraud called “NeoKeynesian” and I shudder at the sacrilege. As for common sense, it is lacking throughout the world, and not least of all in this country. I sometimes fear that the American nation will perish. not in a bang or a whimper, but a giant “Duh!” of stupidity. In case anyone might have noticed, I took two years of Latin in high school and it has proved to be absolutely invaluable. If any of you have children in high school I highly recommend that you encourage them to take Latin. It will serve them far better than a couple of years of French or German which they will almost certainly not learn to speak and will soon forget.

      Lingua facit hominem

  22. ML
    June 1, 2016 at 1:00 am

    Never mind France striking, of more concern to my wife is the fact that it is raining in Paris and disrupting the tennis tournamant.

  23. posa
    June 1, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    If the demand was strong, there would be hiring. Strict labor laws in France have been around for a while. Didn’t inhibit employment in the past.

  24. nico
    June 11, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    I’m french living in the West suburb of Paris.

    To make a little joke i will tell you that is not a problem because the socialist government has already replaced these lost foreigners customers by africans and arab refugees …

    Theses guys are the new generation of tourists without money.
    They are breaking down our cities and since a few months they began to destroy Paris too.

    They are everywhere in the streets begging for money more and more in an aggressive way and they ask for free houses for money for nothing without working at all.

    Chinese and japanese people don’t come anymore because of pickpockets even in museums and because Paris is more and more dirty.

    You don’t know really what is happening in France now but the country is diving real fast we are in a pre civil war here and i don’t overstate at all.

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