United States of France

Speaking of politics, this article from TIME Magazine is pretty funny, if not pathetic:

You just know the Frogs have only increased their disdain for us, if that is indeed possible. And why shouldn’t they? The average American is working two and a half jobs, gets two weeks off and has all the employment security of a one-armed trapeze artist. The Bush Administration has preached the “ownership society” to America: own your house, own your retirement account; you don’t need the government in your way. So Americans mortgaged themselves to the hilt to buy overpriced houses they can no longer afford and signed up for 401(k) programs that put money — where, exactly? In the stock market! Where rich Republicans fleeced them.


We’ve always dismissed the French as exquisitely fed wards of their welfare state. They work, what, 27 hours in a good week, have 19 holidays a month, go on strike for two days and enjoy a glass of wine every day with lunch — except for the 25% of the population working for the government, who have an even sweeter deal. They retire before their kids finish high school, and they don’t have to save for $45,000-a-year college tuition, because college is free. For this, they pay a tax rate of about 103%, and their labor laws are so restrictive that they haven’t had a net gain in jobs since Napoleon. There is no way the French government can pay for this lifestyle forever, except that it somehow does.

Anyways, with all the financial institutions going bankrupt everywhere, I’m just glad Nomura bought back Lehman Brothers’ Asian operation and saved the jobs of 2 of my friends… at least for now.

Prime Ministers of Japan

  • Junichiro Koizumi小泉 純一郎 – 2001 to 2006 – grandfather was Minister of Posts and Telecommunications
  • Shinzo Abe安倍 晋三 – 2006 to 2007 – grandfather was Prime Minister
  • Yasuo Fukuda福田 康夫 – 2007 to 2008 – father was Prime Minister
  • Taro Aso麻生 太郎 – soon to be sworn in – grandfather was Prime Minister, father in law was Prime Minister

Can you see a pattern here?