Monday, May 14, 2007

France's Election: Revenge of the Old People?

Why would France's elderly (60+) vote for a government reformer intent on lengthening work weeks and making the country more competitive? Tom Peters has a theory:

The real story is far different. As to "the trounce," Trounc-ee Royal was in fact the trounc-er with a "very interesting" "little" slice of the population. She in fact handily topped Sarkozy among those who are in the 18-59 demographic. That ain't Gen X, my friends, that's more or less everybody on active duty in the workforce!
So how, in the end, did Sarkozy become the Ultimate Grand Trounc-er? Simple. He beat the bloody hell out of Royal among the 60-and-up crew. "Beat the bloody hell out of" equates to unheard of margins that were above 2-1.
That is, Team Elder exerted incredible, decisive de facto unity and power in France's demographically old-and-getting-older-and-we're-healthy-and-will-
be-around-for-a-long-long-time population. It's not that Sarkozy beat Royal. The actual story is that the 60+ geezers have ordered the wee 60 minus crew to get the hell to work and stay the hell at work ... so the Six Zero Plussers can get their hands on the loot they need to spend their remaining winters in Nice, or some such.
So it really is the conflict between selfish generations, in his view.

But, there seems to be more to the story than even Tom Peters thinks. The only group Royal won out and out were the 45-59 year olds. Are the Boomers as indulgent in France as they are in America? Seems so. In the United States, though, this huge generation holds significant sway. And their kids are voting age now, too. Are they any better?

Maybe the older French and younger working French (not the college students inclined to communism since most have never worked a day in their lives and haven't experienced the soul-sucking wretchedness of working hard and watching half of it go to the big government black hole) actually want a better France--a more vibrant, economically viable France.

Or not.

H/T Brussels Journal

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