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October 26th, 2010
05:54 PM ET

Spending cuts in U.S. lead to what we’re seeing in France?

ALT TEXT

 (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

From CNN's Jack Cafferty

Take a good look at what's going on in Europe, because we just might be next:

As France tightens its fiscal belt, protesters continue to take to the streets.

Earlier today, the French Senate passed the final draft of a bill that raises the minimum age for retirement from 60 to 62, and raises the full retirement age from 65 to 67.

This pension reform measure, which is expected to become law next month, has drawn more than a million protesters.

Unions have walked out on refineries, choking the nation's oil supply. There have been strikes at major ports, disrupted train service and garbage collection. More than 9,000 tons of rotting garbage are piled up in the streets of Marseilles alone.

Students have also come out by the thousands to demonstrate against the government cut-backs. In all, it's estimated these strikes are costing France's economy more than $500 million a day.

And it's not unlike what we saw last spring and summer in Greece, where tens of thousands protested sweeping reforms there, including cuts in pension benefits and increasing the retirement age to 65.

Union protests disrupted plane, ferry and public transport service and public offices were shut.

Meanwhile, despite all the budget cutting, it probably still won't be enough. Experts say Greece is likely to default over the next three years.

There's a lesson in all this for the U.S. If our leaders want to get serious about this nation's staggering deficits, they're going to have to make tough cuts – to things like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. They're going to have to raise taxes – maybe a lot – and perhaps raise the retirement age. In other words, it could get very, very ugly.

Here’s my question to you: Will spending cuts in the U.S. lead to the kind of thing we're seeing in France?

Interested to see which ones made it on air?

Eric

Whatever the solution to our economic woes may be, one thing for sure is that it will be painful to many folks. None of the politicians running for election will talk about this upcoming pain which I find incredibly interesting. On the flip side, the American people don't even see it coming and think all the solutions will be easy. Won't they be surprised. I appreciate your bringing this up.

*******************

Anne Marie in Pennsylvania

Once something is given, it's almost impossible to take away. Political pandering to voting blocs and misguided liberalism have made us weak and dependent. Very soon we'll be asked to accept the burden of sacrifice as Americans used to do...patriotically, without resorting to French-type hissy fits. Ultimate reaction will depend on the inspiration of the leader doing the asking.

*******************

Don in Canada

No way. The politicians in France and England have guts. They really do have the best interests of their countries at heart, so they make the tough, cost-cutting decisions despite their unpopularity with so many voters. American and Canadian politicians are gutless wonders, concerned only about offending no one and getting re-elected. There will be no general strikes or other civil unrest in America. Just eventual bankruptcy.

*******************

Paul in Hawaii

Jack, If you ask the people in the street what our national debt is, 1 in 100 would know it's $13.6 trillion dollars. The other 99 are completely clueless. What does that tell you about the problems we face in the future? It tells me that we are in DEEP, DEEP trouble.

*******************

Mike in Florida

Jack, It's not spending cuts that will lead to the kind of things we are seeing in France and Greece. It is the entitlement society we have created. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, and the eventual takeover of health care by the feds are what will lead us to violence in the streets when the government finally goes bankrupt! Socialism doesn't work, Jack! Show me the list of great socialist nations brimming with a healthy middle class with an unemployment rate under 7% and a government with a budget surplus!

*******************

Fay in Pennsylvania

Jack, I do not think it will make a difference to the average American. As long as there is Monday night football, a case of beer and a credit card for the wife to go to the mall then all is right with the world. Sad to say but true.


Filed under: Budget cuts • US Economy
soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. Ken in Maryland

    No. You'll have a handful of protests from the vocal few, but otherwise people will gripe and complain amongst themselves, then vote for the same people again in 2 years.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  2. John from San Antonio

    We will not see any spending cuts. Nobody is willing to sacrifice until they no longer have a choice. The remedy at that time will be as painful as it can be, but we never learn from history. It is said that history repeats itself. it could also be said that it repeats itself because man is too stupid to learn from mistakes.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  3. Don Desaulniers (Belleville, Ontario)

    No way. The politicians in France and England have guts. They really do have the best interests of their countries at heart, so make the tough cost-cutting decisions despite their unpopularity with so many voters.
    American and Canadian politicians are gutless wonders, concerned only about offending no one and getting re-elected.
    There will be no general strikes or other civil unrest in America. Just eventual bankruptcy.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  4. Terry in Chandler, AZ

    It would surprise me Jack if that type of protesting occurred in the U.S. Far too many people cannot name or recognize their Senators or Congressperson. Many do not bother to vote. Many are too self absorbed in their own lives or reality TV that they really are not aware of what is happening in the real life we experience each day.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  5. sheila

    Those kinds of emotions are possible anywhere when you feel you've been taken advantage of-whether we agree with their emotional outburst or not. In order to get our deficit under control, let's start with raising the taxes on the uber rich and get out of these wars

    October 26, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  6. wm in Penna

    Jack,
    We'll come: if it is bright and sunny, the beer is free. Wont stay long. See you there. Issues, we don't need no stin'kn issues we have no clue what is happening and less interest

    October 26, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  7. Kevin in CA

    Nope – Puritan work ethic will keep the American masses with head down, toiling away. That's what the 1 percenters are counting on.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  8. Brian - IL

    We have to get more activits like the 1960's if the US is to be France redux. I'm surprised people haven't taken to the streets more than they have. On the surface it would seem as if our "I desrve it" culture wouldn't put up with these types of actions, but somehow they have accepted outsourcing and long-term unemployment. It is already very difficult for those of us over, say, 50 or so to get hired despite so-called legal sanctions against age discrimination. But this I believe is because of technology–that the younger folks knew it just about out of the cradle where those of us in our 60's now had it thrust on us in midlife and had to learn it after our best and brighest years were behind us.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  9. Jim

    Jack,

    Or should I call you Jacques? No, we will not have demonstrations and walkouts here if the same types of laws are passed. We (Americans) will just take it and do nothing until the next election. And even then we won't do anything.

    Large corporations are in control and we won't do anything for fear of our jobs. Simple truth.

    Jim in Denver, CO

    October 26, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  10. keith in ky

    Only from the unions,goverment employees and the other people that can't take care of themselves–the usual suspects–the cry babies of society, the ones that like to live off of other peoples hard work.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  11. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, you can count on it. Cut welfare programs and watch the social leeches start the riots, looting, and distruction. Cut the entitlements that many Americans have worked all their lives to obtain, and watch the backlash from Seniors who can't go back to work to help themselves. Make no mistake, cuts are not going to be easy, however, if this country is going to survive, somebody better get the guts to start the dance.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  12. Meg from Troy

    Jack–
    I have no idea–this is America, not France. I don't think that we've become a European country and I didn't notice. Obviously, cuts will have to be made in order to bring down the deficit. I do not think
    Congress, in any configuration after this election, will have the courage or the morality to do what needs to be done. Americans are going to have to work together to solve this problem–and I don't see that happening any time soon–so we may take to the streets–who knows?

    October 26, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  13. Paul P.

    Jack, look at it this way, we already have Tea Party rallies right now, and other fervent, empassioned government opposition and this is before any tough choices have been made. So, yes, it will very likely lead to large protests similar to France, and with the lax gun laws in the States, they'll likely be carrying more than just picket signs.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  14. Minesh - Troy, MI

    Jack, yes. If we do not revise public sector union contracts ASAP – we will be in the same trouble as France and Greece.

    AFSCME is the biggest single donor to the Democrats during this election cycle – I wonder why.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  15. patti ---seattle

    not with the police state we have that always represses the activists..

    October 26, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  16. calaurore9

    The only meaningful cuts in spending will be Medicare, Social Security. Everyone is screaming we have too much government spending. But when they try to cut these government programs, Fifth Ave will become the Champs Elysee.

    Carol Colitti Levine
    Massachusetts

    October 26, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  17. Lynn Murray

    It is outrageous to consider raising the retirement age for the honest, hard-working middle class taxpayers who keep pulling the load for the rest of the country. Raising the retirement age is in so much of the conversation. How about we really discuss welfare that again, honest, hard-working middle class taxpayers are burdened with. That is corporate welfare. Let's have an honest, detailed look. We must also come up with "hard choices" concerning able-bodied workers who are on welfare for more than 5 years. Or is it that left-winged "bleeding hearts" and right-winged religious powers have us all silenced and paralyzed on that discussion?

    October 26, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  18. Gary

    Depends on what's being cut – pay raises voted for themselves in the middle of the night or Medicaid, medicare, Social Security.
    I would like to vote all of them out but it's not all of them. Some are just going along with the gang (gangs that do wrong are supposed to be imprisoned or am I wrong?)

    October 26, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  19. Rob in NC

    If only!! The US does not take to the streets like our European counterparts do. Their governments are actually afraid of the people because they know the people will throw them out and start over – not so in the US. People talk a good game but in the end all the same people get elected and do the same things... over and over again. Rob in NC

    October 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  20. David in Raleigh, NC

    Cut out wasteful spending, reduce the number of government agencies, reduce the number of government of employees, and reduce the pay of government employees to what private sector employees are getting for the same job.

    Lastly, repeal Obamacare.

    End all government entitlement programs other than Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    Shut down the Department of Education. It was created in the 1970's to keep our schools competitive against Asia and Europe. This has obviously been a failure.

    Shut down the Department of Energy. It was created in the 1970's to reduce our dependency on foreign oil and develop alternate forms of energy. This has obviously been a failure.

    These steps alone will reduce the deficit without raising taxes on hard working Americans in the private sector.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  21. David in Raleigh, NC

    The protesters in France are the rent-a-mob who travel the world looking for an excuse to protest.

    The majority of people in France are in favor of the changes.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  22. Carla from B'ham

    Yes - and I'll be out in the streets rioting with them. I've paid an arm and a leg into Social Security over the years, and my savings are gone, thanks to George Bush and the decline and fall of Wall Street. Social Security is all I have to retire on, barring an act of God. I am 64 and in terrible health. My group insurance kicks me onto Medicare next year. If any of these social services are compromised, I'll likely starve or die of an untreated illness anyhow, and I'd just as soon go down fighting.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  23. Bob in Kansas City

    If the cuts are not across the board and proportional to all then we could very well see some mass protests..everybody's going to have to pony up something, rich, poor, the military, even big business with their US Chamber of Commerce mouthpieces along with the right honorables who'll implement the changes if they can find the drawer where backbones are stored....we shall see, it could get interesting.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  24. Dave

    Spending cuts? Are you crazy? There isn't a single politician out there seriously interested in spending cuts. You can't get kickbacks if you aren't giving out free taxpayer money to companies. There will never be spending cuts, only the same ole' same ole'.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  25. Mr. D

    The setting sun is moving west. It will soon be our turn in the barrel and I'm afraid it won't be pretty.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  26. dennis in minneapolis minnesota

    Lets hurry up and get some republicans in office. We need to slash taxes on the rich quick to get that juicy trickle down. Oh man 15 years from now we'll be doing even better than we are now!

    October 26, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  27. hurricanepaul from Hawaii

    Jack, if you ask the people in the street what our Nationa Debt is, 1 in 100 would know it's $13.6 trillion dollars.

    The other 99 are completely clueless.

    What does that tell you about the problems we face in the future?

    It tells me that we are in DEEP, DEEP trouble.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  28. Ed Bacon

    Spending cuts in the U.S. could lead to civil unrest that is worse than in France. France does not have as pronounced income stratification as the U.S. does. As such, U.S. workers will get more angry when they are asked to shoulder the burden of a failed economy that was designed by rich investment bankers.

    Workers know that the proper philosophic rule is if you make a mess then you clean it up.If the bankers think that their Ayn Rand/laissez-faire game is sustainable then they are in for a rude awakening.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  29. Diogenes

    Most likely it will. The current 'beholding to special interest money' style in both parties will not allow cuts to anyone but middle class hard working America.
    Saying every program cuts 3%, every person pays 3% more and we weed out 3% of waste/fraud/abuse is to logical to survive in DC.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  30. Mary Steele

    Well Jack,

    We have options that the Democratic controlled Congress flatout refuses to implement that would save at least 2 billion dollars per state per year and get at least 6 million of our unemployed back to work!! What is it you ask? Strongly enforcing immigration laws already on the books!!!. If an employer "knew" that they would face heavy fines and mandatory jail time they would verify all employees and illegals would leave to find work elsewhere to avoid the same jail time as the employers!!

    It is completely irresponsible to pay out another 1/2 Billion dollars in unemployment benefits while they "still allow" 6+ million illegals to work our jobs! For those who oppose, give up your only job to any number of foreign workers that DO qualify for it, I bet you would be on our side then!

    Yorktown VA

    October 26, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  31. Bert

    What is happening in France is exactly what we need in the USA! I honestly don't know what the american people are waiting for?We have been taxed and taxed!No jobs!Big government is so corrupt we can't trust any politician or either party?
    Sad part we believed voting was a choice for change?Wrong!More of the same!
    Enough is enough!Let the streets through out our country be filled with peaceful protests so our voices have been heard!Shut down corporate america and the big government.It is a last resort before the streets are filled with hatred and violence!
    I'am for whatever it takes to be heard.Just hope our cries are heard because the only other option will not be a pretty day in america!

    October 26, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  32. Melissa

    No, imaginary non-existent taxes lead to people running around with Tea Party signs dressed in costumes like they're from the 1700's when they don't even know what the Tea Party really stood for. Just a hint... it stood for "taxation without representation". Since everyone in this country HAS representation, they're a bunch of children.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  33. Viv from NY

    This will be USA if the Tea Party gets in control -Tax cuts for the rich = poverty for America

    October 26, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  34. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    Your last book predicted all of this. It already is very ugly out here. Food pantrys don't have enough food. Daytime robberies in my neighborhood have increased. The American Dream has turned into a Nightmare. People were living too high off the hog and now have to be brought back to reality. Many belts will have to be tightened. I am happy my parents have passed and do not have to see the best country on earth go down the tubes! Let's start being real here and call a Global Depression what it is instead of trying to pass it off as a mere recession.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  35. JIM PERIGNY

    People need to vent their frustrations and anger against over regulation of government even at the local level in our daily lives, while wasting billions on bailouts except for its middle class. People have had it...this is why the TParty has blossomed. STOP SPENDING MONEY!!! STOP TAXING US TO DEATH and CREATE JOBS!!!!

    October 26, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  36. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Jack,
    It's absolutely amazing that America was EVER the best country in the world.. This is one of those "boiling a frog" things... Because our Corporatocracy serves its own self interest first, and because they have been so successful at polarizing us around nonessential issues and eternally lowering our financial status while improving their own, and because they slip it to us in increments, Americans seem to just take it.

    We don't seem to have the finances, the intellect, the awareness, the resolve to join together and protect ourselves from the people we elect.

    By the time things are "bad enough" for us to try and take action, we will end up as a feudal society.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  37. dave in nash

    It's a revolution without arms which is exactly what this country needs. Then again, it's only because we'd have to borrow them from Israel, Iraq and a dozen other countries we support more than our own people. Isolate and cut foreign aid for a decade, that'll help.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  38. Steve, Clifton, VA

    The reality of the U S economy will force the American people to accept the kind of necessary spending cuts in the U.S as experienced in Europe, however, the American taxpayer will be more mature in their acceptance than our good friends in Europe as many of us saw this coming for the past decade. Time to pay the piper!!

    October 26, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  39. Scott Stodden

    It Could Very Well Lead To The Kinds Of Things We're Seeing In France If We The United States Is Not Careful! We Need To Get Spending And Our Deficit Under Control And To Wait Is To Long In My Opinion We Have To Do Something And Do It Now! We Are Faced With A $14 Billion Dollar Deficit Thanks To The Bush Administration And Now We Need To Cut Spending And Raise Taxes On The Rich And That Means Singles Making $200,000 Or More A Year And Couples Making $250,000 Or More A Year That Will Be The Only Way We Can Get This Deficit Under Control And Also Roll Back The George W Bush Tax Cuts For The Rich! It Worked In The 90's During The Clinton Administration And It Can Work Again!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    October 26, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  40. frankie

    France has had a very successful national health system for years. Anyone who thinks a national health system leads to socialism, take a look at how the French people are acting, I rest my case.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  41. Ralph Spyer

    The American people are mad as hell and are going to take it any more. Over 12 million illegal immigrants in this country and the government does nothing, my God China was able to build the great wall and we can 't even build a fence? 10% out of work , people are being kick out of their homes. Two wars with no money to pay for them with out the government stealing my social security. Americans have more guns than the people of France.Adolf Hitler came to power with high unenployment, the German government had to pay off world war one, and the Jews of 1938 ane the mexicans of to day.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  42. Eugene Womack Northern California

    Jack, it won't happen here. The French are just a bunch of whimps that are addicted to Obama style entitlements. Four more years of Obama's policies and we'll end up like Europe. Our Social Security retirement age was increased from 65 to 67 years of age and we didn't riot or whine here. My police officers union has followed suit without a complaint because we're responsible citizens. Can't say that about our pandering members of Congress can we Jack.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  43. Tish

    . . . Oui, Jack!

    October 26, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  44. yusufsamantar

    yes it will get worse.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  45. steve in fl

    It will if we continue to give the top 5-10% and corporate America a free ride on the back of the average American. Free enterprise is fine and preferable, but this economy is more like a free-for-all.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  46. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Jack, discretionary spending in FY 2010 was $1.39 trillion, or 38% of total spending. There is a lot of waste and potential for waste involved here. There is a lot of waste involved in Medicare and Medicaid programs and the government finally seems serious about finding and punishing the greedy slime-balls that are ripping off these programs. Bottom line, if we can reduce discretionary spending, especially the give-away programs (like that for gentlemen farmers), and get a handle on the crooks stealing from the Medi-programs, there might not be many other cuts necessary. For sure we don't need to cut spending on programs that provide true basic benefits to our children and our seniors.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  47. Linda in Arizona

    Why do you ALWAYS ignore cuts to the military for funding illegal, unnecessary, corrupt wars? There are hundreds of things we can cut without robbing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Your republican bias against the poor and middle class (the "lesser people") is showing again. To answer the question, if they cut social services, will it lead to "the kind of thing we're seeing in France": I HOPE so. Americans are such sheep though, they probably will just lie down and roll over for their corporate masters. Good for the Greeks! Good for the French! I'm glad their protests are so effective.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  48. ben stockton, calif

    i just got my copy of time magazine and it compares india with the us, india`s economy is going up and ours is going down, we need to stop outsourcing our jobs, and dont blame the employers for outsourcing your job when you demand a $30.00 an hour pay rate when all you do all day is put nuts and bolts together, remember reading about the rise and fall of the roman empire? we are going there eventually.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  49. Michael Roepke - Dallas

    Spending cuts in the U.S. should lead to the kind of thing we're seeing in France. But what would be more interesting is seeing the riots caused by the uber-rich having to to pay more in taxes.
    Isn't it time to stop the income gap?

    October 26, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  50. Brian, Baton Rouge

    If they eliminate the cap on wages subject to the payroll tax, Social Security and Medicare will be solvent for the foreseeable future, with no other changes required in benefits, retirement age, or payroll tax rates.

    It remains to be seen whether Congress would be willing to make this simple change, or whether they want to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly instead.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  51. Annie, Atlanta

    Hopefully our cuts come with provisions on huge corporations like GE and hedge fund managers to actually pay taxes in the future, as well as an end to the Bush tax cuts – all of them. Stop the wars. Then remove the SS cap on the first $106,000 of income. Maybe with a few changes we can avoid the revolution that’s brewing in France. Of course with people like the Koch Brothers successfully buying up congressional seats, I think we’re going to have to take to the streets anyway. It’s long overdue.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  52. honest John in Vermont

    Depends what you cut and where. Maybe we can start with Homeland Security and the bloated Pentagon budgets. Maybe we can cut back on the subsidies we give to big oil and the preferred money we give out to banks who sit on it. Maybe we can tax the Wall Street gamblers and cut back supporting them. Lets also cut back all the benefits that Congress bestows upon themselves too. Thats a good start.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  53. Charles in NJ

    Yeah it will be like one big union rally

    October 26, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  54. tom w.

    YES!! and i cain't wait!! after a lifetime of work, i'm retired and don't have anything else to do for fun. i'm not into all that distruction though, everything belongs to somebody. but chanting slogans and the other nonsense bring back the old days. i hope the police will take age into consideration and use nerf batons, i don't heal like i use to. and when they charge us protestors, if they'd make more noise than movement it would give us old folks time to turn our walkers around for the getaway. thanks, i'm starting to feel like i'm 50 again!

    October 26, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  55. Randy

    No. Corporate media has convinced us to worry more about dancing with the stars than our social safety net. Welcome to the "GLOBAL ECONOMY" and modern day reaganomics.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  56. Roy-Tampa

    Considering that we are becoming a welfare state just like France we are well on the way. The left is full of pseudos communist that make up the same crowd that in Paris. Could you imagine if Trumka could actually run away from riot police?...lol

    October 26, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  57. Pete from Georgia

    I disagree with a comparison to France..........today. France is a socialist country where the French has been pampered and babied by their Gov't. fo decades, much like what Obama wants for America.
    You can see what socialism has done to France. About the ONLY thing they have given the world are .................Croissants.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  58. Greg in Mechanicsburg

    We Americans are a bit more practical than the French. You might see some quacks in the streets and certainly the party out of power when these cuts are made will swoop down on the opportunity like vultures, but it is inevitable unless we want to break the hearts of China and default ourselves. I can think of worse things than bankruptcy.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  59. Eric

    Whatever the solution to our economic woes may be, one thing for sure is that it will be painful to many folks. None of the politicians running for election will talk about this upcoming pain which I find incredibly interesting. On the flip side, the american people don't even see it coming and think all the solutions will be easy. Won't they be surprised. I appreciate you bringing this up, Jack.
    The people of of France have been an "entitlement people" a little longer than we have, but we're close. I think we can expect screaming and hollering that will blow the roof off when the free lunch stand is closed for business.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  60. Rich McKinney, Texas

    There is a good chance that spending cuts will happen. This is what happens when the government raises it citizens. If the government pays for education, unemployment, retirement, defense and health care then it is to be expected. These things are not cheap and in American only 53 percent of the people pay federal income tax.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  61. Ryan

    I believe so Jack. In the U.S., however, it will create a liberal version of the Tea Party. I'll call it the People's Party, and it will allow flexibility to create a new platform and room to grow new leadership.

    Hopefully the result will be to bridge the gap between conservatives and liberals and a new direction that makes sense and is mutually beneficial.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  62. Rick in Northern California

    Jack I'm surprised it hasn't started already. If the Republicans take control over Congress again I guarantee it will start here. The first thing they will try to do is take as much away from us in the middle as possible starting with Social Security that I have paid into for 50 years.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  63. jan k

    Take the cap off Soc. Security contributions. Why should I contribute more in percentage of taxes than a billionare?

    October 26, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  64. Nallsie

    There will be civil disobediance if the union thugs in this country can't see past there own self interest and see that they are killing the golden goose.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  65. Michael keller

    No. We will blindly accept it as we do everything else.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  66. Marla in FL

    No, Jack. We won't see Americans standing up for themselves in the streets against their government's runaway fleecing of the American People. Why? Because Americans are self-absorbed, lazy, and selfish. How many actually bother to even vote? Riots? Mais NON!

    October 26, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  67. Le Roy Sanchez

    Remember it was the rich that caused this economic turn down. So, it is taxing the rich that has to be done to recoup some of that money. The French are saying why should the poor work longer just so that the rich can keep the money they "stole" from the economy? Why should we cut social programs so those that have all the money can keep it. Tax the rich, they can afford it. Besides, they've had the money long enough to make tons of interest on it.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  68. Jason, fairfax, va

    Yes. It will be so bad that I think wolf blitzer should move the situation room show to a different city now. I'm that afraid.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  69. Carol

    If the young people are smart they will protest raising the retirement age, how many jobs are going to be lost to the younger generation because the old people can't afford to leave. Think unemployment is bad now, just let Boehner raise the age to 70 we will have college students living at home until they are 40.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  70. Patrick

    I sincerely hope we will see similar protests as in Europe....it is the ONLY way we can hope to change the corporate corruption and break the control that irresponsible and greedy businesses have over our 'elected' politicians.
    Vive le Revolution Jacque

    October 26, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  71. fay in pa

    Jack, I do not think it will make a difference to the average American. As long as there is Monday night football, a case of beer and a credit card for the wife to go to the mall then all is right with the world. Sad to say but true.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  72. Karl from SF, CA

    Sorry, Jack, but we are probably headed the same way. No one has the huevos to do what really needs to be done and that is raise taxes back to the Clinton rates. Everybody wants services but no one wants to pay for them. If we can't afford it, we really don't need it or want. The free lunch is over.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  73. Wayne

    As far as Social Security is concerned, if both Democrats and Republicans paid back all the monies they took out of Social Security and never.. never take another dime, would we even be in trouble with at least this one program?

    October 26, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  74. Anne Marie, Pennsylvania

    Once something is given, it's almost impossible to take away. Political pandering to voting blocs and misguided liberalism have made us weak and dependent. Very soon we'll be asked to accept the burden of sacrifice as Americans used to do...patriotically, without resorting to French-type hissy fits. Ultimate reaction will depend on the inspiration of the leader doing the asking. JFK's words have been perverted to..."ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you". Sad, sad, sad.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  75. Lee Hoffman

    From a culture that gave us Freedom Fries, are Americans going to follow the French and protest the rising retirement age? Admit the French are right? I don't think so...

    October 26, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  76. Karen, Idaho Falls, Idaho

    If we start eliminating social programs, everyone will be out protesting. We don't need to cut social programs–just get us out of this damn war and use that money to pay off the national debt. We don't need to be building up other nations when our own is failing.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  77. Steve

    Probably not. Especially if we do not touch any Union benefits and just concentrate on Social Security and Medicade! That way we will only screw the older, hardworking seniors. They are way too good of citizens to riot. They are the sacrificial lambs.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  78. Mark Ernst

    We will have those kind of riots if the congress has the guts to go after federal entitlements including golden federal pensions and (government) health care for government retirees including politicians.

    That is why they want to cut social security and medicare.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  79. nate

    Unfortunately, NO, the US is composed of "sheeple" who are overly influenced by political messaging on the TV and can't think for themselves. I lived in France for 20 years, and can truthfully tell you that politcal manifestation is part of life. People are really engaged and active in standing up for the individual. The people stand up to business and push back oncorporate activism in legislation. Voices vs dollars (or euros in this case). It is this activism that has kept a narrow gap between wealthy and poor, and help to maintain a stable culture that is one of the most envied in the world. They may have gone a bit too far left, maybe.... but that is being corrected and that's fine. The US is far too far to the right, IMHO.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  80. Tom

    Yes,will will see the kind of thing going on in France,only more.
    We are not happy with the Obama grab of our earned benefits.

    Tom
    Winnetka,Ca.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  81. chuck in bishop ca.

    How about starting with defence spending, we spend more than the next 9 countries combinded. I'll bet we could pay for health care and rebuilding our infrestructure without raising taxes if we did that. It's just corperate wellfare as I see it.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  82. Kate Karam

    I would protest but that would mean missing Dancing with the Stars, Jersey Shore and American Idol.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  83. Eric Chaillot

    Jack, the conditions in the US are nowhere near what they are in France, concerning retirement age, social security, health insurance, college education and so on, and there is no reason to cut benefits in the US, unless, of course, you want to screw the American people even more. Then again, when I see the success of the Tea Party, it may just be that Americans want to get screwed even more. Go figure.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  84. T Curcio

    This corrupt government of ours always want to make cuts to the poorest an the elderly! What about the big fat automatic pay raises they give themselves and the billions they give foreign countries trying to Buy their friendship?! THIS IS NOT the country I grew up in! Wake up people and throw the bums out!

    October 26, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  85. Frenchman Transplant in Park Slope, Brooklyn

    Jack,

    Americans are too docile – make that sheepish. On the other hand, I think that the million or so French protesters are too aggressive – make that laughing hyenas.
    What, 62 instead of 60? What a difference two years make! In the States, I think the age should be pushed to 67, with exceptions with a "category" established for difficult labor.

    Like yours!
    Cheers!

    October 26, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  86. Mark Ernst

    Jack lets not forget this is the "Back to the Future" crowd. Even though everyone had lesson about the private financial sector when it crashed, Republicans want to shift social security into the private market. It's all about making more profits for the financial sector. Forget about security.

    If they were serious about the deficit there would be a war tax to pay for the credit card war. I guess trillions spent there don't count toward the debt it created!

    October 26, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  87. Jean-Yves Loizance

    No Jack, we will never strike like the French, we're Anglo not French and we dont know how to strike effectively! The French unions are organize and professional ( just look at the bataillon shape when they come down the boulevard) They is an organization that we could not match.

    By the way look at Charlie Rose show today and you will know why our problems did not strt with Obama!

    May be our kids should have less football and baseball and a little more geography and history!

    October 26, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  88. Michael Moran

    American's would have to put down their remotes and muster enough conviction to pull them away from their couch of complacency in order to see the kind of demonstrations happening in France. Unfortunately, American's should have already been out in the streets but, the dumbing down of our people has proven to be effective. How else do you think people like Rush Limbaugh convince people making minimum wage to favor the Republican agenda when it in fact further cuts their purse strings to do so. People are factually ignorant and morally ginned up, a truly terrible combination.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  89. Robert Jackson

    Why is it that for years politicians have continued to say we need to fix Social Security? The politicians in washington have been robbing the social security fund since its inception to the toon of more than 4 TRILLION DOLLARS. Social Security would have been just fine for the next Fifty years, wheres all the money that has been stolen from Social Security to prop up so many other failed programs and policies in our country.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  90. Jay From Coloardo

    It is inevitable if we have the guts to make these cuts. But we don't. However, cuts must be made. All I here are proposed cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicare. etc. Only the recipients of these programs will suffer. What about cutting the government employees of these programs. Great Britain is cutting 450,000 government jobs to save costs. Germany did the same. It makes sense.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  91. Victoria

    The budget cuts that are currently being discussed for America reflect projection 10,15,20 years out FORECASTED concerns! Nobody wants to pay taxes...no one wants to be Socialists and the rich will move to Switzerland. Your right to bring it up...I forecast Les Miserable right here in this country. People do react poorly when they haven't enough to eat, no where to live and the rich glutton til they vomit.
    VA

    October 26, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  92. Josiah

    There is a big difference between the French and us Americans. The French have been sacrificing a lot more than Americans of their individual income to taxes in order to support their infrastructure and things like pensions and retirement. It is a polite arrangement in civilized socities that means the individual sacrifices for the greater good, so the French have a right to be ticked off when the Government tries to take away from that sacrifice. Us ,on the other hand, complain about our massive deficit and somehow want to cut taxes at the same time. I personally think that people here are too confused to be angry.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  93. Jacqueline Mongeot

    I do not think it will happen in USA. The French and most Europeans have a spirit of solidarity that does not exist here. The American Labor unions lost their strength a long time ago. This said, I personally deplore what is happening in France.: If I understand and approve the right to peacefully demonstrate and publicly express frustration and revendications I do not approve destruction and violence led by agitators. It is going much too far. Working until turning 62 seems reasonable to me even if one entered the labor forces at age 18. So, no- we will not witness that kind of behavior here. We would have seen it during the past 18 months or so.
    Jacqueline San Diego, CA

    October 26, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  94. Rich McKinney, Texas

    The higher you raise the retirement age the fewer people that will ever reach it. The odds would be better at the casino on making a return on your money. You bet people will scream stomp and strike if the government does that and rightfully so. The main reason why they will complain is because our government leaders have their own retirement plan and what ever they do to ours will not effect theirs.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  95. maddy

    I doubt it people in this country are too scared,of there government that's whys nothing gets done in this country. If people in this country were like the french we would have universal healthcare, free public universities, better infrastucture, better education, legal marijuana and a government that is afraid of its people and actually get things done. Unfortunately people in this country only care about dancing with the stars and jersey shore. So I doubt anything will happen.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  96. peterp in SC

    DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING ON THOSE OF US AGE 50 AND ABOVE WE DO NOT HAVE TIME TO SAVE AND NO PENSIONS THANKS TO THE ECONOMY.

    All the Feds need to do is STOP SPENDING AND BAILING OUT EVERYONE!! Cut their spending and stop growing government.

    Social security would be fine if the FEDS would keep their hands out of the trustfund and put back the money they took out. We need a lockbox on it.

    MEANS TEST FOR SSI/MEDICARE

    Stop giving illegals SSI and Medicaid that would help.

    One last idea: Take away the CAP and tax all wages – why stop at 106k?

    October 26, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  97. Tom. Winnetka, Ca.

    Let us not forget about the 1 percent tax on all money transactions.
    Who is behind this,yep you guessed correct the life time politicians.
    Throw them all to the street.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  98. Sharon Warlick

    Why should they even consider cutting benefits for our citizens. Instead of cutting social security and medicaid, why don't we totally cut out retirement benefits for all the senators and congressman as well as their insurance benefits That way we would limit terms and force them to get a real job to earn their benefits and to live in the real world. By making them live by the same rules we do, maybe they would find inventive ways to save the programs for citizens of the United States.

    Additionally, why not put the 2 billion dollars they sent to Pakistan into solving social security and medicare/medicaid. When do the citizens of our country come first?

    October 26, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  99. andrew in aberdeen, nc

    Oui, Jack; and we'll start speaking French, blame everything bad on the U.S., kiss our enemies on both cheeks, and proclaim that we are simply too liberal to really object to the behavior of rougue nations. Heck, we may even build a bond fire to celebrate our support of our government spending us into a third world nation. Our elected officials have made us so proud. Not!

    October 26, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  100. SAMUEL ESSIEN

    Not at all! We are more civilized than the French, therefore we won't see anything as close as the "french mess." But we've got to raise taxes or introduce VAT someway and constrain our frivolous spending habit in order to have a shot at addressing this frightening national debt.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  101. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    We won't have a situation like the one in France if the Government "mans up" and cut entitlements to rich people, like oil companies, timber and cattle ranchers. It might raise the cost of hamburgers but with the obesity situation, people would be better off eating more vegetables. Also we should cut off money for the BLM to round up wild horses from the Federal land that they were supposed to be entitled to and pay rent for them to be kept on private land under starvation condition. This is a program that costs millions of dollars and does nobody any good and devastates a noble animal for no other reason to get kickbacks from private interests (like BP) who want to access to up federal land.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  102. Jim Blevins

    The extreme difference in wealth and income levels within the USA is certain to create problems sooner or later. Either the very rich realize that they are not really worth thousands of times as much as everyone else, or "there will be blood". That there is so much resistance to a very modest tax "increase" to those making more than a quarter of a million dollars a year, makes the later seem most likely.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    October 26, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  103. Jack Toledo, Ohio

    Jack,
    I am a 50 year old man, college educated and currently employed. In my 25 years of private sector employment I have never been elgible for corporate pension benefits. There was a time however that I did recieve a 401K match; no more. Since my first election, (Carter 1980), my generation has been bambarded with declining benefits and the threat of Social Security elimination. The generations younger than me have had even lass opportunity to aquire and keep any type of financial saftey net. So, to answer your question, no,. It is unlikely that the people in this country that have had the opportunity to earn a pension (50 + crowd) will take to the streets; walkers, jazzy's, etc.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  104. saul lichtine

    Hi Jack,
    Drastic cuts will not lead to riots because this is not Europe. We shop in times of war and bailout fat cats when their banks or auto companies are in need. This is not the 60's. We take care of our pets more than we do our soldiers andour economy.This country will never do the right thing to save our sinking ship which would require dramatic cuts in defense, raise the retirement age to 67 and increase taxes.
    Respectfully,
    Saul Lichtine
    Voorhees, N.J.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  105. Linda Price Oklahoma

    Dear Jack, In a word ,No. The American people have become complacent. Most of them won't let go of the remote control, long enough to take a stand against the fallout heading our way from Washington. I don't care which side of the political fence your'e on, we're all going to get covered in it. Thanks Jack

    October 26, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  106. Dawn

    Spending cuts should start in when a law is passed that makes it illegal for elected officials to take bribe money from lobbyists!

    October 26, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  107. andy

    the reason the french are upset is that they are highly taxed to pay for social services like pensions. now they are being told that there isn't enough there for them so they have to retire later. the french don't have a revenue issue, they have an expenditure issue. compare this with the US. we have a revenue and an expenditure issue. our social programs are underfunded. the comparison is not logical. we should be putting more money into our socail programs. if we match the french level of funding and not get what we paid for, then we would have every reason to riot.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  108. Ken from Florida

    Of course we would see the same violence if spending cuts happened in the US. The only reason why Republicans are doing so well in the polls right now is because they refuse to be specific as to what they will cut. Believe me, if conservatives get power and cut Social Security, pensions, health care, and veteran benefits like they are planning, France's present situation will be nothing compared to America's future.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  109. John Hughes

    Hi Jack,
    The lesson here is that the longer you wait to tackle this problem, the more likely we will have the same reactions occurring in France. Unfortunately neither party has the political will to tackle entitlement programs in an intelligent, honest fashion. Good leadership from both parties would explain the necessity of fixing these problems now, and the dire consequences of continuing to push these problems down the road.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  110. Jim in Indiana

    Once average Americans become aware of how much they depend on the federal government, spending cuts may well lead to France style protests. The irony of course is that the outrage about the current budget deficit is not against the taxpayer paid free money subsidies to Wall street and the rich, which we'll pay for either way. Why can't we have BOTH spending cuts AND tax increases on the upper 5% earners? Why is it always presented as a Hobson's choice on spending cuts? Otherwise the ever shrinking middle class will continue to pay more than their share on their way to becoming the "nouveau pauvre".

    October 26, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  111. M. Michalowski

    Lets see...socialized health care...gov't run auto makers...gov't run banks...Congress determining salaries of executives...SEIU president visits White House monthly....largest growing union is gov't workers....I hate to connect the dots, but it looks like the US is trying to achieve what Europe already has had for years...and You wonder will the US collapse under Socialism like France & Greece currently are? Um.....yes...it will. Will the US get as violent as France & Greece? I hope we can stop the Socialist agenda before it gets there....this must be painful for you Jack to ask indirectly an honest question...is the US under Obama's agenda heading in the right direction?

    M. Michalowski
    Weston, CT

    October 26, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  112. Gabriel Gonzalez

    Of course! As much as we like looking down on the French, in the end, people are people. When we feel threatened, we tend to react similarly.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  113. Jason, koloa, HI*

    It's criminal when you see the collusion between the mega-wealthy that run giant multi-national corporations and the the corrupt politicians they puppet telling working people they can't afford to let them retire when they were promised. While the same politicians deregulate the same corporations allowing them to make millions and billions and trillions more in profits so that a handful of chosen ones can golden parachute into their outrageous retirements. VIVA LA REVOLUTION!

    October 26, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  114. Natalie

    We hear so much about cuts to balance the budget. You mentioned Social Security, etc. There are portions of Social Security that should be cleaned up and leave Social Security to those who have paid into the fund. What about the wars, aid to other countries, corporations who don't pay taxes when they move their company to a foreign country? There are many areas to cut but they constantly say, "cuts in social security." Just like the local cuts to be made is always the police and education.
    When will the powers that be start helping our own people and not the whole work, forgetting our poor, needy, hungry people in the USA?

    October 26, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  115. The 2010, Colorado

    No Jack! All the things that Europe is going through right now are the things that the United States does not intend to do. To me, our things are better than European things because most European things depend on our things.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  116. Julie

    Why must the deficit be reduced by depriving U. S. citizens of health care benefits or Social Security benefits? We could save ourselves trillions of dollars by eliminating our military presence in Afghanistan and other countries where we are not welcome. It's shameful that the profits of government contractors are placed above the needs of individual Americans.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  117. AndyZag Lynn, MA

    I don't think so. The French are the most obnoxiuos people on earth. Remember, the French never won a war unless America was on their side. There was one exception: The French Revelution – both sides were French!

    October 26, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  118. Mimi, Missouri

    Why have you never spoken about the fact that social security is financed by us middle and lower income earners, who pay taxes on 100% or nearly all of our yearly income. Is it because you guys passed the $106,000 ceiling so many months ago that you forgot that the rest of us never see a break and probably will not see a benefit.
    Until the ceiling giving individuals earning over $106,000 a pass on social security taxes is lifted, the rest of us will probably die on the job before we will ever collect.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  119. Brandon

    The same US media that highlights the problems of entitlement spending in Greece and France also vilifies politicians here at home when they begin to raise the issue. In 10 years when we’re ‘still’ broke and China doesn’t want to lend us any more money, maybe we’ll elect a Nicolas Sarkozy of our own who is willing to make the tough decisions.

    October 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm |