(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?
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
There are only seven days to go before the midterm elections, and President Obama has a quiet day at the White House. Maybe too quiet.
On his schedule: only meetings with advisers and Cabinet members. No campaign rallies. No fundraisers.
Howard Kurtz writes in "The Daily Beast" that heading into the midterms, the White House feels so beat up by the press and unable to push its own narrative that its gone into "bunker mode."
"What's fascinating is the belief that the bully pulpit has been permanently downsized, forcing the leader of the free world to shout for attention in a cacophonous world."
And it's not just President Obama who seems to be feeling the pain here. Bill Clinton spoke at a campaign event the other day in a high school gym in Detroit that was nearly two-thirds empty. When was the last time Clinton spoke to an almost empty house?
Even some Democrats are voicing their frustration. Frank Caprio, who is running for governor in Rhode Island, says President Obama can "take his endorsement and really shove it." Lovely. This after the president didn't endorse him.
And there are plenty of reasons for all this angst among the Democratic Party. The conventional wisdom is that Democrats are in for a real bruising next Tuesday.
A new USA Today/Gallup Poll shows Democrats face a record "enthusiasm gap." Only 37 percent of Democrats say they're more enthusiastic about voting this year than usual - compared with a whopping 63 percent of Republicans.
Polls also show congressional Republicans holding their lead in generic ballot match-ups against Democrats.
Here’s my question to you: Is the election already over for the Democrats?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?