Fascinating news from France, reported earlier today:
The French President has unveiled controversial plans to overhaul his country's generous social security system.
Nicolas Sarkozy is eyeing off the pensions of public servants.
In 1995, moves to reform France's pension system led to weeks of protests.
Now, the new French President has announced a package aimed at cutting benefits to workers like train drivers and electricity workers, who until now could retire early.
Mr Sarkozy says the system is financially unsustainable and he has pledged to negotiate with unions and companies, but he insists the new system will be implemented without delay.
The French President also criticised generous social security payments, arguing that handouts discourage people from working.
"Our social system is not financially tenable. Our social system discourages work," he said.
"Our social system does not ensure equal opportunities. Basically I'm saying, let's stop the hypocrisy."
The moves are part of a wide-ranging plan for social reform, aimed at boosting the country's economy.
France's demographic shift, like those in other developed countries, is more pronounced than in the United States. The French system also penalizes work by older workers to a greater extent than the system in the United States. It is not surprising that the French President feels like he has to act sooner, rather than later. If the United States cannot begin the process of reform in the coming years, it is likely that we will find ourselves in an analogous position in the future.
Good luck to President Sarkozy. He's going to need it.
My country's Social Security deficits are thiiiis big.