It's sad to see France crumble, but it's hardly news. As yet more riots erupt across the country the ruling class struggles to loosen the noose of socialism that's been strangling their economy for decades.

The law would allow businesses to fire young workers in the first two years on a job without giving a reason, removing them from protections that restrict layoffs of regular employees.

Companies are often reluctant to add employees because it is hard to let them go if business conditions worsen. Students see a subtext in the new law: make it easier to hire and fire to help France compete in a globalizing world economy.

Youth joblessness stands at 23 percent nationwide, and 50 percent among impoverished young people. The lack of work was blamed in part for the riots that shook France's depressed suburbs during the fall.

I don't blame the French youths for rioting, because the proposed law is patently unfair to them. Older workers will continue to enjoy untouchable job security, so why should the youth be treated differently? But you've got to start somewhere, and if the law applied to everyone the resulting riots would be unquenchable. That's the danger of a government that tries to be everything to everyone: when it falls, it falls hard. France is already on her fifth republic, and I doubt it will be too long before this one passes away.



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