Half of French People 18-34 Would Leave France

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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These are disturbingly catastrophic numbers. A country where half the young workforce wants out is a place with no future. It would be interesting to break those numbers by immigrant origins. It would not be surprising if the Algerians and Moroccans are ready to jump ship to another welfare system. French culture however was supposed to provide for cultural solidarity. But the transformation of major cities may have undone all that.

A twenty year old named Clara G, a second year history student at the Sorbonne, recently published an open letter to President François Hollande in the French paper Le Point. In it, she quotes a poll that found that 50 percent of 18-24 year olds and 51 percent of 25-34 year olds would, if they could, like to leave France for another country. Clara explains why she and so many her age want out:

“I don’t want to work all my life in order to pay taxes that will, for the most part, only go to service the 1,900 billion euros of debt that your generation was kind enough to leave as your legacy. If these loans had at least been invested in a plan for the future of the country, if I thought I would profit a little from them, I wouldn’t have any problems repaying them. But they only allowed your generation to live above its means, to secure a generous welfare that I won’t be able to enjoy. In order to make your lives, I would say “cushy”, but I’m afraid that the word offends you.

My work and my taxes will also have to pay your pension that you haven’t bothered to fund, as well as all the health care and welfare costs for all these elderly people who will be, in less than twenty years, the majority in the country. Will this leave me enough money to live well and raise my children?…

But the most depressing thing is what my life will be like if I stay in France. Once I graduate, with my beautiful useless diplomas, I will without doubt first join the large ranks of unemployed youth before spending several years in internships and the CDD [temporary work contracts]. I am, as I believe the experts say, the “adjustment variable” of a labor market that has deliberately chosen to exclude young people to protect the workers of the CDI [permanent work contracts] already in place. With such insecure and poorly paid jobs, I won’t be able to convince a bank to give me a home loan to buy an apartment in Paris. And if, by some sort of improbable miracle, I go on to earn lots of money, I know in advance that not only would I have to pay taxes, but it would also earn me the reproaches of my fellow countrymen and your personal contempt…

So yes, I want to live in a country where there is growth, where wages increase, where being rich is not considered a mortal sin, especially a country where there is a sense both individually and collectively that tomorrow will be better than today.

Socialism doesn’t tend to produce much confidence in the future. After the initial rush of manufactured optimism wears off, the gloomy reality sets in. It has happened in America. It has happened in France.

  • OldOllie

    I would bet that the vast majority of these young people voted Socialist, yet they are incapable of making the connection between that and their current predicament.

    If they do manage to get out, I pray they don't come here. This is one case in which our racist immigration policy that excludes white Europeans might actually work to our advantage.

  • Michael Copeland

    Socialism is a giant Ponzi scheme – lifestyle now, someone else pay later.
    The chickens are coming home to roost. The painful nettle of reality has to be grasped.

  • Parenthetical Phrase

    Who knows? Maybe Americans in this age group will eventually catch on — but I don't think that it will be for a while.

    • LedZeppelin

      They won't have a chance not to catch on. It's too late in America too. And it's been planned that way. This age group will be the unwitting army of the revolution. Their elders will be the unwitting bourgeois class, which will come as a surprise for the elders who all along thought they were "blue collar workers".

  • AnOdinaryMan

    What must it be like, to live with no future? Like walking across Siberia–vast, empty stretches of frozen plains–with no end in sight; and no markers to indicate one's progress(no pun intended); but with lots of debt–not of your own making–to repay, and ever present taxes. And the socialists have the stinking nerve to talk about F-A-I-R-N-E-S-S?!

  • κατεργάζομαι

    RE: "Half of French People 18-34 Would Leave France"

    They would like Detroit. (DE-Twah) – it suits their Métier.

    "Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion."
    ~ Norman Schwartzkopf

    "As far as I'm concerned, war always means failure."
    ~ Jacques Chirac, President of France

    • PamM

      " "As far as I'm concerned, war always means failure."
      ~ Jacques Chirac, President of France"

      From a French point of view he's probably right.

      • LedZeppelin

        If war always means failure, there would be no war. But, that's typical reasoning for a Frenchman.

  • Pulsar182

    France is suffering from the same affliction that other free countries are learning about….asinine and lax immigration policies bring a lot of unwelcome grief to your country…

  • HiPlainsDrifter

    RE: "Half of French People 18-34 Would Leave France"
    I wonder where they'd like to go …. The world is full of communist/socialist countries like France and now the US, so any move would be lateral, implosions waiting to happen everywhere you look…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Huckel-Berry/1642622562 Huckel Berry

    Clara G says what I have been saying for the past
    40 years. The west has been living beyond its means, Countries like France are Maffia systems that should not be tollerated in a democracy, where 150 jobs are so called protected. The real problem is the European leaders are living in dream land. Mr Hollande cannot face reality, because it doesn t suit his socialist ideology. Its a disgrace, and yet the people have to vote for these dreamers. Its high time to open up the whole political arena in Europe and let people lead in Europe who come from the bussiness community, not from the political community. Else I fear Europe is a sinking ship of arrogance that will fall below Africa one day.

  • France2013

    Clara G is an immature inexperienced young person with a lot of fire inside her to do something however she doesnt know the world and doesnt realize how good France has it compared to the rest of this planet. I am a foreigner who lived in the US, Asia, UK and continental europe including France for the past few years. Yes it is difficult to find employment in france but its still possible. What young french dont realize is that the problems they see in France are a million times worse elsewhere in the world. France as a country is so beautiful and so well protected that you dont need as much money to live there. Young french all dream of a life in America or England but dont know the reality of these places. Usa and UK are very volatile countries….for example they have these huge housing booms and bust…and even if you can afford a house u cannot get a fixed rate mortgage like u do in France…taxes on property in the US are typically 2.5% a year of tge house value…a condominium in new york that costs $600,000 to buy has yearly taxes of $15,000 and a maintenance charge of around $10,000 a year so basically u need $25,000 a year to on top of your mortgage costs to live in a one bedroom condo in manhattan, Compare this to cost of housing in Paris and the french will know what im talking about. Whoever said french taxes are high doesnt have a clue….french taxes are high if ur a billionaire otherwise taxes in france are reasonable. In the US the taxes appear to be lower but they are not…in most states there is a federal and state tax..and in nyc there is a city tax too adding all these up its 50% …and there is no state provided health care in the US…private medical insurance costs $600 a month at least. As for the UK the less said about it the better….france is a class apart from ugly england….Uk is a country with no culture, no class, and lots of crime and double the cost of living but a quality if life ten times worse than what u can have in France.

    Young french people need to be more optimistic and appreciate their beautiful culture which is unmatched elsewhere in the world. In todays world its very hard to become too wealthy , in france it might be harder but the quality if life is so high that wealthy or not every french born is better than a millionaire in most other countries around the world.

    • Gina Mero

      You are way off on your numbers. I’m living in the US and yes you can get a fixed rate mortgage. Where on Earth did you hear every mortgage has an arm? Usually, if you have poor to no credit it has an arm but you can do well with payments and get a permanent in 3 years. I bought my first house at 21 with a fixed rate of 7% my second at 33 @ a fixed 4.5% and my third at 42 with a fixed rate of 4.25%. You are not telling the truth about this one thing I KNOW about – so how can I believe the rest? Besides, Ms. Clara has many points I find completely valid. Why does she have to pay for a generation of old people that partied while looking down their noses at the rest of the world and didn’t store away any wine or cheese for their own future?

  • andyrwebman

    It just shows that borrowing money – any money – is something that needs to be considered extremely carefully.

    After all, you pay interest on it so unless you can do something with it, to invest it in such a way that it generates more money than the initial amount plus interest, borrowing means “a little extra fun now at the cost of more fun lost in the future”.

    Money could, for example, have been invested in the high tech industries of the future – the government could have bankrolled technological entrepeneurs with modest rates as an incentive to innovate, and it would have received money back twice – in taxes and in interest from its loans. Plus a boost in employment.

    But this is not the socialist way – they do not think of money as something that you can only have if you solve the problem of making it. Rather, money is deemed as something that is to be reclaimed from the “underserving rich” to be spent as they please. They are blinded by their sense of moral rightness in taxing the money, and ignore the fact that if the money is not there they cannot tax it.

    Socialists do not invest in wealth generation – they instead spend money employing people in a largely unproductive and beauracratic state sector. Paying self important people to do useless tasks – such as inventing new ways of micro managing people or restricting the freedoms of adults to say what they want.

    And yet people still do not treat them with the contempt they deserve.