President Sarkozy's principle cure France's financial woes is now well known to his countrymen. ï¿½I was elected on the idea that we must rehabilitate the concept of working,ï¿½ he recently told French television, ï¿½Some say we must increase buying power but to do that we must revive work, we must let people work more and earn more, that's the solution.ï¿½ In the hopes of getting people to work more, Sarkozy has done away with France's 35-hour work week. He's proposed letting stores open on Sundays with workers paid double. His government is also trying to make it easier for young people to find full time jobs. But France's economy has not rebounded so far. Inflation is high, new job creation is low, the economy is growing by only half a percentage point, and the French public is starting grow impatient with their President who promised an economic revolution. Outside a supermarket in downtown Paris, an office secretary says she's fed up with waiting for her life to improve. She says wages have been stagnant for the last few years, workers are asking their bosses for more money, but we just have to wait to see. These days, she says, our money goes much faster than it used to. She concedes that it's still too early to judge whether Sarkozy's reforms will turn the economy around, but as the French wait there's something else that's causing the French to lose patience with their president; to wit, his very public personal life. Sarkozy divorced just after he took office and now he's remarrying Italian pop star Carla Bruni. Bruni used to date Mick Jagger and Donald Trump. At a press conference last week, Sarkozy and the press did something very un-French, they discussed the president's new love. ï¿½This is serious,ï¿½ Sarkozy told hundreds of reporters, ï¿½We haven't set a firm date for our wedding but there's a good chance you reporters won't find out about it until after we've tied the knot.ï¿½ But the media have already had a field day with Sarkozy's personal life. One left leaning newspaper ran a headline this week that read, ï¿½Sarkozy Promised the Moon, and all we got was his Honeymoon.ï¿½ This man is Editor of a French weekly magazine. He says Sarkozy's personal life would be much easier for the French people to swallow were he not hob-nobbing constantly with the rich and famous, ï¿½I think there is a lot of skepticism among the average French about Sarkozy's real desire to make us all richer. When he flies off for holiday in Egypt, he flies in the private jet of his friend who happens to be a big CEO. So I think there is a feeling in France that he is basically in the pocket of those who are really hurting lots of money from the French economy and that he is not very attentive to your poor, average worker or employee who probably is feeling that his earning power is going down and down and down.ï¿½ He says many outside factors are to blame for France's current economic situation. The real estate crisis in the US and the UK are dragging all of Europe down, the strong Euro coupled with China's explosive growth is delivering a blow to European exporters. Still the editor says President Sarkozy would do well to lead a more somber lifestyle, one that your average, struggling Frenchman could relate to.
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