Ask an American about French business practices, and you’ll probably hear about short work weeks, massive amounts of vacation time, and the penchant to go on strike every month or so. On a more social level, you might hear about free college, free healthcare, and rock-solid job security, but the average American might carefully note that this comes at the cost of sky-high taxes, layers upon layers of bureaucracy, and continually high unemployment.

The French business environment is characterized by considerable government control, much to the dismay of the American republican. But really, is the U.S. in a position to judge? The U.S. government is taking control of the financial system out of the hands of Wall Street bankers. Government bailouts of major mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is turning housing into a public business. How We Became the United States of France, an article published by Time Magazine, also points out that large investments GM and Ford may need from the government will essentially be the same kind of interference in the market that the U.S. has always condemned. At the same time France has spent the last 15 years privatizing firms, and while government spending was still over half of GDP in 2006, it is headed for a more independent economic situation, while the U.S. regresses.

At least Americans can still say that they don’t let the farmers demand price supports or wails for relief from foreign competition…but wait, as the article notes, the U.S. instead chooses to do it all quietly behind doors via weighty subsidies.

Is the U.S. beating France at its own game?

Please click these links if you’re interested in hearing more about France or the United State’s current economic situation.

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