I couldn't help but be drawn into the headlines yesterday of protests and strikes in France over the possible cuts in entitlements. French citizens have stormed the streets and effectively shut down government as the concept of making sacrifices for the long-term good hits home. So, why is this happening?
It all started with promises.
Politicians, in their infinite wisdom of realizing they can promise the moon, but not stay in office (or live in some cases) long enough to have to see those promises come to fruition (or ruin), went ahead making them. People, enthralled with the promises, but not checking (or caring) as to whether or not they made mathematical sense, continued to support the implementation and expansion of these programs.
Now, we are in a situation where the promises due have outgrown the resources to fund them. We therefore, have to make a tough decision.
1) Do we take more from the people now in exchange for the same level of promises?
2) Do we make sacrifices to reduce the size of the promises and leave the people on their own to fulfill them?
In France, people appear to be having a problem with the latter. This is likely because they have long relied on the state to 'give' them a sizable retirement. Now that this is not going to happen, the people feel as if their retirement is being robbed from them.
This cycle outlines the dependence of big government that occurs when people rely on politicians to solve their life's challenges.
So, do we make the sacrifice to pay the same (and some cases more) into a system that is going to return less over the years or do we rely on our expertise to individually craft our outcome?