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I’ve been reading on Jefferson and his interpretation of French political issues in the late 1700’s. I particular, I was struck with a few lines in Jon Meacham’s biography where Jon writes, “Debt ridden, France faced a supreme test. In the mid-1780s, partly because of its spending on the American revolution, the Bourbon government of Louis XVI was in a long-term financial crisis, exacerbated by widespread hunger and by anger over the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few. Jefferson was shocked…” Sounds something like a description of the USA of today — wracked with the debt of two unfunded wars, widespread unemployment and anger over growing disparity between the rich and poor.

Given the discredited U.S. Congress, a relatively ineffective executive branch and a Supreme Court barely hanging on to its credibility, I wonder how secure our own republic is today, and what will be written about our American political evolution — 200 years from now.

In the New Yorker magazine. founded today in 1925, an article on French (or Belgium or Russian?) actor Gerard Depardieu, cites: “Politicians in France speak to “citizens,” not to “taxpayers.” It is a country where the politics of income inequality has run wild. There is a new, and perhaps illegal, 75% supertax on those who earn more than one million euros per year. Depardieu was described as “pathetic” by their Prime Minister for being one of thousands who have fled the country to avoid such confiscatory taxes. New York City was attacked on 9/11 by those who thought the American way of life is soft, corrupt and indulgent. There is only so much a democratic government can do to even out the social tensions brought about by ever-increasing income inequality. There must be a leavening between the rights of citizens and that of taxpayers. Economic change must accompany political action. But the France of the onetime French Revolution is an ever-looming warning over the consequences of excessive income inequality, in those times, and in these. And not just in France.

There was a time when the French had a big cultural problem with the company that built it’s success on what else than the French Fry. Activists made the term “culinary imperialism” into their anti-McDonald’s mantra. But those days are long gone. McDonald’s first innovated a policy called “Open Doors” in France, inviting the suspicious news media and the critics among the public to comes behind the scenes in its restaurants and suppliers to see that French people were serving them quality food from predominantly French suppliers. Now they can say the same thing about the beef. See this article from for the details.βurgerβusiness%29

January 2023

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