France's Taxes, Red Tape Stall Economy, Anger Voters

Isn't that the French way?


If U.S. President Barack Obama thinks he's having a difficult autumn, then maybe he should consider the season French President Francois Hollande is experiencing. Paris in springtime may have been lovely as usual, but fall has been horrible.

The French unemployment rate stands at 11 percent. After growing tepidly in the second quarter, the economy shrank again in the third. Standard and Poor's just downgraded the government's debt—for the second time in less than two years. Hollande's Socialist administration faces protests over taxes and burdensome regulation not just from business leaders, as you might expect, but also from farmers, shopkeepers, teachers, truck drivers and soccer players.