American Capitalist to French Socialist Politician: "How Stupid Do You Think We Are?"

A huge scandal has erupted in France as an American tycoon answers bluntly a socialist government's call for a take-over of a French factory, thereby saving its workers' jobs.

Maurice Taylor refuses to rescue Goodyear's tire factory in Amiens, he told French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg, because the workers are lazy, they are overpaid, and they talk too much, writes The Daily Mail's Ian Sparks.

French workers get "one hour for breaks, talk for three hours and work for three", said the chairman of U.S. tire giant Titan International, adding that "I told the French union workers this to their faces. They told me that's the French way!"

"Goodyear tried for over four years to save some of the highest-paid Amiens jobs, but the French unions and the French government did nothing but talk."

More from Les Echos journalist Leïla de Comarmond (merci à Carine, Bill, Damian, Valerie, et al). But the story doesn't end there: Arnaud Montebourg's way of replying to Maurice Taylor's "ignorant" words — "as extremist as they are insulting", "as ridiculous as they are insensitive" — is to give the Titan CEO lessons in history, bringing up Lafayette and the Normandy landings as well as… Barack Obama:
Do you at least know what La Fayette did for the United States of America? As for us, we Frenchmen, we will never forget the sacrifice of young American soldiers on the beaches of Normandy in 1944 to deliver us from Nazism. And since you have made the choice of criticizing your own country in your letter to me, I must tell to what point the French government admires the policies implemented by President Obama. 
Regarding the Lafayette argument, Damian Bennett feels the need to react:
Well, yes, he was certainly instrumental. No true American would ever hesitate to help out Lafayette.

But M. Montebourg here is the difference — Lafayette worked a full day and then some, worked hard, endured hardships and deprivations, and gave an exemplary account of himself. America is forever in his debt.

GoodYear d'Amiens is no Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de La Fayette.

No comments: