The expensive welfare state comes at a price, though. High expenditure level means that the economy is distorted to a high degree. High tax burden, for instance, reduces the capital base of the most productive sectors of the economy. Thus, the growth potential of the economy is impaired.
Despite the de-growth or zero growth propaganda, which is somewhat popular in France, low growth is not beneficial to anybody. It drags down the employment. Low growth is bad for tax collection, too.
France is a rich country, which can afford a lot to spend. Nevertheless, she has gone too far. The current French economic paralysis has been caused by the explosion of the state. France is not alone within the EU; cold comfort.