Monday, August 01, 2005

French Family Values

New York Times lefty Paul Krugman extols the socio-economic virtues of France and frets that Americans are learning nothing from the French. (“Family values? France does it right,” Daily Breeze, 8/1/05) His thesis has only two problems, the economic facts and the social conclusions.

Krugman argues that “France's GDP per person is well below that of the United States … because French workers spend more time with their families.” In fact the French GDP per person is 43% below that of the US.

Krugman admits that part of the differential is due to the higher French unemployment rate. In fact the French unemployment rate exceeds 10% compared to 5% in the US. If our jobless rate got anywhere near 10% the Democrats would be demanding the president’s scalp, with good reason.

In France the Socialists introduced “les 35 heures” figuring that limiting full time jobs to 35 hours/week would force employers to hire massively. Like most socialist theories this one failed miserably as unemployment grew to 10% and employers froze wages to make up for lost labor. “The intention was to spread the work around, but the effect was to spread our salaries around,” said Finance Minister Thierry Breton.

Krugman admits that “the French family, without question, has lower disposable income. This translates into lower personal consumption: a smaller car, a smaller house, less eating out.” Let’s take a look at the other major factor in the disposable income equation.

A recent issue of Forbes magazine listed the Global Misery Index, a table of countries ranked by their total tax rates. Topping the misery list is France at 175 points, more than double the US index. France is even worse off than Communist China. It's no wonder that the French voters rejected the EU constitution that would have added even more taxes to their happy lot.

Given our much higher wages and much lower taxes, it’s no surprise that Americans are so much better off than the French.

But Krugman’s main point is that “to the extent that the French have less income than we do, it's mainly a matter of choice.” He would have us believe that the French income problem is actually a consequence of their “family values.” Krugman translates 35 hour work weeks, 7 week vacations and socialized medicine as family values.

When most Americans think of family values they mean having children, supporting those children to the best of their abilities, giving their children a moral code based on a belief in God and regular attendance at religious services, and protecting their families from threats, foreign and domestic.

On every count Americans do so much better than the French. I’ll take America, Krugman can have France.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another bullseye!!! I’m really curious: If a frenchmen worked only 35 hours per week, does that mean he gets to spend an extra 5 hours per week with his mistress?

If so, does that count to Mr. Krugman as family values?


1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Bill

I happened to read this particular editoral this morning and almost choked on my brown sugar bomb.

How dare this crettin compare the US to France. Another example of a bleeding heart liberal trying to make a claim for more socialized everything. Sigh


1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I agree with you on this one. How do you think Krugman will rationalize French family values when the system implodes from its own weight and puts all those children on the proverbial street?

Dr. Dave

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen to that!


1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So when is he moving to France?

Soon I hope, but probably like Alec Balwin who vowed if Bush was elected in 2000 he would leave the USA, won't.


1:24 PM  
Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

Ever notice that to Liberals "Family Values" are always about "materialism!"

Welfare, Socialized Medicine, etc.

Redistribution of the Wealth is theft in any other language but Liberalism. Taking from the rich to give to the poor is Stealing. Taking is just another word for stealing.


11:38 PM  

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