Saturday, December 13, 2003

French Socialism Betrays Workers
One Rebecca Goldsmith has a great article on France's 35 hour work week in the Star-Tibune. France's short week isn't working, critics say. There are a great number of simple truths, elegantly illustrated in this article that all point to the fact that socialism is basically a form of punishment. Furthermore, the burdens fall most heavily on the working classes, no the ruling elite. Did you know that the French are not even allowed to work overtime? No work allowed is a great way to advance your country. Sheesh.

At one time, Lopez worked a full schedule each week. He got standard pay for 39 hours and overtime whenever he could. Now, French law restricts him from working more than 35 hours and bars him from earning overtime. The rules sentence him to a life of deprivation, he said. "I'm 35 years old, and I still live at my mom's place because I can't afford to get my own place."
During September, France's jobless rate climbed to 9.7 percent, its highest since April 2000.
"The U.S. labor market is much more flexible that way, to allow people to work out individual accommodations in how they want to organize their lives," said Paul Swaim, an economist specializing in labor market issues for the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
"In part, the Europeans want to work less because when they do work more they pay very high tax rates, making it less worthwhile," Swaim said.
In France, the short workweek has been a financial disaster for many unskilled laborers and recent immigrants.
"One of the drawbacks of the 35-hour week is it's a good case of a one-size-fits-all philosophy -- forcing everyone to make the same trade-off between free time and income," Swaim said.
"For people like us, it's a very nice system," Syfuss-Arnaud said. But "for the workers in the factories and the cashiers in the shopping malls, it's horrible."
"I can't save money. I'm thinking of leaving France" to seek better opportunities in Canada or elsewhere, [M'Boussa] said. "There, maybe you wouldn't get good health care or pension benefits, but at least for those who want to succeed, there are real opportunities. Here, you're just blocked."

Mr. M'Boussa, if you are looking for a new home, may I suggest the good ole US of A.

If you would like to see some funny and biting commentary on the same article, go see the Rottweiler.

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