January 13, 2010

"Being a little more like Europe might not be bad"?

In today's SJ Mercury, an opinion piece by Paul Krugman three columns wide compares recent economic problems with the economy in the US with decades of the same problems in the EU. In one specific case, Paul compares our productivity per hour of work to that of workers in the EU, saying that Europeans "...are quite productive, too: they work fewer hours, but output per hour in France and Germany is close to U.S. levels." Europeans work less hours per day because the governments there mandate it. Since most workers rely on social programs for their livelyhood there wouldn't be an incentive to working longer hours anyway. As it is most Europeans who are lucky enough to be employed can't lose their employment for cause (be fired) without actually committing a crime, and even then its very difficult to apply any sort of discipline to the workforce. This coupled with no incentive to the human nature in all of us to go beyond the bare minimum keeps productivity, job satisfaction, and wages at the bare minimum. That is, of course, if an employer is actually willing to hire. Because of the lack of an employer's ability to remove a poor performer from his payroll employers are hesitant to hire at all.

Paul also notes the comparative employment levels in the EU versus the US. His figures indicate that in 2008 the employment rate of able bodied 25-54 year old workers in the EU was 80%. That's admitting a 20% unemployment rate. Before our economic troubles, which were caused by poor application of too much government oversight and control, our unemployment rate was around 5%. Somehow that seems different to me. What about you?

Europe's tax and gift system of government forces most of the working class and all of the poor/unemployed to rely on the government for their lives. The alternative is the capitalism we've practiced here in the US up until this point. We're being willfully torn apart though, by those we've elected to high office, because the ultimate goal is to remove our initiative, ingenuity and drive to succeed in business and life. The core of what it means to one's soul to be an American is being assualted, and its being assaulted by those who we've put in place to promote patriotism. I defy you to find a Democrat in Congress who would say the principals the United States Constitution was written to protect are moral, just and right.

No comments: