Tuesday, March 22, 2005

It's Back To Work For The French

In today's paper I ran across a survey conducted by France for the EU that shows the hardest working people in the world are the Koreans with the US worker lagging behind in fifth place. The thrust of the article is to demonstrate that in spite of the high unemployment rate, their socialist economy, their 35 hour work week, their declining standard of living, and the declining level of investment, the French are truly among the hardest working people in world. Of course we all know the EU wouldn't say or do anything that would make them look better than the US, but it is worth noting that this metric is in hours worked not in GDP or productivity. The implication is that the more hours you work the more productive you are, which of course would probably make the Masai Herdsmen among the most productive workers in the world since they do little else but herd cattle. This same article points out that the French are being forced into extending their work week to a horrific 39 hours. It seems that the plan had been to reduce the work week to 35 hours which would force employers to hire more people, but the law of unintended consequences took effect and employers simply froze salaries, stopped hiring, and spread the work to the current employees, which resulted in soaring unemployment and a declining standard of living. But the French would have you believe that they are working like little beavers, that the hours worked or more important than what is done in those hours, and the French Socialist Programs just need a little tweaking. The idea of increasing their productivity isn't mentioned as part of the solution. This same article shows the Danes work almost as hard as the Americans. Well I have observed the Danes hard at work as part of a factory tour. I was one of two Americans on this tour and we were both appalled by what we saw. We could have reduced their headcount by at least 50% and increased their productivity by at least that much without doing any further investigation. However, we were told that the objective was not individual productivity but EMPLOYMENT. The objective was to keep as many people employed as possible, not to turn out more product. This is the prevalent attitude throughout Europe. They prefer to live the good life without working too hard.

Another article showed that the highly vaunted Canadian Healthcare system is failing -- if not already failed. The liberal press isn't exactly shouting this from the roof tops but it seems appointments for critical tests, like catscans, make take 3 months or more, that surgical procedures may require a lead time of as much as 3 years. In the meantime Canadian citizens are paying 48% income taxes and this may have to increase. Plus with the current trends as much as 85% of the National Revenue will have to go into their national healthcare system. The result is that people who really need medical attention are having to pay for the services out-of-pocket. When the decisison is to pay on their own, many opt to come to the US for treatment. It seems to me that not too long ago it was Hillary supported by the liberal press who were pressing for a national healthcare system modeled after Canada's. The liberals just can't seem to understand that Socialism is dead! D.E.D -- dead. Governments, any government, can do very few things efficiently and should never be relied upon to solve any problem beyond national defense.

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