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Wonder why Europe's economic growth is stagnant?

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French Work Less, Still Whining Mess

Wonder why Europe’s economic growth is stagnant?

In response to the government’s efforts to deregulate the labor market, French welfare queens (and kings) have told Daddy Government, “You can’t fire me, I quit!”  Europe has become so blinded by their quasi-communistic ideology that they have gotten to the point where dependency is prosperity and growth is squalor.  Wait, did I say quasi-communist?  I meant “democratic socialism.”  Where are the thought police when you need them?

According to that evil capitalist rag, the Wall Street Journal, growth in Europe as a whole has been stagnant for decades. Contrast that with a 3.5% growth rate in the U.S. for 2005 alone, which is higher than that of Europe and Japan combined, and one either begins to get the picture or pushes their head further up their behind. Socialism, despite the wonderful government-subsidized Volvos and vacations, doesn’t work. According to the American Enterprise Institute, unemployment in Europe has been stuck near or above 10% for at least 20 years.  In contradistinction, U.S. unemployment sits at a low 4.8%.  France’s efforts to liberalize the nation’s employment laws are an attempt to jumpstart their economic malaise and reduce unemployment.

Despite proven failure of the socialist model, liberals in America still romanticize about European economic models, citing the higher quality of education, healthcare, and life overall as proof that socialism is the best-kept secret.  It sounds like some folks are watching Bob Dylan’s Victoria’s Secret ads way too much.  While everybody would love for this to be true, the fact is that socialization of services creates scarcity and rations goods and services.  Inasmuch as liberals love to push socialism, you never hear them cite the dangerously low birthrates that permeate Europe, nor the higher rates of mental illness and suicide in the region.  This, after all, something the government can “fix.”

While French labor unions are striking en masse to protest the deregulation of the French labor, they are slowly eating the dust left behind by capitalist economies.  The French government recently established a 35-hour workweek, and the French are still a whining mess.  They want to make the workweek even shorter.  What they fail to grasp is that the less you work, the less your marginal production of labor is, and thus the cost of hiring workers skyrocket.  The high unemployment in Europe is rooted in their short workweek.

I recently watched a German film called “The Death of Stalin.”  The movie is about two kids who try to shelter their bedridden mother, an ardent supporter of East Germany’s communist system, characterized by empty supermarkets and 10-year waiting periods for a new car, from the “horrors” surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of capitalism in the new unified Germany.  I remarked to my roommate that the movie was one that should be shown in every public school in the U.S. to illustrate the failures of communism and its spin-offs.  My friend, who comes from a wealthy family, remarked that in reality, the movie showed the evils of capitalism.  I guess that’s easy to say when your summers consist of walking the Hampton beaches and sipping a Long Island iced tea.

Now that we have seen what labor unions and socialism have done to Europe since the Bolshevik revolution, it is easy to explain the dissolution of so many U.S. labor federations.  An ad in the March 21 edition of the Wall Street Journal stated that in half of all efforts to unionize, employees vote against unionization.  Unionization drives up consumer prices and can lead to other economic problems, such as inflation.  Unions shaft the employees they claim to help, using union dues to further the agendas of labor bosses.  When assembly line workers make $25-$30 and hour and public school teachers start somewhere around $23,000-$30,000, we have a serious problem.

Speaking of which, I am severely overworked.  I go to college full time and work a job about 20 hours a week.  I am starting to think that classes should only meet for 10 minutes twice a week, and the school should pay me to go to class.  That way, I can spend more time sitting like a French pansy in a Starbucks with a $4 Frappuccino and contemplate the evils of socialism.

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Mr. Lewis is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.

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