January 20, 2020
Whether we like it or not, it’s time to do the tough thing.
As much as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren want to channel their inner French-ness and deliver European-style benefits (with the accompanying taxation), that approach simply isn’t the answer. It isn’t working in Europe and it won’t work here.
Currently in France, protesting is a way of life. French workers strike seven times more than German workers, and 125 times more than the Swiss.
Politicians on both sides have tried to reform the system to no avail. They’ve found that social benefits are hard to pare down, much less take away. Hence the strikes.
Are American Democrats taking notice? They want to give away all kinds of benefits. If that happens, it’s tough to turn back, as France is proving.
The French have other issues though. Unemployment there hasn’t been below 7 percent since 1983, and right now it’s around 8.6 percent. Long-term French unemployment exceeds 40 percent, while in the U.S. it’s 13.3 percent!
The French annual growth rate has barely been north of 1 percent since this century began. And as of 2018, the median monthly take home pay was $1,930.
How much of this is down to making better choices between work and play?
While the French and American systems are vastly different, France still has profound income inequality. The top 1 percent there still hold 22 percent of the country’s wealth, despite attempts by the government to impose wealth taxes. Little revenue was raised, while the rich fled. Unsurprisingly, it was repealed quickly.
In the U.S., median income is $2,600 per month. I doubt Americans would take a 25 percent pay cut to live in the French “utopia.”
This should serve as a stark warning for Democrats.