Thursday, February 18, 2010

French Unemployment With American Benefits

As I have understood it the rational conservative argument for the American economic system is that it promotes more robust economic growth and employment. While the French and Germans may enjoy more vacation time, universal health care, government provided daycare, etc. , they not only pay higher taxes, but also have more sluggish economies as a result. Well lets take a look at the international unemployment data from the BLS.

As you can see the unemployment rate in the United States is now slightly higher than that of France. There are a few EU countries like Ireland and Spain that have worse unemployment situations, but when you average it out the unemployment rate in the Euro zone and the EU is roughly the same as France and the US. It is worth noting that besides Ireland, pretty much every country in northwestern Europe (UK, Scandinavia, Germany, etc.) have lower unemployment rates. So do Australia, Canada, and Japan. The US has also had the most rapid rise in unemployment of the first world countries profiled in the first chart. Its also worth noting that those unemployed in other industrialized countries can generally count on better unemployment benefits as well as health insurance. Also keep in mind that most of that vaunted economic growth in the US over the last ten years was basically derived from a giant ponzi scheme. So which system looks more sound now?

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