France, Setting A Bad Example

By September 3, 2006General

It is at best ironic that we borrowed the word, “entrepreneur” from the French. These days, France appears to be doing everything in its power to erase the word from its vocabulary.

We posted on this topic a while ago, linking to a WaPo story about France’s famed, “wealth tax” that in some cases can result in an individual owing more in taxes than they earned. No wonder it’s led to some $125 billion in capital flight just since 1998.

We blogged last week about a new study from the lefty partisan, labor-backed EPI that compared the US economy unfavorably to its European counterparts. But as we pointed out in that post, it tells far less than half the story.

As this article shows, the picture in Europe isn’t exactly rosy. In France, for starters, unemployment is more than twice that of the US — and remember, the French stuff a bunch of otherwise-unemployed folks in various government programs. In the US, some 13% of unemployed workers can’t find work after a year. In France, the number is over three times higher. French workers take twice as much sick leave than their US counterparts, and the percent of people starting new businesses is five times higher in the US than in France. As a result, innovation and capital continues to leave France in droves.

Says the author of this piece, the head of a non-partisan think tank in Sweden:

“What is more puzzling is why the American left is so eager to reform their own nations economy toward the more socialist and clearly failed model of France.”

Here on the eve of Labor Day 2006, we find ourselves asking the same question.