Are these PARD proposals to the Pullman City Council, aimed at keeping Wal-Mart out of town? The Democratic party platform for 2008?
35 hour work week 25-30 days of annual paid leave, plus a dozen holidays Universal health coverage, with 100% of the cost of normal medical procedures covered Pension starting at age sixty, equal to 50% of the average salary over the 10 highest-paying years of employment Virtually guaranteed employment, with employers having to give at least three months notice, pay fines, and give three years of severance pay before they can fire or lay off an employee, with the employee having the right to appeal to a labor court, with a 74% chance of success
No, but close. They are the standard conditions for French workers; the result of decades of liberal socialist policy.
It should be a worker's paradise, right? Wrong.
According to US News and World Report, the French economy has had a measly 1.6% annual growth rate from 2001-2005. Unemployment in the 25-54 age group is 9.9%. In the 15-24 age group, it is a staggering 24%. Among young Muslim immigrants, unemployment is as high as 50%.
French workers only spend an average of 1,431 hours on the job every year, third lowest among advanced countries. The average retirement age is 59. Therefore, an increasingly shrinking labor force, working short hours, is having to support a growing older population. Taxes are already about 50% of national income.
There simply is no incentive for French companies to hire more employees or expand their businesses with the restrictive labor laws. France is rapidly losing its ability to compete in the world economy.
Therefore, the French government enacted a law in January that would allow employers to fire workers under age 26 without reason during the first two years on the job.
French unions and young people have taken to the street with mass demonstrations and strikes to protest against the law. Mimicking the tactics of Muslim rioters last year, thousands of cars in Paris have been set on fire by the "protesters". In other incidents, rocks and bottles have been thrown at police and bystanders and journalists have been seriously injured by the thugs. The riots now threaten to ruin Paris' tourist season. There is no easy way out of the mess.
In August 1944, Adolph Hitler telephoned General Dietrich von Choltitz to ask, "Is Paris burning?" It wasn't. Von Choltitz had refused to carry out Hitler's order to level Paris before the Allies occupied the city.
In 2006, socialism is succeeding where fascism failed. Or perhaps it is fascism that has prevailed after all.
Our Palouse liberals would do well to pay attention.