Unemployment is now higher in the U.S. than in Europe, reports the Washington Post. “The official U.S. unemployment rate, reported last Friday, now stands at 10.2 percent,” compared to “9.7 percent” in Europe. This is the highest rate in more than 26 years, and marks a huge change from the recent past, in which unemployment was double the American rate in much of Europe, such as in France.
Unemployment is at 10 percent in France, which refused to adopt a U.S.-style stimulus package, and only 7.6 percent in Germany, which adopted a stimulus package that was smaller relative to its economy than ours was. (Countries that refused to adopt big stimulus packages have fared better than those that imitated President Obama. And the biggest-spending countries have suffered worst in the recession.)
A “broader measure of U.S. unemployment,” including discouraged workers, puts U.S. unemployment at 17.5 percent, reports the New York Times.
As the Post notes, “For many on the left, the lament for years has been: Why can’t America be more like Europe? Why can’t rustic Americans be more like sophisticated Europeans? The sentiment has resurfaced in recent months as the health-care debate has raged on — why can’t the American health-care system be more like Europe’s?”
Well, America is now more like Europe when it comes to unemployment. But not when it comes to social benefits and protections. The American Left knows how to import Europe’s failures, but not its successes.
The massive health-care bill passed by the House on Saturday is a classic example. It would expand health care coverage somewhat, but not to European levels, and it would vastly increase the costs of our health care system, rather than reducing it to European levels. It would also increase taxes to “European levels of taxation.” The health care bill contains politically-correct provisions that Europeans would never put up with, like pork for trial lawyers and racial preferences. And restrictions on national competition in health insurance, which do not exist in Europe.
In France, doctors don’t need to be paid as much, because competing professions, like lawyers, are paid less. French law is much more conservative than American law when it comes to lawsuits, including lawsuits against doctors. There are NO punitive damages, and France discourages lawsuits by making unsuccessful plaintiffs pay the other side’s legal bills. (Other European countries have specialized health courts, rather than American-style jury trials, to cut lawyers’ bills, speedily compensate the injured, and prevent American-style baseless lawsuits against doctors.) There are no racial preferences — even my Marxist father-in-law, a French trade unionist who likes Michael Moore’s book Stupid White Men, thinks that racial preferences are evil. French people do not let political correctness shackle their minds the way American leftists do.
Europe is not as far to the left of America as people think, and America’s business climate is already not much more favorable than Europe’s. For every three ways in which Europe is more socialistic than America, there are two ways in which it is less socialistic than America. The Obama administration is getting rid of our advantages, but not our disadvantages.
Confronted with the specter of new burdens under the health-care bills and global-warming bills backed by the Obama administration, many businesses with the money to do so are afraid to hire people and create jobs lest they be stuck with a large tab for things like health care benefits for newly-hired, less-skilled employees.
The Congressional Budget Office has repeatedly admitted that Obama’s stimulus package will shrink the economy “in the long run.” It contained welfare and repealed welfare reform. Unemployment is higher now than if Congress had voted it down.