“This is the worst economy since the Great Depression!” How many times have we heard that phrase in the past six months? Put aside that by almost every measure (particularly the unemployment rate) that statement is outright false. Nonetheless, that argument is used to justify a move towards a European-style government-controlled economy.
But what does such a European-style economy hold in store for us? Certainly not a better unemployment rate. The current U.S. unemployment rate is 7.6% (as of the end of January 2009).
By contrast, European unemployment rates in the larger European countries consistently have been higher than the current U.S. rate. The chart below (click on chart to enlarge) shows that through 2006 (and thus excluding the current worldwide economic problems) in France (FR) the unemployment rate has ranged in the low double digits for most of the past decade; in Germany (DE) in the high single digits; in Spain, in the mid-to-high teens.