Yesterday, President Obama announced America should aspire to be more like France when supplying employee benefits. The Washington Examiner reports:
“Other countries know how to do this,” Obama said. “If France can figure this out, we can figure it out.”
“Many women can’t even get a paid day off to give birth,” Obama said. “There is only one developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave, and that is us. And that is not a list you want to be on, by your lonesome.”
On the surface, this sounds like a fair enough argument, but then so does raising the minimum wage… until you consider the numeric reality.
Unlike the United States, France’s unemployment rate clocks in at a steady 10% for workers over 25. Under 25, the rate is closer to 25% unemployed. For perspective, the US and the UK both hover around a 6% unemployment rate. But that’s not the only factor worth considering.
Remember the infamous 75% tax? That was France, all France. Take a look at where France ranks in taxation comparable to the United States:
Tax conditions in France are so horrid, that entrepreneurs are fleeing to countries with more agreeable taxation rates. The New York Times discussed this phenomenon. This aspiring entrepreneur left for the UK:
“A lot of people are like, ‘Why would you ever leave France?’ ” Mr. Santacruz said. “I’ll tell you. France has a lot of problems. There’s a feeling of gloom that seems to be growing deeper. The economy is not going well, and if you want to get ahead or run your own business, the environment is not good.”
Today, around 1.6 million of France’s 63 million citizens live outside the country. That is not a huge share, but it is up 60 percent from 2000, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thousands are heading to Hong Kong, Mexico City, New York, Shanghai and other cities. About 50,000 French nationals live in Silicon Valley alone.
But for the most part, they have fled across the English Channel, just a two-hour Eurostar ride from Paris. Around 350,000 French nationals are now rooted in Britain, about the same population as Nice, France’s fifth-largest city. So many French citizens are in London that locals have taken to calling it “Paris on the Thames.”
While aspiring to provide more benefits to the hardworking American taxpayer is certainly a noble goal, keeping pace with countries that are driving talent away is certainly not what we ought to strive for. In fact, it’s the antithesis of the American Dream.
Thankfully, there seems to be little action for President Obama’s latest feel-good rhetoric. Let’s hope it stays that way.DONATE
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