You know, you hear a lot of people talk about how lazy and stupid Americans are. You hear it from a lot of screaming Democrats who think the cause of stupidity or unemployment is a President who they didn't vote for. In all actuality, the nationwide unemployment rate has corrected itself within two percentage points over the past couple of decades, and according to the US Department of Labor, is exactly where it was 10 years ago, when a President you did vote for was in the White House. The latest release says that unemployment in the US as of February 2005 was 5.4%.
Many of these same angry Democrats talk about moving to the Great White North, where the unemployment rate is on the decline, but is still above 7%. I don't suppose that has anything to do with anything. Except that moving to Canada wouldn't be a better thing in terms of being able to find good work. The job market is slightly more tight.
That's not at all what I wanted to write about, though. I really wanted to write about the French people, but I suppose there is a connection here (albeit a weak one), with those damned Quebeçois. There was an article in the paper today about how France is abolishing its 35 hour work week. Got that? They used to have a national standard of 35 hours for a work week. Compulsory days off, extended holidays, and the like. According to the new outline, workers will be permitted to work as many as 48 hours in a single week. Evidently, this is the maximum allowable in the whole of the EU. In comparison to Koreans, who work an average of 2,390 hours per year, Frenchmen work an average of 1,431. Meanwhile, Americans are working 1,792 hours. Oddly enough, that American figure comes to 35 hours a week, but at least it isn't compulsory here. Seems the froggies were getting tired of a lagging economy and an unemployment rate of more than 10%. Lots of firms were putting new jobs in other countries where productivity (read : profits) would be higher. This move, of course raises the ire of the left leaning French, who perceive this as nothing more than a Capitalist way to exploit workers. It also angered the folks who had become accustomed to having a gravy work week. So the Socialists and the Lazy have been joining forces by marching, protesting, striking and whatnot.
I guess this post isn't very entertaining.