Peering Over the Neighbors’ Fence

. . . can be a useful exercise, especially in terms of deciding how you don’t want to keep your own backyard.

Wonderful France, which like the U.S. has recently elected a committed socialist to its presidency, seems to be — unexpectedly! as Instapundit would note — not doing too well when it comes either to creating or even keeping private sector employment.  In fact, during the third quarter 2012 the private sector in France lost 50,400 jobs; the total employment (again, private sector; the public sector is not factored into these numbers) is 67,000 less than in 3Q of 2011.  The French analogue of the BLS is reckoning with a private sector unemployment rate of 10.2% by year-end, which is 0.5% — unexpectedly! — higher than projected at summer’s end.  Only 16 million Frenchmen remain employed in the private sector.  As of end of 2011, the population of Metropolitan France was ciphered out at 63,136,180 (including Corsica, but not other overseas possessions), which means that roughly a quarter of the gross population is employed in the private sector.  By way of comparison, as of the end of October, the St. Louis Fed reports 111,744,000 people employed across all private industry in the U.S., from total population reckoned at 314,395,013 as of September, 2012.  As a proportion of population, France’s private-sector employment is thus 29.66% lower than America’s, or from the other direction, our private-sector employment is 42% higher than France’s.

So what’s a socialist to do, who has publicly committed to soaking the employers rich?

Right, you hold a two-and-a-half-hour press conference at which you solemnly intone that fighting unemployment will be the first priority of your administration.  Well, that and you blame the preceding administration (gee, where have we heard that refrain before?).  And how do you foster an anemic private sector?  Why, you subsidize public-sector employment, e.g. the national railway and local government.  Hollande promises 75% subsidies for up to 150,000 jobs for young people.  The program’s two-year cost is given (nudge, nudge) at five billion Euros, all paid for, we have to presume, by taxes on the same private sector employers who cannot afford to hire young Frenchmen in the first place.  It must be from taxes because Hollande has also promised to reduce from 4.5% to 3% of GDP — a 33.33% reduction in borrowing.  This reduction is to occur at a time when the economists (they don’t call it the dismal science for nothing) are poo-poohing his promise to reverse the unemployment trendline by end of 2013, because for the foreseeable future they anticipate net private sector job loss.  Higher taxes and lower borrowing in a shrinking economy; how’s that likely to work out?

The write-up doesn’t mention whether Hollande explained how private sector employment is supposed to compete with the public sector, when it can’t afford labor right now and when the 75% subsidy will do little more than cause public sector wages to increase even further.

I never cease to be amazed that a group of people — lefties here and abroad — have no problem grasping that something so seemingly simple as a farm pond is actually a complex system, and that when you start tinkering with any one part of it you end up mommocking up the whole pond, in ways that you can’t even really predict with any degree of certainty.  They understand this, and yet they imagine that they can fine-tune a national economy like a guitar, and they can pluck at any particular string, fretted in any location, and not set all the other strings to cacophonous jangling.  They imagine that if they make a pig’s breakfast of any particular portion of that economy, any industry, any segment of the labor force, they can wave their magic fairy wand and un-do it all.  It doesn’t seem to cross their minds that when you’ve destroyed a decades-old industry — say, the private health insurance industry, or the community banking industry (Dodd-Frank will be its death knell if not significantly altered) — you can’t just repeal or amend a statute and have it all come magically back to life.  Commerce is not a Broadway play.  Once you’ve fired the lead actors there are no understudies.  You can’t just hire a new cast, go play the sticks for a few months, and then re-open in the city with the same script and to the same reviews. 

You can’t tax people to death who have the choice to go elsewhere.  The same folks who willingly signed up for another round of Gov. Moonbeam back in 2010 have just proven themselves to be the biggest crew of shit-pokes in Western Civilization (the expression comes from someone so dim-wittedly gullible that he’ll poke his finger into every pile because hey! you never know there won’t be a diamond underneath it).  This is lauded as a visionary exercise of sovreignty.  Hollande in France seems to forget that  particular implication of the free movement of people and capital. 

I’m glad to see that we aren’t the only country whose president promises us fur-bearing, flying, egg-laying mammals, all paid for by someone else’s money which magically will appear.

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