Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The irresistible force and the immovable object

What happens when both meet?

Well, what happens when laziness meets the socialist welfare state?
France Protests End of National Holiday

PARIS - Teachers, transport workers and much of France ignored the government's call to sacrifice a paid holiday to raise money for the elderly Monday — causing widespread disruption on a day meant to symbolize national unity.

Public transport in up to 90 cities and towns across France was disrupted. Many city halls and classrooms were closed, post offices scaled back services because of striking employees and many private companies gave their staff the day off. Polls showed more than half of the leisure-loving French planned to stay home.

The national "Day of Solidarity" — an extra work day in place of the annual Pentecost holiday — was part of the government's response to a 2003 heat wave that killed 15,000 people, mostly elderly.

Under a new law, workers give up a holiday, while their employers pay into a government fund to improve health care for the aged and handicapped. The extra day of work was expected to reap about $2.5 billion a year in additional revenue for health care.
So there are limits to the French people's love of the welfare state -- when it threatens to limit their indolence.



Blogger Brad Warbiany said...

The problem is that the whole basis of socialism is that there is a group, commonly defined as "anyone but me", who will do the work and carry me. Eventually, although not as dramatically as in Atlas Shrugged, those people carrying everyone else get fed up. That group of people slowly dwindles in number, and the lazy people overload the system. France is at that point now, and it's only downhill from here. Someday, they'll finally learn that they actually need to work to earn money, and it might reverse the trend. But I'm not holding my breath just yet.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 9:48:00 AM  
Blogger Perry Eidelbus said...

It's a similar situation in Sweden. A few years ago, I remarked to a friend's sister that I'd heard 90% of Sweden is at least partially supported by the other 10%. She and her husband were starting a family, working hard, and she mused that perhaps they ought to move to Sweden. "But," she asked, "what about when the other 10% give up and join the 90%?"

It must take an incredible amount of social engineering to keep a people complacent. Such indoctrination requires a virtually dominant public school system, one that teaches young people to be good citizens and accept their high taxes.

My best friend today disagreed with this entry. But I wasn't criticizing the French for wanting their holiday. I was simply wondering which would give first, their love of not working, or their love of a welfare state. And sure, nobody wants to work a full day just to pay it all in taxes -- but any nation that taxes a percentage of income effectively does that already. I tried explaining to my friend that if she pays 20% of her income in taxes, she works every fifth day strictly for the government.

Walter Williams once suggested that federal spending be limited to 10% of GDP. "My answer [to those asking why that number] is that if 10 percent is good enough for the Baptist Church, it ought to be good enough for the U.S. Congress." Boom!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 11:38:00 PM  

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