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August 29, 2006

Comments

Patrick R. Sullivan

'To the extent that these countries provide more social and economic support to their citizens than the United States...'

Since I know Max won't miss an opportunity to talk about himself here, just exactly what does the above mean?

Paul Zrimsek

The object of a big revenue system is not to buck up pre-tax income, but post-tax, post-public expenditure well-being.

cc: Paul Krugman.

Your suggestion of job creation as a standard for comparison should find plenty of takers among the EPI-minded; I seem to recall that they considered it the sovereign measure of good economic management back in 2003. Then again, they scorned the unemployment rate back in 2003-- what about all those discouraged workers?-- and here they are using it. So what do I know?

Patrick R. Sullivan

Remember this surrender monkey:

'French President Jacques Chirac scrapped his government's hotly contested youth jobs scheme Monday, handing a major victory to unions and students after one of the country's biggest political crises in decades.

'Chirac announced after a high-level meeting that the youth contract, which would have made it easier to fire young workers, would be "replaced" with new measures to help disadvantaged young people into work.

'...The decision is a serious blow to Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin who had championed the scheme as a cornerstone of efforts to fight unemployment.'

geoff

I believe the report used pre-tax income, so that all the services offered would have to be "purchased" out of one's tax burden. To the extent that countries offer different service values for a tax dollar, no direct comparison can be made, but presuming that service value scales with purchasing power, the comparison isn't that outlandish.

nittypig

"the claim by some economists that Europe’s labor market institutions—such as strong unions, high minimum wages, and generous benefits— have priced less-skilled workers out of jobs."

I don't really understand the whole hypothesis here. While minimum wage clearly has more effect on low-skill unemployment than on high-skill unemployment, and unions should have a similar effect, many of 'euro-sclerosis' polcies should hurt high skill employment as well. Certainly high payroll taxes (or whatever they are called in Europe), burdensome regulations on dismissal, generous unemployment for highly paid workers and so on are policies that are typical of euro-sclerosis and should have a big effect on emplyment among highly skilled workers.

Miracle Max

Paul Z -- our focus on job creation was inspired by the Bush Administration's very specific claims of ginormous job growth resulting from their proposed tax cuts, growth not realized by a country mile.

Ordinarily we would focus on the unemployment rate, but with large and sudden changes in labor force participation, the distinction between an unemployed person and one "not looking for work" is more murky. So we have taken to talking more about the employment to population ratios.

geoff -- since pre-tax income is gross of direct taxes paid and this varies, comparison of pre-tax income glosses over differing service levels, even if they are provided on equal per-dollar basis. So your point does not follow.

patrick -- you're wrong again.

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