First, it was France. The country’s response to its high and growing unemployment problem was to make laying off employees so painful economically that companies will avoid it. Labor Minister Michel Sapin said, “The main idea is to make layoffs so expensive for companies that it’s not worth it.” Sapin, a good friend of France’s socialist president François Hollande, also said that said the government could not stand by idly as some companies cut workers just to improve profitability and boost their dividends to shareholders. Regarding the unemployment problem, here is a factor that Sapin should consider: if companies cannot fire workers they will be extremely reluctant to hire them in the first place.
Now, the entire European Union (EU) has offered its response to youth (people younger than 25 years of age) unemployment problem. The EU has proposed, and I am being serious here, that ALL youth be guaranteed a job. The youth unemployment rate for the entire EU for the summer of 2012 was 22.7 percent (it was 16.8 percent in the US), with Greece, Italy, and Spain having much higher rates. From Frankfurter Allgemeine:
“The Member States of the European Union should guarantee all people aged less than 25 years in the future, within four months some form of employment. These governments should issue a so-called youth guarantee….”
There are, of course, two “minor” problems with the EU scheme. First, an EU commission headed by László Andor did not specify how this goal (youth employment guarantee) was to be achieved. It’s easy to offer a solution to a problem (talk is cheap), but quite another thing to explain specifically how the problem will be solved. Second, the EU should consider this fact: work rules, pension rules, and other rules are so harsh that companies simply do not want to hire workers regardless of age.
For some perspective, there have been more than 40,000 people killed in Syria, with the death toll rising daily, but the EU is not particularly concerned about that. North Korea has launched a three-stage rocket, moving closer to their goal of developing a nuclear-tipped ICBM. They are sharing nuclear weapons technology with Iran, the world’s leading sponsors of terrorism. But the EU does not seem to be worried about that either. That is the same EU that, earlier this year, won the Nobel Peace Prize. It is also the same EU that is “concerned” about Israel building on a 4.6 square piece of land in order to protect itself. It appears that the EU’s lack of consistency is showing. Perhaps it should get its own house in order before sticking its nose in others’ business.
And, I think it was Albert Einstein who said, “Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results, is a sign of insanity.” So, that means that Obama is soon to try to emulate what France and the EU are currently doing.
But that’s just my opinion.
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