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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The EU and the Right To Work

From the Wall Street Journal:
Via American Future

A lot of people marvel that U.S. GDP per capita is about 30% higher than the West European average, but the main reason is surprisingly simple: Americans just work more. The U.S. labor-force participation rate is more than six percentage points higher and unemployment is about half the European level. And while German and French workers clock in about 1,400 hours per year, Americans work almost 1,800 hours.

The one major European economy that is similarly industrious is the U.K. But yesterday, the Socialist, Labor and Green members of the European Parliament decided they would no longer tolerate this aberration. They voted in favor of scrapping an opt-out clause that exempts the U.K. from an EU law limiting the average working week to 48 hours. More precisely, the clause allows British workers to opt out from this EU law -- if they so wish. No employer can force a worker to do overtime. And no country has to follow Britain's lead here. [...]

. . . the Socialist lawmakers are engaged in the time-honored practice of raising their competitors' costs. In this case, the competitor is the U.K., whose more liberal employment policies make it an attractive destination for investment and jobs within the EU. This in turn puts pressure on Europe's more-socialist countries to reform or lose jobs. But the socialists have found a third way -- make the U.K. less competitive by making its labor market less flexible. Disappointingly, British Labour Party members of the European Parliament have gone along with this assault on British liberty.


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