Several European nations are suffering from a fiscal crisis.
But that’s just part of the story.
They also have significantly lower incomes than the United States, with living standards about 30 percent-40 percent below American levels.
And while many people are upset about the 7.5 percent joblessness rate in the United States, we’re doing much better than our cousins across the ocean. The unemployment rate averages about 11 percent in the European Union.
Given all this news, you would think that most people would understand that European policy makers would be trying to copy the United States, and not the other way around.
But that would be a rash assumption. There are interventionists in America who want to impose European-style mandates for paid-vacation time.
Here’s some of what USA Today wrote about a new report on the issue.
Nearly one in four Americans (23%) has no paid vacation days, according to a report released today by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a non-profit based in Washington, D.C. “Relying on businesses to voluntarily provide paid leave just hasn’t worked,” says report co-author John Schmitt… The USA is the only advanced economy that does not require employers to provide paid vacation days, the report says. Many U.S. employers offer paid vacation days and holidays, but no law sets a minimum. The 27-member European Union requires employers to grant at least 20 paid vacation days a year.
The authors want people to conclude that America should be more like Europe.
You won’t be surprised to see that I offered a different opinion.
The center first analyzed vacation and holiday data six years ago. “It is striking that six years after we first looked at this topic, absolutely nothing has changed,” Schmitt says. “U.S law and U.S. employer behavior still lags far behind the rest of the rich countries in the world.” …Daniel Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a Washington-based think tank, [said]. “When you make it more expensive to hire workers, fewer workers get hired.”
This is a classic example of good intentions leading to bad results.
Would it be nice if we could wave a magic wand and give all workers paid-vacation time? Of course.
Just like it would be nice if we could pass a law that raised everyone’s pay.
Or required employers to provide health insurance.
In the real world, however, these policies all have a cost. Some workers will lose jobs. Others will receive lower pay to offset the cost of paid vacation.
Sometimes the cost will be passed along to consumer. Simply stated, there’s no free lunch.
But as this Michael Ramirez cartoon illustrates, there are some people who want to follow the lemmings over the cliff.