Friday, July 29, 2005

I'm shocked, shocked!

Paul Krugman's op-ed piece in the New York Times today, "French Family Values" is a wonder. He:
- doesn't attack the Bush administration (he snipes at Rick Santorum)
- does not seem to have made any egregious errors
- is actually sort of humble at points

Now this is in large part probably due to the length of the piece (quite short) and the fact he doesn't cite many statistics.

Before anyone thinks Krugman was beaned in a baseball game, he does make some faulty arguments and his conclusion is wrong. Basically he argues that the French have less income because laws have made it possible for them to choose to have more leisure and spend more time with their families.

The point is that to the extent that the French have less income than we do, it's mainly a matter of choice.
And whatever else you may say about French economic policies, they seem extremely supportive of the family as an institution.

Two observations. First, it ISN'T mainly a matter of choice - it's government mandated. Second, on the subject of family, the French total fertility rate (TFR) is 1.85, well below the required replacement rate (2.1 or so). And that number is likely to be significantly inflated by recent immigrants who are primarily Muslim. Even though their TFR is much better than say Italy and other Western democracies, the traditional French aren't getting married and aren't having children despite all this additional leisure time. In contrast, the US TFR is around 2.0 and we are demographically much healthier. For starters, we assimilate our immigrants rather than have growing ghettos of discontent.

I am sick and farking tired of people touting the French or "European" lifestyle to American audiences. I'm supposed to take "family values" lessons from PEOPLE WHO LET THEIR RELATIVES DIE FROM LACK OF AIR CONDITIONING AND THEN ROT IN OVERLADEN FUNERAL HOMES WHILE THEY VACATION? The notion is disgusting. Fifteen thousand people died in France of the heat in 2003 -- about 12 times more than US combat casualties in Iraq. I'll work hard and take care of my family, instead of working occasionally and hoping the government will lower electricity rates so that I can afford the AC for my mom and dad in their small apartment.

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