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Matthew Hoy currently works as a metro page designer at the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The opinions presented here do not represent those of the Union-Tribune and are solely those of the author.

If you have any opinions or comments, please e-mail the author at: hoystory -at- cox -dot- net.

Dec. 7, 2001
Christian Coalition Challenged
Hoystory interviews al Qaeda
Fisking Fritz
Politicizing Prescription Drugs

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Thursday, June 09, 2005
French economics: I must confess that I don't pay close attention to the internal workings of the French economy. I know two things about it, and they're allI think I need to know. First, French farmers are always protesting something by using their tractors (both of them) to block roads. Second, the French economy's default status is "broken."

So, I was curious reading this story last night in the San Diego Union-Tribune on an effort to improve the French economy.

France's new premier tries to lift economy with $5.5 billion plan

Package promotes hiring in short term

OK, so they're going to spend a ton of money to get people off the unemployment rolls -- how exactly will this work?

The new measures include a 1,000-euro ($1,224) bonus for long-term unemployed who return to work and making it easier for small firms to fire staff.

Making it easier for small firms to fire staff? How does this promote hiring? Do small firms ask for a kickback on that 1,000 euro bonus to hire that new applicant and then turn around and fire someone they currently employ?

This doesn't sound like a plan to create jobs, it sounds like a scheme to shuffle around the employment status of millions of French workers.

The only reasonable explanation that I heard someone come up with to explain this plan was that it would boost hiring for cardboard box manufacturers -- those newly-fired employees will have to have something to put their stuff in when they're cleaning out their desks.

1:40 PM

Because it is so hard to fire French workers when business is bad, employers are reluctant to increase staff when business is growing. This is how French job protections contribute to unemployment.
Arthur's right. Over here, (to some extent) businesses hire in a boom, and lay off when they face down turns. Sure, this sucks for various folks in various ways, but it allows business to take advantage of the booms by hiring, other wise they'd be stuck with them in the downturns, so they'd be hiring only those they need in the recessions, so you've basically put yourself permanently in recession hiring mode. It's one of those unintended consequenses that a state-managed economy dorks up but that the cruel free market benefits from.

So, actually letting businesses (even if it's only small ones) actually fire people could be a pretty big deal.
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