France Just Doesn’t Get it—Firing is OK!

Today’s Republican included this column by William F. Buckley about the strikers in France. Like the author, I have been amazed by the naivete and belief that laws allowing employers to fire people are such a sore subject in France.

Buckley first states the problem: more than 30% of the French are inactive. Not looking, not working, just inactive. In the US, firing is easy…but so is finding a new job. So you lose your dishwasher’s job, you find another gig flipping burgers. Not a big increase in pay, a few weeks of fear, but you’re back working soon enough.

In France, one of the student leaders protesting said he had no interest in economic flexibility–nor did he care that the current French system with 9.6 % unemployment is hampered by restrictive laws against flexible hiring. The vilified French government is trying, with this new law, to give employers a little room to hire/fire as they wish.

But in France, all this means is that it’s time for another strike. Too bad they just don’t get it.