Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

10 March, 2006

Vive la Résistance!

Students have once again stormed and occupied La Sorbonne, this time to defy quite possibly the world's stupidest employment stimulation policy (and that says a lot, given the economic "miracle" that's been the Bush administration):
The prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, wants to force a measure through France's parliament designed to alleviate unemployment, paradoxically by making it easier to fire workers aged under 26 years. The measure would introduce a new form of work contract, le contrat de première embauche (first employment contract), which gives employers the right to let employees go after two years. The hope is it will spur employers to hire young people safe in the knowledge they are not obliged to retain them.
Take a second and read that again. De Villepin wants to increase youth employment by making it easier to fire young people. The macro-economic thinking behind this particular proposal ranks right up there with other pie-in-the-sky schemes like the Laffer Curve, but without the charming drawn-on-a-cocktail-napkin folklore to give scotch-and-soda swilling Republicans a good chuckle about their little con game.

Meanwhile, the youth desperately beg for work:
But the move has provoked a vigorous backlash. More than 400,000 people joined street demonstrations across France earlier this week, and by early yesterday about half of the country's 88 universities had been shut down by student sit-ins...


For more than a decade, France's overall unemployment rate has hovered around 10% - one of the highest in western Europe. But it is the punishing level of youth unemployment that sets the country apart. Nearly one in four young French people is out of work, and unemployment among the under-25s has persisted above 20% for a generation.

Although some EU countries in eastern Europe have higher rates, most of these are moving down. France's rate increased in 2002 and has grown steadily for the past four years.


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