Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Taranto on France and Krugman

As much as I disagree with most of Taranto's politics, I had to admire his ability to ridicule both Krugman and the French in today's BOWT:
The French have come in for a lot of criticism over the past two weeks or so, even a little bit in this column. So we thought in the interest of fairness we'd give some space to a defender of the French. We refer to former Enron adviser Paul Krugman, whose July 29 column pays tribute to the superior French economic system (an illustrated version is here):

Americans are doing a lot of strutting these days, but a head-to-head comparison between the economies of the United States and Europe--France, in particular--shows that the big difference is in priorities, not performance. We're talking about two highly productive societies that have made a different tradeoff between work and family time. And there's a lot to be said for the French choice. . . .

Let's ask how the situation of a typical middle-class family in France compares with that of its American counterpart. The French family, without question, has lower disposable income. This translates into lower personal consumption: a smaller car, a smaller house, less eating out.

But there are compensations for this lower level of consumption. Because French schools are good across the country, the French family doesn't have to worry as much about getting its children into a good school district. Nor does the French family, with guaranteed access to excellent health care, have to worry about losing health insurance or being driven into bankruptcy by medical bills.
On the other hand, car insurance must be getting pretty expensive over there.

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