Monday, July 8, 2013

Opinion writer Robert Samuelson links (wrongly) paid vacation to unemployement

A particularly disingenuous presentation of the comparative situation of the US and the rest of the (industrialized) world as far as paid vacation is concerned. His very conservative conclusions are worth quoting (as they are completely wrong) but represent the type of arguments we'll hear over and over.
We could follow other advanced societies and legislate minimum vacations. This is a debate worth having — sometime in the future but not now. We need to remember the obvious: Paid leaves mean compensating people for doing nothing. There are consequences. The most likely are less hiring (because higher labor costs deter employers from adding workers) or eroding wages (because employers offset the extra costs by squeezing wages). It’s doubtful that mandated vacations would create many, if any, extra jobs. Europe has longer vacations — and higher unemployment. One is not the solution for the other.
Generous vacations might seem a cure for an overstressed America. But with stubbornly high joblessness and stagnant wages, the U.S. economy cannot afford policies that might worsen either or both. That would be a vacation from reality.

An amazing exercise in disinformation: there is nothing about the fact that European countries have had paid vacation for years (2 weeks was passed in the thirties), the claim that paid vacation are linked to high unemployement is completely bogus as the paid vacation policies were in place when there was much reduced unemployment, saying paid vacation don't create jobs is negating all the jobs linked to such paid vacations, talking about 'generous vacation' when the present US level is 0 is an amazing understatement. Of course as far as productivity and profitability is concerned Robert simply forgets all the US corporations that operate in Europe and have created millions of profitable jobs.

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