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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

US Citizens Doing Very Well, Thank You

Just wondering if you knew this from the US Treasury:

The department said the U.S. government spent $209 billion last month, a record amount for January and up by 7.9 percent from January 2005, and government tax receipts also set a record high of $230 billion, up by 13.7 percent from the same month of 2005.

EURota tells us the news from France, the EU powerhouse, as reported by FT is not so rosy:

France’s economy slowed sharply in the final quarter of 2005, creating fresh doubts about the strength of the eurozone’s economic recovery. Falling industrial production and sluggish consumer spending meant French gross domestic product was just 0.2 per cent higher than the previous three months, according to official data, well below government and economists’ forecasts. In the third quarter of last year, GDP had risen 0.7 per cent.

At least everyone in France has all of that leisure time. Tim Worstall explains that the leisure time is really non-paid labor time. With their free time, they do all of the typical unpaid work that Americans pay others to do. And who is doing better?

Writes Worstall:

[M]ore paid hours are leading to more leisure hours -- seems to be explained by this paper from Harvard's Richard Freeman. Precisely because women are earning -- and then buying in those services which they used to do unpaid -- we're seeing greater specialization of labor (or if you prefer, more trade). And as we know that's the route to greater productivity. The actual paper itself is looking at American and German women and their participation in paid work. While they don't actually put it quite this way, the fact that many German women stay at home to make sauerkraut, while more American women go outside the home to do something they're good at, buying the food at the supermarket on the way home, means that the American women are both richer and have more leisure time.

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