Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Just Want to Bang On the Drum All Day

Two million French citizens are taking to the streets today to protest - get this - not getting Social Security until age 62. Currently, they get to retire at 60, a practice which is bleeding the country dry. But the unions say it is a "cherished social tradition." I'm thinking of telling my partners that taking a two hour nap every day is something I cherish, too.

Some math here: let's say the average French citizen enters the workforce at age 25 (after school, maybe some grad school, and some general hanging-around-the-cafes-spouting-Rousseau time). They then work until age 60, and retire. If they live until 80, that means they have worked a mere 35 out of 80 years, and yet they expect others to support them for the 45 they don't work. I'd cherish that, too.

But let's not stop there. The French only work a government-mandated 35 hours a week, and they get 6 weeks vacation. That means in a given year they work 1,610 hours out of a total of 8,760, or 18% of the total time. Over the course of their lives, they work 56,350 out of 700,800 total hours, or 8% of the time.

They must really be productive when you catch them at work.

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