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"Just in case facts would be of any importance to the German media when it comes to judging the U.S. and the U.S. government..."

As if...

I would say things are looking up in Germany and the rest of euroland.

Now you know why these people are always so happy. The future is bright.

Unemployment isn't the whole story when it comes to economy. There's debt load, inflation, interest rates, economic growth. By just highlighting one statistic, you're leaving wiggle room for people who might not deserve it. More statistics, please. I think they'll be very good for the US side in any comparison but nail those numbers down to make sure that reality is what's being talked about.

I'll add a piece of the puzzle:

http://www.optimist123.com/optimist/a1_national_debt/index.html

National Debt Thermometer

And another:

http://www.eiu.com/

http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=26&story_id=27280&name=Oslo+topples+Tokyo+as+world%27s+most+expensive+city

...Europe dominates the top of the list with European cities taking eight of the top 10 spots on the list although Paris is the only eurozone city to appear on the top-ten listing.

All the five German cities included in the list rank within the top 35 most-expensive cities. Frankfurt is the German city with the highest cost of living in the 12th spot; Munich came in at 14, Berlin at 19, Düsseldorf at 27, and Hamburg at 32.

London took the seventh spot, while the first American city to appear on the list is New York, in the 27th spot....

...to any of the French who read the LeMonde cry to Voltaire today (yesterday/whenever) ... you should ponder when he said "We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation."...and then take a look at what this Scottish guy Adam Smith has to say about economics...

it's working for us

but hey

it's your life, country and progeny to fuck up

@Sandy:
Most expensive cities in which terms? Living costs in US Dollars, Euros, Yen or as a percentage of average local income?

What the unemployment stats do not state is the "underemployment rate" . I have noticed an increasing amount of middle-aged people laboring at low-wage, below subsistence, supermarkets, fast-food joints and Walmart - jobs ordinarily for younger people used as mere stepping stones to get through college and then to better things. Construction trades are being swapped with Mexicans, a good portion here illegally, that has driven wages down because they will work for $6 per hour what any other sane person wouldn't do for $10.Big Business loves illegal immigration and outsourcing and that is why El Presidente de la Bush is all for it.
All the US government's rosy economic forecasts is a smoke screen, with bells and whistles cloaking that our trade deficit is beyond repair as is our national debt, and wage value/standard of living has made a steady drop since 1973.
Before people assert - "at least they have a JOB!"- they need to check themselves: would these sloganeers work at those places?? Have these people EVER worked at those places? These white collar folks used to think that were immune from working for peanuts and getting their hands dirty with it, and mocked the poor slobs who did, but no longer:

"...and then they came for me(downsized your cushy job), but there was none left to speak up for me."
Americans have no reason to point fingers at Europa and gloat when it comes to economics and standard of living. Not since the 1960s anyway.Sorry.

Steppendaft:

I've been downsized twice, but the longest I was out of work was 8 months. At one point, the unemployment period ended when I took contract jobs. I wound up making about the same amount as when I had had a permanent position; however, I only had to work about 2/3 of the time to do it. We switched our health insurance to my wife's employer, so no big deal there (I would have been eligible through the contract agency after 6 mo., but hers was better). My friends who have also been through it joke about "putting on the orange apron" (working at Home Depot; we had written English lyrics to "Vesti la Giubba"), but none of us has had to do so.

At one job, there were about 50 of us middle-aged contractors; most were ex-controllers, CFOs of smaller companies, or other mid- or upper-level executives. We called ourselves "the gray matter" (anatomy) or "the Space Cowboys" (movie). Most had taken a "package" (six months to a year salary, continued health coverage, sometimes a cash lump sum of another kind, vested pension...), so they were not exactly downhearted at their situation. Many had small businesses on the side that were still in their infancy. No one likes being laid off, but it's a misfortune rather than a disaster.

As far as hidden unemployment is concerned, you should also consider Europe's generous disability programs. It is quite strict here. I understand, though, that it is much easier to qualify in most European countries. Retirement ages tend to be lower as well, so workers are removed from the labor pool and the labor statistics earlier. It works both ways.

Employers stepped up hiring in January, boosting payrolls by 193,000 and lowering the nation's unemployment rate to 4.7 percent, the lowest since July 2001.

Well they did just open a new McD's and of all things a drive through Starbucks just up the street from me.

This has to be what the euro's mean about quality of jobs, etc....

There is just no social justice in America.

steppendaft

"I have noticed an increasing number..."

Well, gee, that's good enough science for me! Let me guess -- you vote for Dems a lot.

"Well they did just open a new McD's and of all things a drive through Starbucks just up the street from me.

This has to be what the euro's mean about quality of jobs, etc...."

Well, in my corner of far West London the 'new McDonalds' is 3 years old, opening at the same time as the new large shopping centre. But along the high street we have not one but two KFC's opened in the past two years and a Pizza Hut delivery storefront in the past year. They replaced a cut-rate furniture store, a pawnbroker, and a sewing machine shop down on it's luck, respectively.

We have a starbucks near the station and more coffee shops in that area than you could shake a stick at. Coffee shops are beginning to overwhelm mobile phon outlets as the dominat form of business these days....

"As far as hidden unemployment is concerned, you should also consider Europe's generous disability programs."

Also 'training programs', Mitch. Training programs - many of them endless are a favored place to stash the skill-challenged young and the technologically downsized in many European countries. Particularly in France and Germany....

I have been considering possible business opportunities in a Paris suburb similarly positioned to mine in London.

The possibilities are endless, and far superior to the banal fast food outlest which the US and UK have in such places! Mais non, the opportunities in Paris are Far more interesting!

Consider. More body shops for cars, specialized towing services capable of removing burnt out car wrecks, junkyards to put and recycle said wrecks. These are growth industries now and not to be scorned. Storefront mosques.

But with a longer vision one can visualize other major opportunities. Supply houses for the storefront mosques for one. Church conversions. Specialized applications of the building and rental trades. Indoor guarded parking. I could make a specialty of building really sound garages with concrete rebar. Backyard bunkers. Private security services, or even bodyguards. The sky is the limit!

For the rental business - I could rent a line of urban barriers for police and local authorities to rent on short notice. The ability to block the streets is becoming important.

The real money is elsewhere, however. The next European billionaire will be the person who invents a fireproofing treatment for automobiles which car dealerships can charge an additional fee. In some localities the sum of 1000 euros (or even more) per new car could be easily be justified.......

An interesting thing to me about unemployment in Socialist states is the fact that with welfare for life, many people don't want to work when they can get as much (or sometimes even more!) money by sitting at home....So is higher unemployment caused by lack of jobs or lack or workers?

@MKL - It is caused by increase of effectivity. And that welfare for life would make you inactive is just an optical illusion. If you use some kind of asceticism to spur on your activity this is your private business, but you cannot expect the state to hold up the threat of withholding to nourish your soul. The trap is not sitting at home as such, but sitting at home with no reliable planning horizon and being discouraged to make long-term choices because the supply might cease before they work out. If you have all the time of the world, you chose whether you are bored or creative.

steppendaft, are you a snob?

My dad sold tires and batteries for 26 years.

What do you have against retail?

Also you argument that those jobs are for kids can be met with what do you expect w/minimum wage?

People get comfortable and don't want to improve themselves. Their needs are being met.

Who says they're working fulltime, anyway?

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