https://web.archive.org/web/2010041...010/04/16/french-entitlements-come-to-america I’ve reported on the unintended effect of the European welfare state: lack of dynamism. If government promises to take care of you even if you don’t work, why try hard? If you get fired in France, the government pays you nearly 58% of your previous salary for up to two full years. Even if you’re rich, the government gives you up to $108,000 a year. I’s one reason why Americans are nearly 40% more productive than the French, and why the French unemployment rate is so high (it never went below 7.7 over the last two decades, and most years it was at 9 or 10 percent.) Over the years, a smothering blanket of the American welfare state has grown, but until now, it’s never approached Europe’s. Now it has. Yesterday, Congress voted to extend unemployment benefits for the fourth time in two years. Obama immediately signed it. So now Americans can continue to collect government checks for up to 99 weeks – nearly 2 years. The result is that more people will stay on welfare – I mean, unemployment benefits – and won’t try as hard to find new jobs. Some people will simply say: why push myself if I can take home almost as much money without working? Even Obama’s Director of the White House's National Economic Council, Larry Summers, admits that extending unemployment benefits increases unemployment: “[G]overnment assistance programs contribute to long-term unemployment is by providing an incentive, and the means, not to work." But giving away your money is just too hard for politicians to resist. And plenty of people are happy to line up and take the money. Here are some revealing comments from a blog discussion on another site: Michael: I know a bunch of people currently living off unemployment - and having a great time. They have to act like they're trying to find a job to keep collecting checks. This means - go to interviews - apparently you can even turn down job offers - and that's it. They talk about it like they're sticking it to the man - when realize - they're just sticking it to us that actually work. Jonny: My wife is on unemployment, she receives about $350 a week… Even though it makes our life easier, it does seem a bit backwards that she is able to collect with only the most lackadaisacal of job searching on her part. So far, America still has a more reasonable system than France’s. Even in the most “generous” US state, Massachusetts, unemployment payouts are capped at $33,592 a year.