The Americans and French have more in common than they think.
Job worries damp public support for globalisation
Public support for economic globalisation is rising on both sides of the Atlantic but US and French voters are worried that freer trade costs jobs, according to a survey released yesterday. There is much less support for further liberalisation of trade, with 59 per cent of Americans and 58 per cent of French thinking that freer trade will cost them more jobs than it creates.
Despite the apparent free-market consensus in US politics, worries about stagnant real earnings across most of the workforce have raised fears that trade, particularly with China, is holding down pay and eliminating jobs. The cost of losing a job is far higher in the US than in the European Union because of a less generous public welfare system and the paucity of publicly provided healthcare.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Paris-based intergovernmental policy institute, calculates that the income of a single-earner household in the US drops to 41 per cent of its former level if the breadwinner's job is lost, compared with 68 per cent in Germany, 70 per cent in France and 73 per cent in the UK.
Jack Thurston, transatlantic fellow of the GMF, said: "In both France and the US there is a strain of economic nationalism where any particular proposition is judged on whether it is good for the country or a vocal minority within it, rather than supported on principle."Its what Lou Dobbs and LePen have in common too.
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