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1% of the US labor force earns the minimum wage.

The US middle class has among the highest disposable income levels on the planet, far higher than France. The median full-time job in the US nearly pays $50,000 at this point, far higher than France.

The person at the median in the US middle class has their healthcare paid for by their employer. The US middle class has in fact seen significant compensation increases that are not accounted for, because their healthcare benefits from employers are not accounted for in salary comparisons.

Whether France has a decent labor code, or actually has a backwards labor code that has severely damaged their economy for decades, is clearly open to debate given the high persistent unemployment rate of France.

France's labor code has not resulted in high wages, the US has higher wages in every regard. It has not resulted in high employment, the US always has a lower unemployment rate. It has not resulted in faster growing wages, US wage growth averages three to four times faster over the last decade. It has not resulted in faster economic growth, US GDP growth is typically four or five times faster.

When US wages grow at only 2% or 2.5%, we wonder what's wrong. In France, wage growth has averaged about 0.4% the last three years; the 0.6% growth level it put in a few quarters ago, was a three year high. If the French labor code is so desirable, why is French wage growth so atrocious?

See: "Wage Growth in France averaged 0.53 percent from 1999 until 2017"




And that can be confirmed by simply Googling "french wage growth" and looking at dozens of recent news sources.

Your order of a magnitude claim is very obviously wrong.

You'd be better off talking about household-adjusted median disposable income at PPP levels. It still makes your point, not as dramatically but more solidly. There's a table: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_income#Median_equivalen...

There's another chart here, from OECD with similar distribution and levels: https://mises.org/blog/when-it-comes-household-income-sweden...

(You need to adjust for different levels of required expenditures (different things are subsidised in different countries), different cost levels for local goods and services, different worker participation rates (e.g. dual income vs single income), etc.)

Perhaps. The foundation of the parent's claim, rested on the French middle class seeing stronger wage growth than the US. That claim is very painfully false, as French wage growth is typically far lower than the US wage growth across the board. In fact French wage growth has been extremely poor for the last two decades, which shoots a massive hole in the premise about their labor code somehow being beneficial to that middle class (persistently high unemployment + very low wage growth).

How long can French wage growth continue at 0.5%, while the US continues at 2.5%, before the gap gets extreme? I think it's probably aleady nearing that point, as it pertains to developed nations standards. And that obviously isn't to say the US is the best in the world at any of this, it's simply that the French economy has performed so miserably in general. They've basically been failing to keep pace with global economic growth for three decades, watching their macro, per capita & household rankings slide persistently.

>1% of the US labor force earns the minimum wage.

About 3% of the American labor force made the federal minimum wage in 2016, not 1%. This number is vastly higher when included those who make state minimum wages that are higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.


>The person at the median in the US middle class has their healthcare paid for by their employer.

The median US worker most certainly does not have their healthcare paid for my their employer. Some are partially subsidized, some receive nothing. Very few "middle class" workers have their healthcare paid for, let alone their full health insurance premiums or deductibles. The average worker pays $4,200 for their own healthcare out of pocket after all employer subsidies.

New results from an industry organization's annual study shows that large employers expect the total average per-employee cost for health insurance benefits — which includes premiums and out-of-pocket costs for employees and dependents — to rise in 2018 to $14,156 from $13,482 this year.

With employers covering about 70 percent of that cost, the average worker will pay 30 percent of the tab, or about $4,200.


That is $4,200 out of the worker's income. Median income last year in the United States was $31,099. Depending on what state the worker lives in they are taking home ~$25,000 after taxes and tax rebates. This means that even after employer subsidy they are paying about 1/6th of their total annual income on healthcare.

>The US middle class has in fact seen significant compensation increases that are not accounted for, because their healthcare benefits from employers are not accounted for in salary comparisons.

For most workers they are paying more for healthcare while receiving less coverage than they have in past years and decades in the United States. Somewhat ironic, but not surprising given your other comments, that you equate receiving less of a lower quality product as "increased compensation". Next year, when deductibles rise and workers have to pay more, should we also count that as increased compensation? Perhaps what we can call it what it is - a direct transfer of wealth to the ownership class on Wall Street. A massive corporate welfare program for pharmaceutical companies, HMOs, insurance companies, managed care conglomerates and their shareholders.

France is not perfect, but when people get sick, they can go to the doctor for treatment even if they don't have enough money. When someone gets hit by a car in France, they don't have to limp away because the cost of an ambulance ride could bankrupt them. When someone in France has a life threatening abscess in their tooth they can go to a dentist for proper treatment instead of hoping it goes away until they have thousands of dollars.

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