Monday, June 06, 2005

Beware the Polish Plumber

Claire Berlinski sums up quite well why the French voted against the E.U. constitution in yesterday's Washington Post. One of her best explanations comes from personal experience:

Over the past few weeks, the pro-Europe talking heads on French television have been busy poking fun at French fears of the "proverbial Polish plumber" who is ready to steal jobs from the locals. But how the pundits can argue that he is only proverbial is beyond me. If you want to test the theory, try living in a Paris apartment that needs repainting, as mine did a few weeks ago. Get estimates. French workmen will propose to do the job for 10,000 euros. The Polish painter? He can do it for 800 euros. Tomorrow. He doesn't ask for health insurance or social security, either. And this in a country where there is already 10 percent unemployment.

If I were a French house painter or plumber, I would have voted non, too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is a fundamental misunderstanding of economics here I'm afraid. If the government of France or the eurocracy manages to nail down the lid over the last remaining corner of the willing buyer/willing seller economy, and the Polish painter goes away, the French painter doesn't get the 10k euros. Painting the apartment isn't worth 10k euros, or you wouldn't have gone looking for the Pole to paint it. So the work will not be performed or the person that lives in the apartment will do it themselves, and probably instead of doing their own job, which doesn't really matter because he's constricted from working in the same way and has little to do anyway. That's an economy that ever so slowly constricts, like a python, squeezing the air and life out of its participants.

I can go to Home Depot ten minutes from my house today and get an airconditioner for seventy-five bucks. In France,every facet of that transaction would be illegal or impossible. And so the French elderly died in their thousands, in a little heat wave, because willing seller/willing buyer is made illegal.

By the way, although American, I have hired dozens of Polish painters. Here's what you need to know: (phonetically)

shishko molovich means "paint everything"
sheepjay, sheepjay, sheepjay means
"faster, faster, faster"

And don't speak Russian around them, they don't like it. It reminds them of the last statist tyrrany that wouldn't allow them to paint apartments if they wanted to, I imagine.