It must be great to be able to read people's minds. Most of us lack that ability, but thankfully the Washington Post was able to find a reporter who could tell us Emmanuel Macron's motives in moving to weaken France's labor laws in a way that gives businesses more power and workers less. Those of us who lack mind reading ability might have thought that Macron was motivated by a desire to give businesses more power and workers less. After all, he is a wealthy person who made a fortune in investment banking. He also won without much support from France's labor unions.

But the Post can tell us Macron's true motives:

"...to stimulate economic growth and lower unemployment, now over 9 percent."

This is especially not obvious since the most effective way to boost growth and reduce unemployment would be to increase spending, something that Macron is not planning to do. It is far from obvious that the labor market reforms described in this piece will have the effect of boosting growth and lowering unemployment, so it seems that Macron is badly confused.

The piece also makes many assertions that are wrong or misleading. It tells readers in the second sentence:

"Find one of those golden tickets and you basically cannot be fired, even if you stop performing."

This is a Washington Post invention, like the claim that Mexico's GDP quadrupled between 1987 and 2007 due to NAFTA (the actual growth figure was 83 percent, according to the I.M.F.). It is simply not true, employers absolutely can fire workers in France if they can show they are not doing their jobs.


The piece also implies that France's economy is out of control, telling readers that these measures are necessary to prove to the European Union that "the French economy is under control." It is worth noting that according to the OECD, France's productivity is among the highest in Europe, slightly higher than Germany's. For prime-age workers (ages 25–54) it has a higher employment rate than the United States. The reason its unemployment rate is higher is primarily that more French people want to work. By contrast, in the United States, people who are not working are more likely to drop out of the labor force and therefore not be counted as unemployed.