Saturday, August 15, 2009

Europe, Immigration, and Unease

Okay, forget economic growth. With Europe’s population aging and the worker/retiree ratio shrivelling remorselessly, we need more immigrants to come in and prop up the welfare state. Johnny Frenchman may get a bit tetchy at the end of an agreeable evening with his mistress when he glances out the window just before heading back to the missus and sees une bande de jeunes (in the preferred designation) lighting up his Citroën. But when he’s 53 and retired he’ll be grateful to have those jeunes in the workforce paying in to keep his benefit cheques coming. That, at any rate, is the theory. The reality is encapsulated in this remarkable statistic from the Bundesausländerbeauftragte: between 1971 and 2000, the number of foreign residents in Germany rose from three million to about 7.5 million. Yet the number of foreigners in work stayed more or less exactly the same at about two million. Four decades ago, two-thirds of German immigrants were in the workforce. By the turn of the century, barely a quarter were. These days, Germany’s Gastarbeiter (“guest workers”) are heavy on the Gast, ever lighter on the Beiter.

Read the rest of Mark Steyn here.

[HT: Real Clear Politics ]

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