Skeptics argue that we don't want to imitate a Europe burdened by costly social supports that drag down economies. But a half-dozen European countries, including France and Germany, now rival US productivity output per hour, even while workers put in 150 to 500 fewer hours a year than the average American, according to data released last month by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Meanwhile, Europe's work-family programs have expanded.
--- Maggie Jackson, Boston Globe, 2004 November 21
Different article, same paper:
On a recent trip to Germany, Baily, the economist, was struck by the widespread pessimism he encountered. Said Baily: "Germany had a pretty good long run of prosperity with generous social benefits, and people can see that it is no longer sustainable."
The Germans are right. What they had isn't sustainable. Wrenching adjustments lie ahead. That is the reality in a competitive world economy.
---Charles Stein, Boston Globe, 2004 November 21