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Comparing unemployment rates across countries is a dicey proposition. Because each country sets its own definition of "unemployment". Historically, the US has usually had low unemployment rates, because we have among the narrowest definition of unemployment. If you've given up looking for work, for example, you're not counted here. European countries have historically had higher unemployment rates because they have significantly broader definitions of unemployment. Conservative politicians often point to "high" unemployment rates in Europe as evidence of their economies performing poorly. But it's not an apple-to-apple comparison, and it's very hard to get standardized data to make one.

I will point out that while Canada has a broader definition of unemployment than the US, their rate has been lower than ours for a while now, by roughly 2 points. They are a net exporter of oil and many other natural resources we import.

How long it takes US drivers to reduce their gas consumption by 20% isn't really central to my point, which was that taxing the total sale amount of gas in dollars, rather than a flat number of cents per gallon sold, could stabilize revenue even as gas consumption falls (due to inevitable factors like higher prices, more efficient cars, and more hybrids and electrics).

by Jon Morgan on Sep 8, 2011 1:27 pm • linkreport

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