While giving a speech at the Center For American Progress in Washington on Monday, Hillary Clinton suggested that the U.S. should take a cue from Germany when it comes to keeping unemployment numbers down, citing Berlin’s “Kurzarbeit,” (short work) policy as a model that could work here in America.
“Instead of an unemployment system, they [Germany] have a wage subsidy system so you don’t let people go in the first place,” Clinton said in her speech.
Germany’s Kurzarbeit works by the government stepping in to subsidize, or pick up the tab, for lost time when companies reduce employee hours. In 2010, when the effects of the Great Recession hit globally, Germany was able to add jobs thanks to 39 percent of manufacturers utilizing the Kurzarbeit program.
Clinton’s suggestion to follow Germany’s example wasn’t without criticism though, as American Enterprise Institute scholar Desmond Lachman pointed out that fundamental differences in Germany’s workforce allow it to work there but not the U.S.
Lachman commented that due to the German workforce being highly unionized, it is easier for workers to receive concessions from the government when tough times arise.
Despite the differences in work culture, Clinton and other political leaders, including President Barack Obama, still see programs like the Kurzarbeit as something to look to when finding solutions to America’s continued employment difficulties.