Monday, February 26, 2007

Feeling Appreciative (for everything but the new Blogger*)

Sure, everyone likes to complain about high taxes in France. However, I've been feeling especially grateful for the resulting social policies: my maternity leave (16 weeks, and apparently I'll eventually get paid a part of my salary by social security), prime de naissance (a nice chunk of euros, although the right to this benefit is also based on salary), and medical coverage (100% reimbursement for pre- and post-natal care, plus right now I think I'm covered for everything medical, including dentistry). These things are amazing to me, and apparently more social help will come after Baby Girl arrives. Of course, I have to remind myself that they are not exactly free -- we all pay for them through taxes under the assumption that French society as a whole will reap the benefit of having healthy mothers, fathers, and babies. What is also a little strange is that no one is obliged to feel guilty about receiving any of these benefits because they are across-the-board...a pregnant woman is a pregnant woman and we all receive certain help from the state.

Why am I writing about this? Today I saw this article when browsing Yahoo! news, and I was interested in the mainstream attitude towards welfare recipients, particularly towards single mothers. One critic said:

"If the goal of welfare reform was to get people off the welfare rolls, bravo," said Vivyan Adair, a former welfare recipient who is now an assistant professor of women's studies at Hamilton College in upstate New York. "If the goal was to reduce poverty and give people economic and job stability, it was not a success."

*Blast and tarnation...I spent about 45 minutes searching for websites giving details in English about maternity benefits, had nice links all set up, only to have everything disappear for some unknown reason. Sometimes the old Blogger would lock up but I would be pleasantly surprised by the ability to recover at least part of the post, but no such luck with the New Blogger. Bah.


Angela in Europe said...

I agree it is nice, but don't you find that a lot of French abuse the system. For example, I have a cold and everyone I work with has told me to go to the doctor. For a cold!

Pardon My French said...

I'd have to see numbers on how much abuse exists -- I know it happens, though. There was a program on TV about that last week. I'm always amused by the radio commercials about the evils of asking for antibiotics...seems a little behind the times but better late than never, I guess. I also wonder how long they'll keep selling medication in boxes that don't match the amount you're supposed to take.