BRUSSELS – Italy’s new prime minister, Matteo Renzi, wants to attack high youth unemployment by cutting taxes on labor. There is much to be said for that approach – not only in Italy, but throughout Europe, where direct and indirect taxation on employers and jobs accounts for half of the total tax take, while taxes on capital comprise only a fifth. But tax reform will be a long and difficult slog, and there are much faster ways of getting young people into the workforce.
Thirty years ago, I took a long, hard look at the unemployment scourge then hitting Europe in a book called World Out of Work. The scourge is back, and it seems more intractable than ever. Yet there are three shortcuts to ending the jobs crisis in Europe, even if few EU governments seem interested in them.