Forced to "spend time with the family"
Krugman seems to think that the French are better off overall because they work less and spend more time with their families. He grants that this makes them poorer but "to the extent that the French have less income than we do, it's mainly a matter of choice." Not really.
Krugman must believe that we need government to tell us to spend time with our families. Consider this rundown of French labor law: "Statutory working hours in France are 35 actual hours worked per week. Maximum working hours are 10 hours per day and 48 hours per week. Over a 12-week period, the maximum is an average of 44 hours per week....
Hours worked in excess of statutory working hours are counted as overtime. Overtime pay is at least 10% more than regular pay and 25% more in most cases. The regulatory limit on overtime is 180 hours per year, which increases annual working hours to 1,780, which works out to 39 hours per week for 45 weeks. Government authorization is required to exceed this overtime limit.
In addition to extra pay, working overtime may also give employees a statutory right to extra time off. Extra time off in lieu of overtime pay is also a possibility. Time off in lieu of overtime pay must be added to the statutory time off entitlement."