Monday, May 7, 2012

Eugene Robinson: GOP Wants U.S. To Adopt Europe's Failed Austerity

Election results in France, Germany, Greece and England reflect European voters' awareness of the failure of economic austerity. The idea that severe cutbacks will revive a struggling economy and boost jobs and consumer demand makes no sense. Here in the U.S., President Obama's stimulus, though too small, was a success. On the other hand, Conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron's austerity has led England into double-dip recession. The Republicans, including supposed fiscal whiz Paul Ryan (whose fraudulent and cruel budget is supported by Mitt Romney), will learn nothing from Europe. Indeed, as Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson (left) points out, the Republicans want America to adopt the failed austerity policies being rejected in Europe. Excerpts from "Austerity as a bridge to nowhere":

Voters in France, Greece and even Germany — a hotbed of the austerity cult — told their political leaders, in no uncertain terms, that boosting economic growth is more important than cutting government spending. Here in the United States, I hope that Democrats, at least, were paying attention; I fear that the addled ideologues who control the Republican Party will never get the message.

...putting a chokehold on government spending at a time when economies are just sputtering back to life — as the austerity fetishists have tried to do in Europe, and as Republicans solemnly pledge to do in the United States — is monumentally self-defeating. Governments end up magnifying the constituent parts of the economic crisis, not minimizing them.

...That loud chorus of “Duh!” you just heard came from the many leading economists who have been screaming at political leaders for years now that we’ll never cut our way out of this economic slump and instead must grow our way out. It is obvious that deficits, debt loads and entitlement spending have to be brought under control — but equally obvious that the necessary adjustments should be made when the economy is going great guns, not when it’s gasping for air.

It should be noted that there are some economists who disagree. They argue that draconian cuts in government spending will somehow awaken the animal spirits of private-sector executives, entrepreneurs and financiers. They further argue that austerity is needed to combat the scourge of inflation, although the best term to describe inflation in today’s economy is “imaginary.”

Mitt Romney and the GOP subscribe to the pro-austerity view. They are, of course, entitled to their opinion, even if it happens to be wrong. I sincerely wish them all the electoral success their ideological allies are having across the Atlantic.

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