The Austerity Illusion

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State profligacy, not state austerity, has weighed down the French economy. The unemployment rate currently stands at ten percent—a mark not eclipsed since the late 1990s. The European Commission forecasts a growth rate of a half percentage point for 2012, after the economy expanded by an anemic 1.7 percent last year.

The real lesson of Sarkozy’s loss seems lost in translation. “The defeat of French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Sunday’s French elections provides a clear lesson to America,” Jesse Jackson writes in the Chicago Sun Times. “So does the fall of the conservative Dutch government, the rebuke of the British conservative government in local elections, the defeat of the establishment parties in Greece and the turmoil in Spain. Europeans are using democratic elections and demonstrations to send a message: Austerity is spreading unacceptable human misery.” New York Times columnist Paul Krugman offered the similar interpretation that Sarkozy’s defeat means “time is clearly running out for the strategy of recovery through austerity—and that’s a good thing.”

Alas, the clock never started on austerity in France. So strong is socialism’s grip that even when it fails it convinces its adherents that its opposite has failed. So recalcitrant are socialists that the disaster of socialism in France, like the disaster of socialism in the former French colonies of Tunisia and Syria, gets blamed on something else entirely. A government that pursues socialist policies deserves a socialist president. At least then the correct ideology can be faulted for the entirely predictable results of it.

In his victory speech, Francois Hollande oxymoronically proclaimed “an end to austerity” as he announced that “change is coming.” Change would mean cuts, not stopping spending cuts that haven’t even been started. The people who preach change are the most averse to changing.

Austerity is the boogeyman of Europe. It is always terrifying and everywhere talked about. But ultimately it’s not real—at least for the French government.

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  • Reno

    Just for the record, Libya has never been a French colony but an Italian colony.

  • H&R_ Barack

    .
    Q: How can you identify a French Conservative?
    A: Sunburned armpits.

  • H&R_ Barack

    "France has neither winter nor summer nor morals. Apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country. France has usually been governed by prostitutes." ~ Mark Twain

  • pagegl

    I wish people like Krugman and Jackson would give me the secret of spending my way out of debt. There are some things I would like to buy but I've been putting them off until I get my current debt level down.

  • Patrick Henry

    I've long wondered how so many people are duped by the propaganda and cannot see reality (e.g., cuts never enacted, unsustainable debt, inflation as taxation) to save their lives.
    Recently I read an article from goldsilver.com (my apology to the author whose name escapes me) who explained his theory that power may or may not corrupt everyone who attains it, but it most certainly attracts corrupt people. There are a small percentage of people called Alphas who seek power for the sake of controlling others. The vast majority of people are Betas and simply wish to know what the rules are so they can follow them. These are the "sheeple" or lemmings who follow the leader and pay the price for their complacency and inability to see the forest from the trees.

  • Patrick Henry

    There remains a very small group of people called Gammas. They are fiercely independent, principled-centered to a fault, and will exit an organization once its dominated by Alphas. Among the Alphas are a select group known as sociopaths. They come to dominate any organization whose Gammas have been forced out through office politics, endemic corruption or worse. If you ever wonder why history is sometimes referred to as a record of the folly of mankind, it may be because most people are sheeple led by sociapaths devoid of principle and remorse.

  • Amused

    Yup , and Morgan Stanley just proved another age-old axiom about "never learning your lesson " just reported a $ 2 Billion dollar loss due to " sloppy work " ?? Really …it wouldn't be those " derivatives " again .? YOU BETCHA ! credit card related derivitives ….those same strange wall street products that brought about the recession …and they're at it again …..just as I had stated and predicted on these threads ….and Morgan says it's not over …..there ,may be another Billion to go . Wall Street Casino strikes again .

    • Amused

      Correction it;s now JP Morgan Chase . Allegedly one of the "better runned " finacial institutions .

  • Amused

    man not this game again !

  • Amused

    OWS , may be comprised mainly of jerks but they certainly got THE NAME RIGHT ——WALL STREET . a.k.a. Big Money , is what is destroying America's Economy . And do not be so naive as to think it is politics ….it is GREED . Which some of you here think "is a good thing " .

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Hey quit kicking my greed around it disturbs my aquisitonal concentration for more and a little
      more and maybe just a tad more of, well everything……………..I had a dream of walking down
      a Brooklyn Street pushing side by side shopping carts and next to me was Donald Trump,
      he had a few bags in the cart and a tattered and disheveled look, and yes the tag along dog.
      If it was a premonition it was unpleasant but I was surprised to see my cart had hubcaps, each
      with shiny glaring ingravings…………………..'Amused'……………………………..William

  • http://www.americarepublicspring.com Marvin E. Fox

    So France dumped its right wing left winger, and elected its left wing left winger, the left wing left winger, Francois Hollande, says change is coming. He may have had a chance to study obamanomics,or make a rousing speech. I feel sorry for the poor French people. They are trying to cure France's past socialism with the plans of a man who is more socialistic than the socialism that got them in trouble. France's cure is probably the same as the entire Eurozone. Get European factories out of China, Pur you factories back in your own countries. Put your socialists out to pasture. Hire some capatilists to run the factories and all of your other businesses. Get real and Get a life.
    Marvin E. Fox

  • WilliamJamesWard

    AuVoir France, down the hole following the rabibit, better for a while to live in denial and the
    fantasy you are going to make everything so fine and wonderful. This should be the last stage
    of Socialis idiocy before real depression and societal failure emerges to choke the life out
    of you Charlie. I lisened to a fellow the other day blame the activity of the Sun for what
    he calls mass insanity on a global scale, neurons are banging around to and energy
    discordance that has almost everyone going (clinically) nuts. Looks like the squirrils get
    top billing. Maybe it is true becuse it is easier to believe this than that mankind has burned
    out on paralyzing irresponsibility and the criminal malfeasance of those in positions of trust.
    My fathers generation was one mostly of men and women of responsibility and honest
    character who loved and lived but lost out to tollerance which crept in slowly and as a
    vast cloud of poison reduced millions to the stupidity of Hollywood and personal devaluation.
    Will History repeat itself as the cards fall and another World War will take on the
    reordering of life, may be so……………………………..William

  • Amused

    LOL….the Donald ! Don't worry , the Don ald will never be broke ….Bankrupt a coupl of dozen gtimes ….but never broke ….he' too gooda slick B.S. artist .
    What many do not realize , is that the "swap -derivitive " chickens have not all yet come home to roost . Morgan /Chase has not learned and will no doubt add a few more , destroying the wealth of the small investor and the economy of America .
    LOL….The Spirit of Jupiter Pierpoint Morgan lives on !!

    • WilliamJamesWard

      How do we get to live on?…………………William

  • Amused

    Easy lose 2 Billion in one week , and call it a " miscalculation " ..lol…..not to worry , the suckers [ 99%] will lick their wounds [ shattered 401's] and come back with more money to " invest in America " .

  • Amused

    The great irony here being , the CEO , was one of biggest critics of Regulation , which would have prevented this . But hey , he's getting $23 mill a year and the money lost wasn't his .