Saturday, August 30, 2014

Paul Krugman on François Hollande, Deflated Lackey of German Bankers, and the "Hapless" European vs. Now-Mettlesome American Left

** This entry was posted on August 30, 2014. **


I have completed the entry containing the first batch of pictures from my Jersey shore trip to Wildwood last week. However, my plan is to post it tomorrow (Sunday). In the meantime, I will post a jukebox Saturday night entry.

However, even before I do that, I just want to post a link to a couple terrific Paul Krugman pieces -- both from his regular twice-weekly New York Times op-ed perch and his New York Times-hosted blog.

On Friday, Krugman had a piece  (linked below) skewering the hapless French President François Hollande, who is so busy doing the bidding of Germany and its European banking oligarchs and driving his country deeper and deeper into a self-defeating deflationary death spiral that is rivaling the Great Depression in duration.

Real GDP from a 2008 baseline of 100 for Germany, France, the larger euro zone, and the Netherlands.

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The occasion was Hollande, ostensibly a Socialist, firing his government after the now-former economics minister ("Minister of Industrial Renewal") Arnaud Montebourg gave an interview criticizing the German-dictated policy of deflation and austerity and during which he specifically cited Prof. Krugman as a distinguished economist who is critical of the approach.

Current account balances as percent of GDP for the U.S. and France, 1996 - 2014. The point here is that France's policies are simply self-defeating on their own terms -- the country is not competitive despite years of austerity. As for the U.S., it hasn't been competitive for a very long time (we don't make stuff anymore), although it is less so now than in a while.

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This prompted the following headline on Aug. 25, 2014 in Business Insider (link embedded): The French Government Has Collapsed, And It's Partly Paul Krugman's Fault.


Krugman had fun with that on his blog and then proceeded to explain in a subsequent blog entry on how bad the economic situation in France really is because of the needless austerity fetish that is causing so much pain and suffering -- for no justifiable reason.

Krugman then devoted his regular Friday column to the topic and (as noted above) skewering French President Hollande (link embedded): The Fall of France.

But it was in a subsequent blog entry where he pondered the question of why the European left has been so hapless, clueless, and simply unwilling to fight back against all these moralistic but utterly wrong-headed demands for austerity from frickin' Germany and its bankers.

He contrasts it to the American Left, which has shown real tenacity in fighting back. The entry (link embedded) was: Austerity and the Hapless Left.

He then ponders the question of why the mainstream American Left (which would really be center / center-right in most other countries) has shown so much more mettle in recent years and provides a few hypotheses. My favorite is his second hypothesis, and I am quoting Krugman in full:

"Another hypothesis is that American liberals have been toughened up by the craziness of our right, and in particular by the experience of the Bush years. After seeing the Very Serious People lionize W, a fundamentally ludicrous figure, and cheer on a war that was obviously cooked up on false pretenses, US liberals are more ready than European Social Democrats to believe that the men in good suits have no idea what they're talking about. Oh, and America does have a network of progressive think tanks that is vastly bigger and more effective than anything in Europe."

The "Very Serious People" to which he refers is, of course, the whole Washington Consensus / Beltway pundit crowd centered on The Washington Post editorial and op-ed "stable" of pundits, rightwing propagandists, and corporate gigolo apologists who proved what they were about during the Bush era from the 2000 Election Theft through the Iraq War lies / debacle and to the present.

I personally would like to single out two members of Fred Hiatt's stable, the great Benji "Yap! Yap! Yap! Yay! Drones!" Wittes and Sebastian "Free Trade for Detroit, Love, China" Mallaby.

So I intend to post a jukebox Saturday night entry shortly. As for today, my gym (the Anthony Bowen YMCA) closed at 4PM as part of the Labor Day weekend and the National Capital YMCA is closed for its annual late August shutdown. As a result, no gym for me today. Indeed, I am not going to be able to go until Tuesday. However, my intention is to take a bike ride on both Sunday and Monday.

--Regulus

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