Has media coverage ever been more misleading than it is now in the wake of the elections in France and Greece? The rise of the European Left there is being depicted as a popular rejection of conservative-imposed, budget-cutting “austerity.”
“European electorates, who have helped cause the collapse or electoral defeat of a series of governments in recent months, are moving swiftly toward the more pro-growth position that Hollande and others have embraced,” reports the Washington Post in a representative news story.
François Hollande, of course, is the victorious French socialist who has pledged to increase taxes and spending, while opposing structural reforms that would liberalize the ossified French labor market.
I know of no conservative who thinks that such policies will promote economic growth. In fact, quite the opposite: tax and spending hikes — especially in the absence of market-oriented reforms — are a surefire recipe for economic stagnation and decline.
Yet, the Europeans, with few exceptions (most notably Germany), have been unwilling to cut spending, reduce marginal tax rates, and liberalize their economies. Instead, they’ve adopted a series of half-measures that combine modest spending “cuts” with significant tax hikes and a permanent bureaucratic state that perversely incentivizes people not to work.
This, in short, is the “balanced approach” to debt reduction proposed by President Obama. Such a “balanced approach” has been economically ruinous in Europe; and it will prove to be equally ruinous in America.
Yet, the media don’t get it. They equate “austerity” with reform when in fact, the exact opposite is true: Austerity results from the absence of reform.
Conversely, economic growth results from the political absence of Obama. And so, for the productive class — which is to say, most Americans — November 6 cannot come fast enough.