POOR JOE SCAROBOROUGH. You had to almost feel sorry for the irascible infotainment host this morning.
The months and months of economic mumbo jumbo offered on “Morning Joe,” particularly by the host himself, which masquerades as financial analysis but is actually Paul Ryan austerity propaganda, blew up in his Starburck’s over the weekend. What’s the financial wingnut to do now? Tying himself in knots over voters in France, as well as Greece, turning out the austerity plans of Angela Merkel made him even crankier than usual on Monday (at least from the couple of clips I checked out online).
That Paul Krugman’s analysis continues to win out has got to be particularly galling for the guy.
What is true is that Mr. Hollande’s victory means the end of “Merkozy,” the Franco-German axis that has enforced the austerity regime of the past two years. This would be a “dangerous” development if that strategy were working, or even had a reasonable chance of working. But it isn’t and doesn’t; it’s time to move on. Europe’s voters, it turns out, are wiser than the Continent’s best and brightest.
What’s wrong with the prescription of spending cuts as the remedy for Europe’s ills? One answer is that the confidence fairy doesn’t exist — that is, claims that slashing government spending would somehow encourage consumers and businesses to spend more have been overwhelmingly refuted by the experience of the past two years. So spending cuts in a depressed economy just make the depression deeper.
Of course, Scarborough will remain in denial, which is best seen whenever his nemesis Donnie Deutsch slams Republican economics, something that drives Scarborough nuts, though I actually believe it’s more a mano-a-mano problem for the “Morning Joe” host whose ego can’t handle anyone being right but him; something that is seen daily through Scarborough exchanges and Buzzfeed recently reviewed as a “cacophony of arguing.”
The second most entertaining reaction came in a weird column today by Robert Reich, with a title that is not only contrived but obvious in its intent.
The Answer Isn’t Socialism; It’s Capitalism That Better Spreads the Benefits of the Productivity Revolution
It seems set up as an offensive rebuttal of what may come from Republicans and to help the Obama administration, because we all know invoking “socialism” for any part of American public policy is the Democratic fear of fears.
But as Lawrence O’Donnell tries to remind people every chance he gets, America has been a mix of Democratic ideals and socialism going back to at least F.D.R., though Teddy R. and others made their contributions, too. Even the Tea Party likes their entitlements, so to have a renowned economic analyst like Reich, who is really playing the role of Democratic partisan here, make the case for “Capitalism That Better Spreads the Benefits of the Productivity Revolution” is down right amusing.
What Reich and his ilk are actually trying to do is stem off criticism from Republicans to meld Pres. Obama’s economic message, though I still maintain he doesn’t have one, with that of anti-austerity president-elect François Hollande, who’s been invited to the White House amid warnings from Obama on Afghanistan and the European financial crisis.
Anyone trying to associate Obama with socialism is not only ignorant of the latter, but knows absolutely nothing about the former.
As I’ve written previously, president-elect François Hollande’s idea to lower the retirement age for some workers to 60 is daft. However, thinking Pres. Obama is a socialist is simply partisan propaganda, because there remains a high probability that in his second term, if he gets one, the grand bargain on entitlements will indeed manifest in some form through the Democratic leader, which will be backed by most members of his party.
On the other side, there can be little doubt Mitt Romney would attempt entitlement “reform” as well, which if it comes in the form of the Paul Ryan plan would be a disaster for us all, though it no doubt would make certain infotainment hosts very happy.