By Kevin Mooney
Ireland's "Celtic Tiger" economy, the envy of Europe throughout the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st Century, has slowed dramatically and The New York Times recommends stimulus spending to grease the engines. The Irish Prime Minister is quoted offering a sober, straightforward assessment of the economic climate that sharply contrasts with Keynesian thinking that maintains favor in the liberal media.
"The facts are that there is no easy way to cut deficits," Prime Minister Brian Cowen is quoted as saying. "Those who claim there's an easier way or a soft operation – that's not the real world." But where the prime minister sees a need for budget cutting, The Times sees an opportunity for greater government intervention and higher levels of spending. The other European nations to their great credit are lining up behind Ireland and in opposition against so-called "stimulus" strategies.
"Other European nations, including Britain and Germany are following Ireland's lead, arguing that the only way to restore growth is to convince investors and their own people that government borrowing will shrink," the report says. "The Group of 20 leaders set that in writing this weekend, vowing to make deficit reduction the top priority despite warnings from President Obama that too much austerity could choke a global recovery and warnings from a few economists about the possibility of much sharper 1930s style downturn."
The European rebuke of Obama is of particular importance. While U.S. Administration falls back on Keynesian polices with a checkered historical past, the European Union appears more inclined to revive its private sector. The Times makes every effort to discourage any movements away from further government intervention.
The headline that runs on the jump page is particularly instructive.
"As Europe Looks to Cut Deficits, Ireland Shows the Cost of Austerity."
Not too subtle.
Europe should eschew government budget cuts so as avoid the economic pain that follows from belt tightening – that's the central message in this front page piece. Here The Times joins forces with the Obama Administration to cajole and pressure Europe into Keynesian practices that are a proven failure.
As Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG) has observed, Obama has positioned himself on the outside of rationale thought and mainstream economic thinking.
"Unfortunately, Obama is apparently the only leader on Earth who doesn't think there is an overspending problem with government," Wilson said. "Despite a $13 trillion national debt at home, he urged world leaders to ratchet up the deficit-spending — only to find that the world has gone chilly on the idea of "stimulus" in the wake of the debt crisis."
Instead of offering readers tangible facts to substantiate its stance in favor of big government, The Times falls back on anecdotes.
"In the impoverished Ballymun neighborhood, developers began razing slums to make way for new low-income housing," the report says. "Halfway through the project, the financing dried up, leaving some residents to languish in graffiti-covered concrete skeletons. `Welcome to Hell,' read one of the tamest messages."
To be sure, Ireland has cycled back into tough economic times that are not unfamiliar in its long history. But it is well positioned to lead Europe away from Obama and back in the direction of restrained government. Fortunately, Ireland has a receptive audience as ALG's Wilson has noted.
"While the rest of the world is taking on the grave and growing problem of unsustainable sovereign debt, Obama calls for more spending," he said. "He has asked Congress for another $47 billion to balance state budgets this year, including $23 billion to bail out unsustainable public school spending."
Deficit spending is going out of style much to the chagrin of the liberal news media.