His lard arse sprawled comfortably atop his holier-than-thou perch, Stephen Harper is wasting no time exhorting G20 leaders to fight their economic battles on the backs of their most vulnerable. This ridiculous ponce with his well-demonstrated failed grasp of economics demands that they plunge into the abyss of austerity budgeting to halve their deficits by 2013.
Steve, you theocratic sphincter, you haven't a clue about the economic dilemma facing these countries. Then again, your Liberal predecessors and the relatively brief period you had to subvert their fiscal prudence, saved you from plunging Canada into the very same mess. Like all radical doctrinaires, you're a gasbag.
Paul Krugman, writing from Berlin, explains why everything Harper is saying is utter crap:
Suddenly, creating jobs is out, inflicting pain is in. Condemning deficits and refusing to help a still-struggling economy has become the new fashion everywhere...
...Many economists, myself included, regard this turn to austerity as a huge mistake. It raises memories of 1937, when F.D.R.’s premature attempt to balance the budget helped plunge a recovering economy back into severe recession. And here in Germany, a few scholars see parallels to the policies of Heinrich Brüning, the chancellor from 1930 to 1932, whose devotion to financial orthodoxy ended up sealing the doom of the Weimar Republic.
But despite these warnings, the deficit hawks are prevailing in most places — and nowhere more than here, where the government has pledged 80 billion euros, almost $100 billion, in tax increases and spending cuts even though the economy continues to operate far below capacity.
...In America, many self-described deficit hawks are hypocrites, pure and simple: They’re eager to slash benefits for those in need, but their concerns about red ink vanish when it comes to tax breaks for the wealthy. Thus, Senator Ben Nelson, who sanctimoniously declared that we can’t afford $77 billion in aid to the unemployed, was instrumental in passing the first Bush tax cut, which cost a cool $1.3 trillion.
German deficit hawkery seems more sincere. But it still has nothing to do with fiscal realism. Instead, it’s about moralizing and posturing. Germans tend to think of running deficits as being morally wrong, while balancing budgets is considered virtuous, never mind the circumstances or economic logic. “The last few hours were a singular show of strength,” declared Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, after a special cabinet meeting agreed on the austerity plan. And showing strength — or what is perceived as strength — is what it’s all about.
There will, of course, be a price for this posturing. Only part of that price will fall on Germany: German austerity will worsen the crisis in the euro area, making it that much harder for Spain and other troubled economies to recover. Europe’s troubles are also leading to a weak euro, which perversely helps German manufacturing, but also exports the consequences of German austerity to the rest of the world, including the United States.
We've got a billion reasons to know how important it is to Steve to host this 3-day gabfest, but his demonstrated grasp of economics isn't something he need draw attention to. He inherited a substantial budget surplus, defunded the treasury, introduced Canada's own subprime mortgage regime, left the country vulnerable to a recession steamroller he didn't see - or hear - coming, did a mini-bank bailout capped off with the most pointless Pinata stimulus/recovery budget imagineable that will ensure Canadians will in the future have all the burden but none of the benefit they deserved from that reckless spending. And this jackass is going to tell other leaders what they need to do? Breathtaking.