ABC's This Week: Europe Not Socialist Enough and Needs to Spend More, 'Centrist Moderate' Obama v 'Irrational' Tea Party

Europe isn’t socialist enough for ABC’s Christiane Amanpour, who pushed French’s finance minister about how “prominent” economists are urging Europe to abandon “austerity” since “it needs more stimulus to provide more growth,” and later during the This Week roundtable, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman ridiculed Tea Party candidates as “irrational” and “seriously strange” before he insisted that irrationality is demonstrated by their inability to recognize Barack Obama is a “centrist moderate President.”

Krugman asserted: “If we have a Republican Party that actually takes the White House, actually has control of Congress, but contains a large wing of these people, it's going to be incapable of making real choices. These are people who are as irrational as they seem in these ads.” He soon parodied the views of Tea Party enthusiasts:

There are some seriously strange people running, thanks to the Tea Party....It's not just suspicion of government. We have people out there believing that this basically centrist moderate President we have is a socialist bringing Sharia law to America. None of that is rational.

At the top of the October 10 program, Amanpour teased: “The jobless recovery. But are spending cuts in Europe holding back growth here? Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, defends austerity.

(Since taking over This Week back on August 1, Amanpour has yet to challenge a guest from the right on “stimulus” spending and been an advocate of Europe’s more socialistic model. On the August 15 show, for instance, she cued up Laura Tyson as Amanpour put forward Germany’s state capitalism as a model to emulate: “The big story out of Europe this weekend is that Germany has shown stronger than expected growth over the last quarter. Laura, you were saying something about how Germany had taught and trained its workforce to compete in these situations.” Two weeks ago, she hailed President Obama’s “amazing legislative agenda” and asserted “many will say” that Obama’s stimulus spending “stopped it [the economy] from going into a Great Depression.”)

From Amanpour’s pre-recorded interview with Christiane Lagarde, Minister for the Economy, Industry and Employment, in Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement government:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: There seems to be tension between the United States and Europe over what's the most sensible way to deal with the current lack of growth. The U.S. wants Europe to continue pushing money into the system, Europe is talking about a lot of austerity.

CHRISTINE LAGARDE: In terms of growth versus austerity, it's a policy that we've adopted in pretty much all European countries that we need to address both issues. If we do not reduce the public deficit, it's not going to be conducive to growth. Why is that? Because people worry about public deficit. If they worry about it, they begin to save. If they save too much, they don't consume. If they don't consume, unemployment goes up and production goes down, so we need to attack that circle from the deficit.

AMANPOUR: You called it a circle, and there is a circular argument about it because, in fact, many economists, particularly American economists are saying that-

LAGARDE: -some of them.

AMANPOUR: Many of the prominent ones, are saying that Europe is, in fact, going around it the wrong way, that in fact it needs more stimulus to provide more growth and then to attack deficits from a position of strength. Why won't Europe do that?

LAGARDE: Because if I look at my numbers, which is better than, you know, theories and speculations, if I look at my numbers, we've stimulated the French economy massively in the year 2009, end of 2008, 2009 and my numbers are now going up. I’ve got growth up 1.6 percent from negative 2.6. I've got unemployment down, from 9.6 down to 9.3, and I've got deficit down as well, from 8.2, where we thought it would be, down to 7.7. So numbers are good. Unemployment is going down. Why would I inject more public money into the system when private investment is picking up?

AMANPOUR: And there are tens of millions of people out of work all over the world right now. They seem to be having to pay for the excesses of the bankers, the billionaires, the speculators. How can you have fiscal discipline and make it fair?

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center