An amazing thing happened on the set of ABC's "This Week" Sunday: a liberal tried to extol the benefits of President Obama's unrestrained federal spending only to get completely smacked down by the entire panel.
Host Christiane Amanpour began the Roundtable segment of the program by showing some of last week's horrendous economic numbers, and opened the debate about what can be done to improve the current condition.
When Democrat strategist Donna Brazile got her turn at the plate, she uttered the same nonsense Americans have been hearing from her ilk for approaching two years:
Congress is divided. They are afraid to put more money back into the system, although most Americans should know by now that the stimulus did create or save 2 million to 4 million jobs, averted the Great Depression 2.0, but Congress doesn't have the appetite to put more money into the system.
The other panelists - George Will, President of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass, "Nightly Business Report" host Susie Gharib, and even Amanpour - weren't buying it (video follows with transcript and commentary):
RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: It's exactly right. The Fed has essentially played its hand. Interest rates are as low as essentially they can go. So we can't look to the Fed to get us out of this.
I also don't think, by the way, we can look to stimulus to get us out of this. We've had one. It didn't have the effect people wanted. Plus, at a time of budget deficits, I don't think we're ever going to get a stimulus that's going to be large and focused enough that's going to make a difference.
Instead, we actually have to return to first principles. Why can't we have a gradual reduction in our budget deficit? Why can't we have a more predictable economy about regulation, about taxation? Why can't trade reform and open trade come back on the agenda?
We actually need some policies of growth. Business is sitting on an enormous hoard of money. Businesses are not spending. We need to create an economic and political environment where American business will spend and start to hire again.
DONNA BRAZILE: Yet Congress is divided. They are afraid to put more money back into the system, although most Americans should know by now that the stimulus did create or save 2 million to 4 million jobs, averted the Great Depression 2.0, but Congress doesn't have the appetite to put more money into the system, so the Fed may have to step in.
There may be more tools in their arsenal that they can use to try to stimulate this economy, but 45 percent of those who've been unemployed, they've been unemployed for six months or longer. They desperately need the skills and the tools to get back into the workplace.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST: Which goes back to our education debate, which we had at the beginning of this program.
SUSIE GHARIB, ANCHOR OF "NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT" ON PBS: And I think Richard makes a very good point, because right now the debate is, you have to go beyond the conventional cures of Fed policy and also these piecemeal stimulus measures. And this week in the Washington Post, Mohamed El-Erian, a noted economist, wrote a piece saying, you know, we've got to start thinking out of the box. Maybe structural changes that have to be made, more pro-growth tax reform, back to your education case, more support for education, job retraining, things like that.
So I think the debate is moving more in that direction. What are the structural measures that we have to take?
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you, Donna and George -- I'm going to put up this quote from Mark Zandi, the economist, which was in the Washington Post, basically talking about the government -- talking about the administration. They've played their policy hand, and they've got to hope it's good enough. There's nothing they can do to make a significant difference in the next six months or even a year.
GEORGE WILL: Well, it's very difficult to go to the country, as I think my friend Donna would have them do, and say the government today is dangerously frugal, because, in fact, the government's borrowing 42 cents of every dollar it's spending this year. There's no appetite in the country or in the Congress.
And, indeed, the Democrats had been planning to have an election eve Armageddon debate about extension of the Bush tax cuts, saying that this -- sort of a class war, your argument, saying that this is tax cuts for the rich. Now the Democratic position increasingly is the Bush tax cuts were reckless, the Bush tax cuts were inequitable, and the Bush tax cuts should be extended.
AMANPOUR: What do you say, Donna?
BRAZILE: The Bush tax cuts are unaffordable. We cannot simply afford another $700 billion in debt that -- and there's no evidence that the Bush tax cuts will create jobs.
AMANPOUR: But there are some who are saying that perhaps that might happen...
BRAZILE: Well, I don't...
AMANPOUR: ... that the Democrats are under some pressure to maybe -- maybe keep them on.
BRAZILE: I think they're under pressure to keep and extend those tax cuts that will benefit Americans who earn $250,000 or less, but there's no evidence that giving rich people more money will help create the economic conditions that will put more people back to work.
AMANPOUR: Let's -- go ahead, Richard, and then we're going to move on to the (inaudible) which is tightly connected.
HAASS: Exactly. But we also need to think about not simply the tax cuts in isolation. They've got to be married to, among other things, spending cuts. Look at what Germany is doing. They are growing now, in part because they are carrying out economic policies of some responsibility and some restraint.
The international markets will not fund this level of American profligacy forever. As bad as things are now -- I hate to say it -- they could get a lot worse. We simply will not be able to sustain this trajectory.
Indeed. As NewsBusters reported Friday, even New York Times columnist David Brooks understands that Germany's fiscally responsible approach to the financial crisis has worked out much better than Obama's spending binge.
Alas, folks like Brazile, Paul Krugman, and Robert Reich are clinging to failed Depression Era policies that have never shown success whenever and wherever they've been tried.
The good news is that at least on this Sunday morning, viewers got to see such a proponent get smacked down by everyone else on the set.
Wasn't it glorious?