France Stagnates: Time for another episode of “Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber”

The French economy is stagnating. Worse, it appears to be teetering on the brink of deflation. This is just more proof, if any was still needed, that Paul Krugman is right to say that austerity proponents such as Jens Weidmann are like medieval barbers who—when they noticed that their previously-bled patients had become worse—prescribed yet more bleeding. Worse, these idiots are driving us into a deflationary spiral that will cause even more terrible economic hardship for millions of French and probably the sort of political instability and chaos that can profit only the parties of the extreme right. Lest anyone thinks me excessively alarmist, may I remind everyone that Marine Le Pen is now leading in the polls?

Krugman has frequently observed that the many years of evidence demonstrating conclusively that austerity regimes don’t work hasn’t changed any minds in the austerity camp. I am in total agreement with his explication of why this is so: Austerity isn’t really about debt and deficits. It’s about using deficit panic as an excuse to dismantle social programs.

I consider it astonishing and shameful that the parties of the left throughout the world are doing nothing to oppose this idiocy. Except in France, of course, where the PS is actually as deeply committed as anyone in the Troika to using this murderous austerity to destroy everything for which the left has fought and bled since the end of the Second World War.