Poor little Ross Douthat, this analysis gig of his is so hard, especially while the fantasy world of conservatism continues crashing all around him when his primary job is to keep that fantasy alive, at great cost to the real world. Today we find little Ross taking on the crash of the Irish economy. In flailing about for an explanation of what has happened to this former poster-child of Chicago economics run wild, Douthat briefly flirts with an accurate explanation of what went wrong, but then pays proper homage to his overlords by discarding the painfully obvious truth in favor of yet another conservative talking point that is easily demonstrated to be false.
When examining Ireland’s rapid economic growth just prior to the collapse, Douthat of course rushes immediately to tout conservatives’ wet dreams about growth:
Free-market conservatives hailed Ireland’s rapid growth as an example of the miracles that free trade, tax cuts and deregulation can accomplish.
He then goes on to look at social changes as well before getting to a recitation of the actual problems Ireland now faces. This is a very revealing list:
The Celtic housing bubble was more inflated than America’s (a lot of those McMansions are half-finished and abandoned), the Celtic banking industry was more reckless in its bets, and Ireland’s debts, private and public, make our budget woes look manageable by comparison.
Gosh, do you suppose that there might be any connection between deregulation and reckless bets by banks? Or how about a connection between tax cuts and government debt? Nah, little Ross can’t be bothered by those possibilities. He’s found the real problem for Ireland:
But it’s the utopians of European integration who should learn the hardest lessons from the Irish story. The continent-wide ripples from Ireland’s banking crisis have vindicated the Euroskeptics who argued that the E.U. was expanded too hastily, and that a single currency couldn’t accommodate such a wide diversity of nations.
Yup, it’s that nasty move toward “one world government” represented by the EU that is really to blame for Ireland’s woes. Poor little Ross can’t trouble himself with considering that if this explanation were true, all of the EU would be suffering just as badly as Ireland. So where are the staggering government debts in those EU countries that didn’t slash their taxes? Where are the failing banks in the EU countries that maintained more regulation? Maybe Ross can get back to us on those points.