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Merkel Is Cast as Thatcher’s Austerity Goddess

May 3, 2012 by Matthew Denhart

Caroline Baum, Bloomberg Three decades ago, U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was confronted with a nation bordering on irrelevance, a stagnant economy and a set of entrenched beliefs about the relationship between government and the people. Thatcher faced down striking coal miners and forced through a series of free-market reforms that unshackled Britain’s economy and made it vibrant once again. To the chorus of accusations that she was killing the economy, she replied: “There is no alternative.” She was right. Short-term pain — in that case, a recession and a sharp spike in unemployment — for long-term gain is generally a winning strategy. We could use a dose of Lady Thatcher today. Instead, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been cast in the Iron Lady role, charged with fending off policy prescriptions that run counter to her preferred fiscal discipline for the euro zone. In the last week alone, Harvard’s Lawrence Summers, Princeton’s Paul Krugman, Columbia’s Joseph Stiglitz and Berkeley’s Christina Romer wrote op-eds claiming that austerity isn’t working. Instead, the focus should be on growth. Read More


Author

Matthew Denhart
Matthew Denhart

Matthew Denhart is an expert on immigration policy and is the author of the Bush Institute’s America's Advantage: A Handbook of Vital Immigration and Economic Growth Statistics, now in its third edition. He currently serves as executive director of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation and is a founder of the Coolidge Scholars Program which provides full-ride merit scholarships to America's most promising college students. A summa cum laude graduate of Ohio University, Denhart has written and spoken widely on a variety of policy topics including the economics of higher education, labor, and taxes. He has contributed articles to numerous national publications including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, CNN Opinion, and Bloomberg View. 

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