Yet Another New York Times Fail: Ross Douthat Department
Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?
Conspiracies, Coups and Currencies: [F]or the inhabitants of Italy and Greece, who have just watched democratically elected governments toppled by pressure from financiers, European Union bureaucrats and foreign heads of state, it evokes the cold reality of 21st-century politics. Democracy may be nice in theory, but in a time of crisis it’s the technocrats who really get to call the shots. National sovereignty is a pretty concept, but the survival of the European common currency comes first…
(1) The democratically-elected representatives of the Greek and the Italian people voted to change the prime minister. They can do that. That is part of their democratic process. They voted to change the prime minister because they wanted their countries to borrow money--and the people who they wanted to borrow money from were very unwilling to lend it to governments headed by Papandreou and Berlusconi but willing to lend it to governments headed by Papademos and Monti.
Does Ross Douthat really believe that there ought to be a law saying that lenders must lend to a country's government whenever that country wants to borrow on terms that the country's government sets? He simply has not thought any of this through.
(2) Those who are calling the shots in Europe right now are in no wise "technocrats": technocrats would raise the target inflation rate in the eurozone and buy up huge amounts of Greek and Italian (and other) debt conditional on the enactment of special euro-wide long-run Fiscal Stabilization Repayment Fund taxes. These aren't technocrats: they are ideologues--and rather blinders-wearing ideologues at that.