Het Europese bezuinigingsbeleid is contraproductief

NEW YORK – “Als de feiten niet met de theorie in overeenstemming zijn, moet je de theorie wijzigen,” zo luidt het aloude adagium. Maar het is vaak makkelijker de theorie overeind te houden en de feiten te veranderen – zo lijken althans de Duitse bondskanselier Angela Merkel en andere Europese leiders die vóór bezuinigingen zijn te geloven. Hoewel de feiten hen in het gezicht staren, blijven ze de werkelijkheid ontkennen.

Het bezuinigingsbeleid heeft gefaald. Maar de pleitbezorgers ervan zijn bereid de overwinning op te eisen op grond van het zwakst mogelijke bewijsmateriaal: de economie stort niet langer in, dus het bezuinigingsbeleid móet wel werken! Maar als dat de maatstaf is, kun je ook zeggen dat van een klif springen de beste manier is om van een berg omlaag te komen; de neergang is immers een halt toe geroepen.

Maar aan iedere inzinking komt ooit een eind. Het succes moet niet worden afgemeten aan het feit dat het herstel uiteindelijk inzet, maar aan de snelheid waarmee dat gebeurt en aan de omvang van de schade die door de inzinking is veroorzaakt.

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