Economics professor Richard Wolff appeared on Democracy Now on Monday. He gave Bill O’Reilly an intellectual smack down. Bill O’Reilly in his “Talking Points Memo” said:
Bill O’Reilly: Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, now Cypress, all broke. And other European nations are close. Why? Because they are nanny states. And there are not enough workers to support all the entitlements these progressive paradises are handing out.
The economics professor’s rebuttal on Democracy Now was epic.
Economic Professor Richard Wolff: You know he gets away with saying things which no undergraduate in the United States with a responsible economic professor could ever get away with. If you want to refer to things as nanny states, then the place you go to in Europe is not the southern tier, Portugal, Spain, and Italy. The places you go are Germany and Scandinavia, because they provide more social services to their people than anybody else.
And guess what, not only are they not in trouble economically, they are the winners of the current situation. The unemployment rate in Germany is now below five percent. Ours is pushing between seven and eight percent.
So, ah, please get your facts right Mr. O’Reilly. The nanny state you call it; the program of countries like Germany and Scandinavia who tax their people heavily by all means, but who provide them with social services that would be the envy of the United States, a national health program that takes care of you whether you are employed or not and gives you proper healthcare.
In France for example the law says when you go to work you get five weeks paid vacation. That’s not an option, that’s the law. You get support when you are a new parent, childcare and so forth.
They provide services and they are successful in Germany and Scandinavia, much more than we are in the United States; and much more than those countries in the south.
So they are not broke in the south because they are nanny states, since the nanny states par excellence are doing better than everyone. The actual truth of Mr. O’Reilly is the opposite of what he says. The more you do nanny state, the better off you are during a crisis, and to minimize the cost of the crisis. That’s what the European economic situation actually teaches. He is just making it up as he goes along to conform to an ideological position that is harder and harder for folks like him to sustain so he has to reach further and further into fantasy.
Fox News can afford to have economists to give its opinion masters factual information. It is obvious they have no interest in that. O’Reilly could not possibly believe what he is saying. Not only is there evidence from Europe as was stated by Professor Wolff, but it was true here in America.
When we raised taxes to balance our budget the economy was much more robust. Other than empirical evidence is the tenet in Economics 101 known as the marginal propensity to consume. It can be paraphrased to state that giving 1000 middle class persons $100 creates a more robust economy than given a millionaire $100,000 because those 1000 middle class persons will spend most of it while the millionaire will probably save it (hoard it). Saved money that is not immediately reinvested into an economy by buying more goods is not stimulative.
The reality is to get the economy rolling the wealthy must pay a much higher percentage in taxes since it is evident they have no desire to invest in America inasmuch as it is the middle class that purchased their goods and services to make them wealthy. It is also the middle class that fight the wars and die to keep the sea lanes open for the commerce that generates their wealth.
What O’Reilly sees as a nanny state is a humane state. While many Americans, the teacher, the engineer, the lawyer, the doctor, and many others do real work, Bill O’Reilly gets millions to simple blow hot air.