I think Michał Kalecki called them on this bullshit way back in his amazing 1943 essay “Political Aspects of Full Employment,” in which he examined the political reasons that governments can’t pull off the economically possible feat of maintaining full employment. This passage (bolding mine) is pretty much spot-on:
We shall deal first with the reluctance of the ‘captains of industry’ to accept government intervention in the matter of employment. Every widening of state activity is looked upon by business with suspicion, but the creation of employment by government spending has a special aspect which makes the opposition particularly intense. Under a laissez-faire system the level of employment depends to a great extent on the so-called state of confidence. If this deteriorates, private investment declines, which results in a fall of output and employment (both directly and through the secondary effect of the fall in incomes upon consumption and investment). This gives the capitalists a powerful indirect control over government policy: everything which may shake the state of confidence must be carefully avoided because it would cause an economic crisis. But once the government learns the trick of increasing employment by its own purchases, this powerful controlling device loses its effectiveness. Hence budget deficits necessary to carry out government intervention must be regarded as perilous. The social function of the doctrine of ‘sound finance’ is to make the level of employment dependent on the state of confidence.
Basically, the reason that the “so-called ‘economics experts’ closely connected with banking and industry” scream about business losing confidence is that keeping the employment rate dependent on the state of confidence maintains the capitalist class’s dominance of policy. Thus, the alarm about budget deficits whenever they’re used to decrease unemployment. If we demand austerity from the government, then we’re stuck with a system where the rest of us have to coddle the “captains of industry” lest we shake their confidence and raise the unemployment rate.
I have no idea how much Monsieur Hollande might be able or willing to do for France (personally, I was more intrigued by Mélanchon), but it’s been interesting to see guys like Andrew Sullivan fret about how stopping the obviously failing austerity policies could cause instability. Because when what you’re doing isn’t working, the only sensible option for the Very Serious People is to double down.