Adios Austerity! E.U. Admits Right Wing Policy Of Punishing The Poor Has Failed (VIDEO)

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/06/05/austerity-anchors/

To the surprise of exactly no one to the Left of Grover Norquist, austerity as a sole remedy to recession has utterly failed. It’s not exactly an untested theory. We tried it here almost a century ago and it dropped us right into the Great Depression. That didn’t stop various countries in the European Union from trying it anyway. Two years later and the E.U. is still languishing behind even the United States’ anemic recovery.

The New York Times reports:

Output in both the euro zone and the European Union is still around 2 percent lower than before the crisis.


The Spanish and British economies are still almost 4 percent short of their pre-crisis peaks, the Italian one nearly 5 percent, and the Greek and Irish economies 10 percent to 15 percent, Mr. Tilford added.

Contrary to Republican talking points, President Obama has pulled us out of a massive recession over the last three years by initiating a wage freeze on federal workers and cuts in government spending in some areas (austerity) and boosting the economy with targeted spending in others and tax cuts (stimulus). Strangely, it seems to be working. Albeit slowly.

Standards & Poors, hardly a liberal organization, had this to say about austerity:

“We believe that a reform process based on a pillar of fiscal austerity alone risks becoming self-defeating, as domestic demand falls in line with consumers’ rising concerns about job security and disposable incomes, eroding national tax revenues”

The rallying cry from the right since the 2008 election ended in a crushing rejection of conservative fiscal policy is that we need to cut spending. But only on unnecessary things like the social safety net of unemployment insurance, Medicaid, food stamps and the like. The military’s bloated budget, however is completely off limits for Republicans and so are eliminating the Bush Tax Cuts, both of which make up a majority of the budget short fall.

This shouldn’t be surprising since that was the entire point of the push for American austerity. By slashing the safety net to ribbons, Republicans can accomplish the dual purposes of weakening, perhaps fatally so, the programs they’ve despised since they were first enacted and weakening the economy further to accomplish Mitch McConnell’s stated goal of making Obama a one-term president. The fact that austerity would devastate the Middle Class and the poor were irrelevant. The Right feels entitled to the unlimited power they enjoyed during the Bush administration and any tactic is permissible to regain it.

Martin Bashir took a few minutes to dismantle this Right Wing hoax:

The fact is, cutting government spending is not a terrible idea in, and of, itself when necessary. But cutting social services has been proven to be detrimental to a sluggish economy. Cuts should be done with a scalpel, not a hatchet. There are plenty of places to cut the kind of spending that does little to help the economy, like less money towards private contractors. They cost more for fewer results. Again, the Pentagon’s budget is almost half of our spending. We were the only Super Power in the world before we doubled our military spending. It’s safe to say we’ll still be the only one after we cut it back down to size.

Further, the rock solid resistance on the right to raising taxes on the rich by a whole whopping four percent reveals their unseriousness with fixing the economy and reducing the deficit. They have been hiding behind the rhetoric of austerity and “shared sacrifice” knowing full well that the only sacrifice would be on the part of the 99%. Fortunately, the Occupy Movement began eroding the false narrative last year and now, the failure of austerity as a cure-all in Europe has put the final nails in the coffin of yet another conservative economic “policy.”

Now, maybe we can have a sober, serious economic conversation without the hysteria and hyperbole.

 

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