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Archives by Tag 'austerity'
The Move to Gut French Pensions
TOM GILL
A showdown between the French Government and unions is looming over  reforms to the country’s ‘generous’ pension system. Strikes and protests are scheduled for September 10 in response to plans by the Socialist administration of President Franco...
Wrecking the Welfare State in Secret
DAVID CRONIN
A golden staircase greets guests to De Warande, an exclusive club in central Brussels.  Built in the late eighteenth century, this mansion was acquired in 1907 by François Empain, a banker who helped his royal chum Leopold II loot the Congo.  With its historical associ...
The Corporate State and Manufactured Dependence
ROB URIE
An argument often heard in the 1980s and ‘90s by those favoring lower taxes on the rich was the rich could avoid paying taxes because they had the resources to do so, so why not be pragmatic and set tax rates low enough the rich would actually pay them? The people makin...
Death By Zip Code
LAURA S. FLANDERS
It stands to reason that people suffer stress when money’s short, but do economically hard times in and of themselves kill people? Sanjay Basu, co-author of “...
Krugman’s Austerity Blinders
JOSHUA SPERBER
The liberal case against austerity has recently gained momentum with the exposure of Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff’s calculation errors in their influential pro-austerity paper, “Growth in a Time of Debt.” Amon...
Dr. Kyenge’s Crusade
FREDERICK B. HUDSON
In 1933, the writer Arna Bontemps, a fellow member with Langston Hughes of a collection of writers, artists, and musicians that history has dubbed “the Harlem Renaissance,” in recognition of the creative contributions they offered to the world, penned a moving...
Austerity Advocates on the Run
DEAN BAKER
By now almost everyone knows of the famous Excel spreadsheet err...
Financial Institutions Admit Austerity Failed
KEN KLIPPENSTEIN
The first part of 2013 has been something of a confessional period for the economic managerial class. The IMF’s chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, ...
Obama’s Absurd Sequester Scheme
DEAN BAKER
The big talk in Washington this month is the sequester cuts. These cuts are roughly 8 percent of most areas of discretionary spending, both military and domestic. While the cuts became effective at the start of March, many will first begin to pinch this month since govern...
Back to Recession
MIKE WHITNEY
The media is calling it a “Spring swoon”,  but it’s really just the next phase of the long slump. After a strong showing in the first quarter (Q1), the economy is starting to lose steam for the forth year in a row. The main cause for the slow...
Obama Does Social Security and Medicare
ROB URIE
With Barack Obama putting his plan to cut Social Security and Medicare expenditures into writing in his Federal budget proposal the ability of those who voted for him to credibly deny his years of publicly stating he would do so disappeared. The pathetic pleas from libera...
The Queen Mother of Global Austerity and Financialization
MICHAEL HUDSON and JEFFREY SOMMERS
We typically honor the convention to refrain from speaking ill of the recently departed. But Margaret Thatcher probably would not object to an epitaph focusing on how her political legacy was to achieve her professed aim of “irreversibly” dismantling Britain’s publi...
Wall Street’s Role in the Crisis in Cyprus
ROB URIE
Recent events in Cyprus, the seizure of bank deposits to affect bailouts of large private banks and the implementation of capital controls to limit the rate at which remaining bank deposits can be moved out of the country, suggest the global banking crisis widely presente...
Fear and Uncertainty in Cyprus
NIGEL O'CONNOR
Nicosia. The municipal theatre of Nicosia sits directly behind the Cypriot parliament. Its prominence within the capital suggests the importance of such civic buildings to a population seeing itself as the inheritors to the grand heritage of Greek traditio...
The Insanity of Austerity
TOM McNAMARA
Nightmare and insanity are akin. Mysterious and involuntary states that skew and distort objective reality One wakens from nightmare. From insanity there is no awakening. “Let Your Life Be a Friction to Stop the Machin...
The Arithmetic of Desperation in Detroit
CHRIS LEWIS
Lansing has it out for Detroiters. That’s William Scott’s estimation, at least. “The politicians in state government, in my opinion, care more about the suburbs than here in Detroit,” the retired auto worker told me a few years ago, sitting in a lawn chair perched...
Ryan’s Austerity Budget
ANDREW FIELDHOUSE
This week House Budget Committee Paul Ryan (R-Wis) released his Fiscal Year 2014 House Budget Resolution, ...
Democrats: Masters of Self-Delusion
MICHAEL BRENNER
Democrats are masters of illusion – especially self-delusion. Their abject performance over the past few decades has shorn them of identity and conviction. They have lost on every front against a Republican opponent that has abandoned the mainstream for cloud cuckoo lan...
Where is America’s Hugo Chavez?
ROB URIE
Two events coincided this week that illustrate the crisis of political economy in the capitalist West—the premature and intensely sad death of Hugo Chavez and the trite idiocy symbolizing the class warfare declared by the rich against the rest of us as the Dow Jones sto...
The Grand Bargainer
ANDREW LEVINE
In democracies, the demos rules.  According to the original meaning of the term, that means the popular masses, as distinct from social or economic elites.  More usually nowadays, the term has no class content; “demos” denotes an undifferentiated citizenry....
The Dawn of Austerity in America
JASON HIRTHLER
Since the rosy fingered dawn of austerity in America, the liberal media have consistently proclaimed that the Republicans are a deluded gang of filibustering rejectionists. By contrast, they make the rather more strident claim that, for all their faults, Democrats at leas...
Austerity Versus a People’s Budget
MARK VORPAHL
It’s no secret that most cities, counties, states and school districts in the U.S. are facing big deficits. What is less understood is the extent to which austerity cuts have become politicians’ bi-partisan response to the situation. The dramatic measures bein...
The Effects of the ‘Fat Cat’ Vote
BINOY KAMPMARK
The soup is seldom eaten as hot as it is served. Swiss expression, quoted by Philip Mosimann, CEO of Bucher Industries AG, Mar 5, 2013 They surprise and stun wi...
Austerity USA
SHAMUS COOKE
U.S. politicians have cried wolf over austerity long enough for the public to ignore them. A perfect time, then, for politicians to actually unleash the wolves. Barring an unlikely last minute deal, here’s a short list of some of the massive, national bi-partisan-cr...
Still Clueless About the Economy
DEAN BAKER
The latest fad in Washington economic policy debates is arguing over the level at which the government should stabilize the debt-to-GDP ratio. The doves are okay with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 73 percent or even 76 percent. The hawks want 60 percent or even less. This is the...
The Age of Austerity
SHAMUS COOKE
The Great Recession has quietly devastated public services on a state-by-state basis, with Republican and Democratic governors taking turns leading the charge. Public education has been decimated, as well as health care, welfare, and the wages and benefits of public secto...
Obama and Europe’s Meltdown
CONN HALLINAN
Back in the 1960s, the U.S. peace movement came up with a catchy phrase: “What if the schools got all the money they needed and the Navy had to hold a bake sale to buy an aircraft carrier?”  Well, the Italian Navy has a line of clothing, and is taking a cut from a so...
The New Specter Haunting Europe
HA-JOON CHANG
“A spectre is haunting Europe.” Thus began the famous opening passages of The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Today, once again, Europe is haunted by a spectre. But, unlike back in 1848 when Marx and Engels wrote those passages,...
The Importance of Revenue
ANDREW FIELDHOUSE
Via Ezra Klein comes a ...
French Austerity and the New Les Misérables
TOM GILL
French employers have called for ...
The Real Obama Emerges (Again)
JILL STEIN
If you’re having political déjà vu as Obama’s second term in the White House gets underway, you’re not alone. The supposedly populist candidate — who won re-election promising to tax the rich, protect Social Security, and make the econom...
In Praise of Deficits
MARSHALL AUERBACK
From the Guardian: ‘[Senator Jeff] Sessions appea...
The Errors of Austerity
BINOY KAMPMARK
They were created and feted to make witchdoctors respectable.  The harm and extent that economists can produce, while still not quite in the vicinity of those of doctors, can be extensive.  Errors are tolerated, fictions propagated.  Dangerous doctrines become impenetr...
Saving Social Security
JP SOTTILE
Few things in American life are as reliable as the perpetual “crisis” facing Social Security. Although it has been artfully re-branded as “the problem of entitlements”—a change that couples it with spiraling Medicare costs and implies that the “entitled...
When Wall Street Pulls the Strings
DAVE LINDORFF
The all-out assault on Social Security has begun. The set-up for the big battle was the Fiscal Cliff charade. That hyped drama in the last days of December was a moment of truth for the Democratic Party and for President Barack Obama to make it clear whether they w...
Japan and the Fiscal Cliff
DEAN BAKER
An event that has received far too little attention in the United States was the election of a new prime minister in Japan. Last month the people of Japan voted overwhelmingly to throw out the governing party and to support the return of the Liberal Democrats headed by Sh...
Deficit, Debt and Decline
MICHAEL BRENNER
Washington’s foreign policy establishment is wringing its hands over the deficit. They voice fears that America’s dominant position in the world will be jeopardized by tight budgets and lingering austerity that lowers its influence on all manner of global economic mat...
Latvia’s Economic Disaster as a Neoliberal Success Story
JEFFREY SOMMERS and MICHAEL HUDSON
A generation ago the Chicago Boys and their financial supporters applauded General Pinochet’s anti-labor Chile as a success story, thanks mainly to its transformation of their Social Security into Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) that almost universally were...
Why the Fiscal Squeeze Imposes Needless Austerity
MICHAEL HUDSON
The financial sector promises that privatizing roads and ports, water and sewer systems, bus and railroad lines (on credit, of course) is more efficient and will lower the prices charged for their services. The reality is that the new buyers put up rent-extracting toll...
Fiscal Cliff Averted, Now the Attack on People Begins
KEVIN ZEESE
Last night, Congress passed a watered down fiscal cliff package that will raise taxes on everyone, but the worst is yet to come, and this “deficit cutting” measure contains some surprises. Economist Jack Rasmus highlights Obama’s comments after passage which ...
America’s Deceptive 2012 Fiscal Cliff
MICHAEL HUDSON
When World War I broke out in August 1914, economists on both sides forecast that hostilities could not last more than about six months. Wars had grown so expensive that governments quickly would run out of money. It seemed that if...
Free Trade in Medicare
DEAN BAKER
Washington policy debates are chock full of rich people telling poor and middle-class people that they will have to tighten their belts. In fact, in the crazy upside down world of Washington this passes for “courage.” Cutting back Medicare is one of the favorit...
Ireland Under Austerity
CAOIMHGHIN Ó CROIDHEÁIN
Dublin. Targeting young families, the elderly and the sick, as the government slashes child benefits, triples prescription charges and rubber-stamps controversial property tax. Another political party is selflessly sacrificing itself to the ‘preyi...
The Plutocrats and the Placeholder President
ROB URIE
In Quentin Tarantino’s movie ‘Jackie Brown’ the illegal arms dealer played by Samuel L. Jackson laughs as he recounts the sales slogan used by the manufacturer of the ‘Tech Nine’ semi-automatic weapon—“the most popular gun in American crime, like they p...
A Roadmap to the New Economy
ROBIN BROAD and JOHN CAVANAGH
Most progressives have long embraced a clear alternative to the conservative story that prosperity flows best from a “free market” unfettered by government regulation and taxes. The standard progressive response: government incentives and spending are essenti...
Austerity — the Battle Cry of the 1%
MARK VORPAHL
Whether we are left with the Fiscal Cliff or a Grand Bargain, workers in the U.S. face massive cuts to programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment insurance, Food Stamp assistance and other needed social safety nets. This is an example of “aus...
The Fate of Keynesian Faith in Joseph’s Countercyclical Moral
DOUGLAS GROTE
Into the fifth year of the Great Recession our nation’s scarcity of jobs continues to condemn tens of millions of us to suffer a hard life of involuntary unemployment, underemployment, and insufficient wages. One would hope that any future political agreements made to m...
Fear of the Cliff
DEAN BAKER
Washington elites have spent much of the last three decades getting hysterical about budget deficits; however they are outdoing themselves in the current budget standoff which they labeled as “the fiscal cliff.” Their story is that scheduled increases in taxes at the ...
The Grand Bargain Meets the Bank Bailouts
ROB URIE
Two storylines long in the making are converging in a manner that would be hilarious were they not so radically egregious. In the first, President re-elect Barack Obama is joining his supporters in urging that they, his supporters, ‘make’ him do right by their expecta...
Saving the Planet or Fixing the “Debt”?
DEAN BAKER
Imagine Japan attacked at Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 and our political leaders responded by debating the best way to deal with the deficits projected for 1960. This is pretty much the way that Washington works these days. The political leadership, including t...