Austerity 101

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Why, you, along with others might ask, is The Pink Flamingo refusing to vote for Mitt Romney and quite disgusted with the GOP in general this election cycle?

To people like Mitt Romney and his now slobbering Randian devotes, austerity would mean a drastic cut of cops, fire-fighters, teachers, the USDA, and the forest service.  In other words, if people like Mitt Romney,  Rand Paul, Paul Ryan and lots of other allegedly well meaning conservatives I would not have a home.  Neither would my parents.  Nor would my best friend, or another friend.  In fact, most of Lincoln County, New Mexico would be a charred ruin, with upward of 20,000 people left homeless.

The Right is in love with “Austerity”.  It is the solution to all our economic woes, we are told.  If you don’t think so, just look at Estonia, that great metropolitan state with about 1.5 million people.  Austerity is “working”, even if the country is basically in a depression because of it.  That’s okay, though.  The idea is to punish those who are taking taking and taking, right?

Post Gazette

In doing so, they have made themselves look like the fools that they are.  In fact, Mitt Romney has a very checkered history of not dealing with firefighters.  When he was governor, he was the firefighter’s worst enemy.

“...While they insist they’re the party of “first responders,” “law and order” and so forth, Republican leadership really doesn’t like the idea of police and firefighters working for state and local government — in other words, they don’t like law enforcement and the like working directly for We The People. As we’ve seen in privatized neocon utopias like Iraq, they’d prefer that these services be run by corporate profiteers. Republicans prefer that every government service be handed over to private industry. Let the marketplace handle the services, allowing unaccountable corporations to charge a fee to either the government or to the people on, say, a pay-per-arrest or pay-per-fire basis. What could possibly go wrong? Can’t afford to have your burning house extinguished? Sorry. Get a job, freeloader.

As for education, conservatives are well on their way to privatizing it. School vouchers and charter schools are actively — right now — sucking money out of public education and pumping it into private services, leaving public education in a deeper hole, and momentum remains in favor of more charter schools and less funding for everyone else.

For-profit education, security and rescue are growing larger in the window. The danger, of course, in this agenda is that private corporations are solely in business for the sake of profit. If it makes financial sense to, for example, ban disabled or slower children from school because they pull down test scores and drive away higher income students, then so be it. If it makes sense to only rescue homes owned by people who can afford the fee, then so be it. Profit is the only result worth measuring in the corporate world. Fact. We’ve already witnessed what happened when network programming and the profit-motive transformed broadcast news, much to the chagrin of Americans across the political spectrum….”

The Right loves what is going on in Greece.  They point to the fact that “Austerity” is a way for Greece to work its way out of its debt problem.  The people of Greece did it to themselves with their socialism, ergo, they must be punished into submission before the Altar of Merkel and her puppets.  You see, the ultra wealthy in Greece are shielded from paying taxes.  If they were to pay what everyone else does, Greece would not be in the mess it is in today.

There is a lesson here for the US, but I’m afraid we’re not in a mood to hear it.

“...But like her unemployed friend and dinner companion, Georgia Goudi, she says she has no hope. ‘They want us to vote? For who? The rich will get richer and the poor poorer. It can only get worse.’

We are unlikely to see this nation implode in the immediate aftermath of tomorrow’s vote.  The most probable outcome is more procrastination and horse-trading — just like the dithering that followed the last, entirely inconclusive election in May, since when Greece has been without  a government.

But deep down, everyone knows that the status quo cannot go on much longer.  Greece is on borrowed time. Ultimately, Greeks face a choice between swallowing the austerity package imposed by the EU’s German paymasters — punitive taxation and a purge of the public sector — or they can be relegated from the euro and return to a much-devalued drachma.

The second option would see the country’s existing wealth cut by half.

And while it might enable Greece to rebuild itself over time, the first months of that journey would be perilous as a bankrupt nation found itself unable to buy essentials such as medicines, not to mention food.

It is a nightmare scenario that some have called ‘Drachmageddon’. And it is one we in Britain will feel acutely as billions are wiped off the value of our shareholdings and pension funds as the markets tumble amid fears that Spain and Italy might be next….”

NY Times

Let’s get this right and put the blame where it belongs – Alan Greenspan – and his outlandish and slobbering devotion to Ayn Rand.

“...A dangerous and telling precedent comes from the United States where it’s widely believed that Alan Greenspan communicated to the Clinton administration that an agenda of deficit reduction would be rewarded with loose monetary policy while a non-approved agenda would be punished with tight money. This worked out well enough in the end because Clinton committed himself to Greenspanism, congressional Democrats more or less went along, and then Greenspan delivered the goods. As a result, Greenspan got to become the “maestro” and we enjoyed solid growth years. But imagine congress had balked, the deficit reduction package had failed, and then Greenspan tried to punish Congress with tight money. How would that have helped? And yet for the central banker’s veto over policy to be effective, the central bank must retain the discretion to impose inappropriate monetary conditions if it’s displeased. And the ECB is displeased with the behavior of Europe’s wayward southern states. If everyone would agree to act like Ireland and Estonia, then the ECB might agree to implement appropriate monetary policy and growth would be higher. But they haven’t agreed, so the ECB wants to compound everyone’s problems with tight money inflicting needless suffering on everyone involved—including the poor Estonians!…”

If the Randians in the GOP have their way, the US is going to be faced with the same problems Greece is having.  It is NOT the socialism that is killing average people in Greece, it is the enforced Randian austerity. But – no one will face reality in this country.  If we do, then we must admit that today’s version of conservative monetary policy is a total and complete fraud and absolute disaster.

You see, Greece is about bloated pensions and people retiring early, BUT – it is also about not requiring the wealthy to pay their “fair share” in taxes.  Billionaires in Greece enjoy a tax free status.

Daily Mail

Paul Krugman points out the following:

“…In the remarks Mr. Romney later tried to deny, he derided President Obama: “He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers.” Then he declared, “It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”

You can see why I was ready to give points for honesty. For once, he actually admitted what he and his allies mean when they talk about shrinking government. Conservatives love to pretend that there are vast armies of government bureaucrats doing who knows what; in reality, a majority of government workers are employed providing either education (teachers) or public protection (police officers and firefighters).

So would getting rid of teachers, police officers, and firefighters help the American people? Well, some Republicans would prefer to see Americans get less education; remember Rick Santorum’s description of colleges as “indoctrination mills”? Still, neither less education nor worse protection are issues the G.O.P. wants to run on….”

Germany has literally forced an economic depression on Greece, Ireland, and now Spain.  There are those who celebrate austerity – that it works.  The bitter irony here is that the very same conservative punditry who decried Obamacare, demanding that we not revisit failed history, are demanding just that with austerity.  They refuse to even consider the fact that this sort of austerity creates depressions.  The US was starting to recover from the great recession.  Now though, with Merkel’s own economic Blitzkrieg against reasonable economic actions, we’re going to be in serious trouble.

The Pink Flamingo doesn’t really get any of this.  If I were a believer on conspiracy theories, I would think that Merkel was doing a modern version of Germany’s periodic wars against anyone around them. I might also wonder why is the GOP, conservative pundits, and Mitt Romney are so interested in pursuing an economic theory that leads only to depression?

Do they have something against We the Little People?

There is no logical reasonable and viable explanation for why they are so in love with this failed monetary policy.

Do you have one?  I sure don’t.

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9 thoughts on “Austerity 101

  1. Your use of “We the Little People” is proof that you are either, a) writing satire or b) have been hired by the same people funding LGF to agitate for the Left from a faux Right position. Well, I hope your new friends bring you happiness and fulfillment.

  2. ‘We the Little People’ as opposed to Mitt Romney’s multi-millionaire, Democrat donors who kept him alive by pouring tens of millions into his PAC. They are destroying our Republic by making it a shopping spree for billionaires. Austerity DOES NOT WORK. Europe is a mess created by Merkel for Merkel and advised by Alan Greenspan. Just this morning on Bloomberg, the discussion was about what Merkel has pushed on Europe, i.e. Greece, Spain, Italy in order for Merkel to become President of Europe. It’s another fine Rand mess created by her slobbering disciple – Alan Greenspan.

    I guess this just proves what I’ve been saying all along. Conservatives have bought into this train wreck of an economic theory to the point where anyone who dares speak out against it is labeled “left”. Sorry, but I’ve not changed, except for the fact that I refuse to sit back and allow what I believe to be hijacked by devotees of Ayn Rand. That is what is happening here.

    I think what really saddens me is the fact that now, in the “conservative” (what a joke) world, anyone who dares think outside the box is treated as badly as anyone in the liberal world who dares to think outside the box. When we have lost the ability to question what we think and believe, and to maybe admit that things are wrong and we are to blame, then as a party, we cease to exist. As a country we cease to exist. We become nothing but a brain-dead plutocracy propping up a bunch of jerks who don’t care about anything but their bottom line.

    There is nothing wrong with making money. There is something wrong with having that big money buy and sell politicians at will. That is not what this country is all about. We have a few conservatives who have been brainwashed into believing that the financial philosophy promoted by Greenspan is from God and anything else is from the other end of things. The problem with this is that it isn’t working. We’re in this financial mess now because of this specific financial philosophy.

    Also – people need to pay the same percentage rate with taxes. If you make $30,000 you should pay 15%. If you make $30,000,000 you should pay 15%. That was something the GOP stood for, once up on a time – way back when – um… six months ago? Now, though, suddenly we must protect the billionaires, screw the hard working small business owner and call anyone who dares question this a socialist. Sorry, but I don’t believe that. I believe in tax equity – even for presidential candidates holding money in off shore accounts to avoid paying taxes on it.

    SJR

  3. You’re going out of your way to create extreme scenarios and ascribe extreme motives to everything and everybody… oh, except you, the great She who decides what type of money will or will not earned, and how it may or may not be spent by the fallen people of this fallen world. The Ayn Rand is the root of all evil scenario is as sufficient as the Obama is the Manchurian candidate scenario. You’re wandering around in Glenn Beck land at this point. You’re incoherent, spiteful and way out of balance, although certain truths and observations can be gleaned when one looks hard enough, because your research is always there. I wonder if you have contracted that particular disease common in blogospheria wherein a person gets eaten up and turned into the very thing he or she started out despising. Well my advice should you continue this fiction is to dream up a character more satisfying than “We the Little People.” Because that’s just lame. Unworthy of an Earpian.

  4. I’m sorry you feel that way. Everything I’ve said is documented. Back in the 1980s, my Grandfather Froehlich, who made millions – on his own – always said that if Alan Greenspan were ever appointed head of the Fed, he would ruin our economy and throw us into a depression with his idiotic ideas of how an economy should be run. I’ve been watching him since then. My grandfather was right – then again he always was. He always detested capital gains and inheritance taxes, but never did much complaining about income taxes.

    The real problem with the right is the fact that no one is allowed to have an opinion other than the talking heads and accepted conservative pundits. If you do, you are left, socialist, conspiracy, etc. That’s quite sad. We’re becoming nothing more than liberals with a different ideology.

    SJR

  5. No, the real problem with the FAR righters is that they insist on answering extremity with extremity. Where do YOU fit into that spectrum at this point? You used to stand against the extremes and now, perhaps with some provocation, it’s as if you are throwing in the towel and joining ’em. That won’t do. And by the way, your rhetoric of late is right out of the progressive handbook and I won’t back off from that assessment because it’s accurate, not just a mindless epithet. Maybe YOU are becoming “nothing more than a liberal” but not me. I can still walk and chew gum at the same time. Unfettered capitalism is wrought with consequences, as anyone with a conscience and a belief in God is well aware. And you are right that Ayn Rand was unhindered by conscience. But where we are headed now, under the so-called “leadership” of radical juvenile delinquents and incompetent chin-whiskered ivy-leaguers, is straight back to the USSR. Hello? Count the 100 million dead bodies of the 20th century who perished in service to the progressive experiment. If you have lost the ability to distinguish between the extremes, then you truly are a victim of the zeitgeist and very possibly in need of an extended vacation from the denizens of cyberspace.

  6. That doesn’t even make sense. I am NOT a liberal. I simply think that we have a fine mess that was caused by Greenspan and his devotion to Rand. This is well documented. All I’m trying to state is the current vogue for austerity in Europe is an utter disaster. It doesn’t work. What is going on needs to be examined with an open mind.

    Remember how idiotic it was for Obama to embrace a socialist form of health care that has failed miserably, elsewhere? We all asked, rightfully, that the Dems were short-sighted for not looking at what was going on with the systemic problems of the monster they were creating. That is what I am saying about this adoration of austerity in Europe. It doesn’t work. There are some economists here who think that is exactly what we need. If we apply the same rule that we went by with Obamacare – then we need to realize that many in the right are embracing a scheme that is a failure.

    The radicals on both sides are out of their minds. What is wrong with admitting that there are economic theories being embraced by the right that are just as destructive as those embraced by the left? A year ago it was all about repairing the mess that is our tax code, having people pay the same rate with a specific minimum and very few deductions. We can’t do that any more – it’s “socialist” – to think that all Americans should be required to pay the same percentage of taxes, no matter what they make (over a specific minimum). Why should Apple get away with paying just 4.6% and my sister pay 28%? Where is the equity in that? There isn’t. Why should GE pay absolutely no income taxes, and a contractor I know paying 28%? Is it socialist to think that the small business person deserves the same perks as the big guys? I don’t think so. I think it’s just plain American to want to see percentage equality in taxes. I think 15% is a nice number. What’s socialist about that?

    Lindsey has a perfectly good idea about taxes and how to cut spending. Not only has the right started to damn him, but they are condemning Jeb Bush to political oblivion over it. At the same time, yesterday, Romney refused to even endorse such a reasonable plan. Why does Grover Norquist drool all over himself to protect big time corporations from paying the same thing my sister’s small business does? My sister employees 40 people. Is she not as good as Apple, GE, or Microsoft, or simply because they are big and important, she is to be crushed by being forced to pay a higher percentage in taxes because she can’t get the same deductions?

    I don’t give a rip about the left. They are a lost cause. I care about the GOP. But, just because something is a polar opposite, does not mean, every once in a blue moon, someone might have a hint of a good idea. I’m sick of discounting a person’s value because they don’t have a (R) by their name, or don’t know the correct conservative handshake. It is wonderful that the mythical Koch brothers make so much money. It’s great that Apple has a huge profit, and that GE is making money, BUT – if my sister – or any other small business person, must pay 28% in taxes that almost destroy them, then so should the big guys.

    The lesson of Europe is that Greece allowed the really big corporations are able to get away with paying little or no taxes, and forced everyone else to pay more. Services were cut to the point where people are literally dying in the streets. All along, their national debt is almost the same as the amount of taxes the ultra wealthy shipping companies have not paid. Now, to me, it doesn’t take a genius to think that these people should be paying the same percentage as the rank and file small business person who is being ruined. If they were required to pay the money they have (in some cases) literally dodged, the country would not be in such a mess.

    This isn’t rocket science. But, it is also the path many on the right want us to take. If it’s not working in Europe, how on earth will it work here? Lindsey has a great idea. Unfortunately, Romney has already said he won’t even consider it. So, we’re screwed. If the right isn’t going to use their heads, and the left won’t budge, we have one horrible mess.

    What’s progressive (I detest that word – it is so Glenn Beck) about wanting everyone to pay the same low tax rate, no matter what you are earning over an amount that compensates for very low wage earners? Once upon a time, that was a Republican dream. Now, it is considered socialist. I just don’t get it.

    I am standing against the extremes. The problem is the fact that the right has become so extreme, any rational discussion is met with the epitaph of “socialist”. I swear it’s like screaming Nazi in a crowded theater. Once upon a time, it was quite the thing for all men to be considered “equal”. Now it’s socialist. So, I guess, this no longer applies, either:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

    If all men are created equal, then all men should be paying an equal percentage of taxes. Golly, I guess now the Declaration of Independence is socialist. Is that how far the right has gone, in order to prop up failed economic theory and a really bad POTUS candidate?

    SJR

  7. uh, all Republicans including Mitt Romney want lower tax rates and elimination of loopholes which is what corporations exploit (and who wouldn’t?)

    and that is only one point

    you are bound and determined to blame the producers and deny simple common sense

    so. be. it.

  8. Where on earth did I say I blame the producers? Any good business person is going to take advantage of every tax deduction there is. That’s common sense. Why should I blame someone for doing that? You take every advantage you can. The problem is the deck is stacked against small business. It’s only getting worse. Our incompetent Republicans who are in office are so busy fighting with one another, and trying not to accomplish anything, that they’re letting the Obama Administration conduct what is almost a reign of terror on small business.

    I’m blaming our lousy politicians who don’t seem to realize that everyone deserves the same break. Romney has already said he’s not going to play ball with Lindsey’s idea. He said so yesterday. It would be a good, rational compromise. Unfortunately, in the GOP, the new 11th Commandment is Thou Shalt Not Compromise and Upset Grover Norquist.

    In order to fix the loopholes and eliminate deductions so that we can have a rational tax code, it will upset Grover Norquist. If our elected officials are so cowardly that they can’t give the boot to a self-serving little creep in order to do what is right for the country, then we’re a lost cause.

    Why is small business less important than big business? More jobs are created by small business than large. Small business is the backbone of this nation. They are the REAL producers. Why can’t they get the same breaks that the big companies have? or Why should the big companies get more breaks than a small business?

    I come from a small business background. I’m always going to stand up for the little guy, the mom and pop corporation that doesn’t get a break of any kind. They’re the ones hounded by the IRS. They don’t have the money to buy lobbyists. They can’t afford influence. They can’t dump a million here and there into a political campaign. They’re lucky to be able to put in $2500 a cycle. Why is is socialist to stand up for these people? Why are they any less important than Charles of David Koch or Apple? Sorry, but they’re not. And – that’s the problem. The GOP has managed to forget they are just as important as the big guy. If standing up for people who take the chances, pawn their lives, mortgage everything they have, and try to create jobs is socialist, then yea, I guess I’m one of ’em. One upon a time they were what made America great. I guess it just doesn’t matter any more.

    It is called We the People of the United States of America… like I said, it is now We the Little People. Standing up for the little people, the people like my sister, my friend Josie, her husband, my friend Carol, my friend Sheryl, or Sergio, is now socialist?

    In the US, currently there are 27,281,452 business (2008 numbers). Only 90,000 employ more than 500 people. The payroll of these 90,000 firms is HALF of what the payroll is for small business. I guess it’s socialist to want those 27,200,000 or so businesses to the same rights – tax wise, and the remaining 90,000. Anyone who says that big corporations are the backbone of this nation’s employment is lying.

    So, it looks like the little guys are the real producers in this country. If they’re the majority, it really isn’t socialism is it, but democracy? I guess we just have different views of the world. Ronald Reagan always stood up for the little guy. It’s like a Frank Capra movie. I’ll take their side any day of the week. I guess that, in some eyes, would make me a socialist. Once upon a time that made me a Republican.

    Come to think of it, I guess this does make me a socialist. You see, I’ve never really know anyone who worked for a mega corporation, or even a company with over a couple hundred employees. I guess it’s socialist not to recognize that they are the real producers of the world. I have friends and relatives who have had military and government jobs. I have friends who are evil teachers, curse them all. They should burn in hell for wanting pensions, right?

    Going back over my life, almost every person I have ever known or been friends with has been part of a small business – you know – the people who don’t produce anything – the socialists among us. Once upon a time, we were Republicans. I guess the only people who qualify to be Republicans now are from big business. Almost every person I know either works for, has worked for, owned, or owns a small business. We’re now the little people. We’re pond scum, right? Small business has no rights I gather. Thing is, if only about 90,000 of those 27.2 million businesses employ over 500 people, then something isn’t quite right. The only way the “real” producers can make a profit is if all the little people of the country buy their goods. The only way they can do that is if they have jobs in those 27.2 million other firms and businesses. I guess We the Little People produce more than the important people.

    Go figure.

    SJR

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