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Delusions of Austerity

February 2, 2013
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Picture 4Austerity is a total and complete abject failure.

Austerity in the UK has left the country in worse shape at this point in its recovery than during the Great Depression!

“…The GOP’s passion for austerity by way of spending cuts and deficit reduction to harm the poor, middle class, elderly, and children may lead one to believe President Obama has not cut spending during his first term, but the facts tell a completely different story. In fact, under the President’s stingy economic policy, “the federal deficit has fallen faster over the past three years than it has in any such stretch since demobilization from World War II,” and as the Bush wars are winding down and government spending fell, so did GDP, but it is still not enough for Republicans. An economist with the Center for American Progress said, “we know what will happen if policymakers don’t work to scrap the sequester and eliminate the useless debt limit policy: We will have slower economic growth and job creation this year and in the future,” which fits right in with Republican attempts to imitate Europe’s disastrous austerity measures and keep America’s economy barely surviving at best, and falling into a deep recession at worst….”

Remember back, about four years ago or so when we were having the battle over Obamacare?  Remember how Rush Limbaugh would wax poetic about the stupidity of people who continued to try and utilize something they kept telling us was a failure?  Problem is, Austerity is a total Failure, but the same individuals who pick and choose what you are to think about, don’t want you to face up to the hard cold reality of life.

“...There’s a good case to be made that the U.S. deficit is already coming down too fast, closing at its quickest pace since World War II. Three hundred and fifty progressive economists signed a letter warning that jobs, not austerity, is the most pressing U.S. economic need, and that quick deficit reduction will likely be counterproductive. A conservative scholar at the American Enterprise Institute also warned that “If fiscal austerity is applied too rapidly, US growth will drop and the debt-to-GDP ratio will rise, boosting the nation’s debt burden. The lessons from Europe and Japan are that austerity, per se, is not the way to move to a sustainable fiscal stance,” he wrote….”

Contrary to what we are being told, domestic spending is at a very major low point. This is rather important, because over half of the people in this country are just one emergency hit away from poverty.  Someone needs to tell the Far Right, especially Paul Ryan and his supporters that austerity is a failure in Europe.

Repeat after me:  Austerity is a total failure.

Now, say it three more times:

  1. Austerity is a total failure.
  2. Austerity is a total failure.
  3. Austerity is a total failure.

The problem with the far right is the fact that they could repeat the sentence a dozen, hundred, thousand times and it would not sink into their delusional washed clean brains.  It’s about mind control.

“…Mind control (also known as brainwashing, coercive persuasion, mind abuse, menticide, thought control, or thought reform) refers to a process in which a group or individual “systematically uses unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator(s), often to the detriment of the person being manipulated”. The term has been applied to any tactic, psychological or otherwise, which can be seen as subverting an individual’s sense of control over their own thinking, behavior, emotions or decision making…”

There is no other logical explanation for bitter clingers to hold on to theories and ideas that are PROVEN failures.

Alternet

Alternet

David Brooks said it all:

“...While losing the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, the flaws of this mentality have become apparent. First, if opposing government is your primary objective, it’s hard to have a positive governing program.

As Bill Kristol pointed out at the National Review event, the G.O.P. fiercely opposed the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law but never offered an alternative. The party opposed Obamacare but never offered a replacement. John Podhoretz of Commentary added that as soon as Republicans start talking about what kind of regulations and programs government should promote, they get accused by colleagues of being Big Government conservatives.

The next problem with this mentality is that it makes it hard for Republicans to analyze social and economic problems that don’t flow directly from big government. For example, we are now at the end of the era in which a rising tide lifts all boats. Republicans like Mitt Romney can talk about improving the overall business climate with lower taxes and lighter regulation, but regular voters sense that that won’t necessarily help them because wages no longer keep pace with productivity gains.

Americans are still skeptical of Washington. If you shove a big government program down their throats they will recoil. But many of their immediate problems flow from globalization, the turmoil of technological change and social decay, and they’re looking for a bit of help. Moreover, given all the antigovernment rhetoric, they will never trust these Republicans to reform cherished programs like Social Security and Medicare. You can’t be for entitlement reform and today’s G.O.P., because politically the two will never go together….”

The Pink Flamingo was shocked when I read this one.  I shouldn’t be, but I am.  Outside of Birmingham a woman received a traffic ticket with the wrong date to appear in court on it.  Because she could not afford an attorney, this is what happened to her.

“...For that driving offense, Ms. Ray has been locked up three times for a total of 40 days and owes $3,170, much of it to the probation company. Her story, in hardscrabble, rural Alabama, where Krispy Kreme promises that “two can dine for $5.99,” is not about innocence….Half a century ago in a landmark case, the Supreme Court ruled that those accused of crimes had to be provided a lawyer if they could not afford one. But in misdemeanors, the right to counsel is rarely brought up, even though defendants can run the risk of jail. The probation companies promise revenue to the towns, while saying they also help offenders, and the defendants often end up lost in a legal Twilight Zone.

Here in Childersburg, where there is no public transportation, Ms. Ray has plenty of company in her plight. Richard Garrett has spent a total of 24 months in jail and owes $10,000, all for traffic and license violations that began a decade ago. A onetime employee of United States Steel, Mr. Garrett is suffering from health difficulties and is without work. William M. Dawson, a Birmingham lawyer and Democratic Party activist, has filed a lawsuit for Mr. Garrett and others against the local authorities and the probation company, Judicial Correction Services, which is based in Georgia.

“The Supreme Court has made clear that it is unconstitutional to jail people just because they can’t pay a fine,” Mr. Dawson said in an interview.

In Georgia, three dozen for-profit probation companies operate in hundreds of courts, and there have been similar lawsuits. In one, Randy Miller, 39, an Iraq war veteran who had lost his job, was jailed after failing to make child support payments of $860 a month. In another, Hills McGee, with a monthly income of $243 in veterans benefits, was charged with public drunkenness, assessed $270 by a court and put on probation through a private company. The company added a $15 enrollment fee and $39 in monthly fees. That put his total for a year above $700, which Mr. McGee, 53, struggled to meet before being jailed for failing to pay it all.

“These companies are bill collectors, but they are given the authority to say to someone that if he doesn’t pay, he is going to jail,” said John B. Long, a lawyer in Augusta, Ga., who is taking the issue to a federal appeals court this fall. “There are things like garbage collection where private companies are O.K. No one’s liberty is affected. The closer you get to locking someone up, the closer you get to a constitutional issue.”…”

Alternet

Alternet

“…Challenge the austerity myth. And here’s the real deal. You can’t fix the economy by “fixing the debt.” Cutting spending now will only slow the recovery, put more people out of work – and as we have seen in Europe, end up adding to our debt burdens.

In fact, fixing the economy is the necessary first step in getting our books back in order. Our deficits are largely due to the recession, with the costs of unemployment and the lost revenue from the loss of jobs. In these conditions, the best deficit reduction program is to put people back to work.

Even the slow growth we’ve witnessed has begun to reduce our deficits as jobs have been created. Despite all the hysteria, deficits are down by 25% compared to the economy, according to the Congressional Budget Office. They are falling faster than anytime since the demobilization at the end of World War II. And our debt level is basically stabilized for the next decade. More austerity – whether balanced between taxes and spending as the president calls for or focused just on spending cuts as Republicans suggest – will only serve to slow growth, cost jobs, and impede the recovery needed to get our books back in shape.

Worse, the austerity debate is now focused on whacking at the basic pillars of family security – Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The cuts under discussion – slowing the inflation adjustment for Social Security, raising the eligibility age for Medicare or the retirement age for Social Security — would harm the most vulnerable in our society.

Describe the way out. Fixing our economy requires a very different agenda than mindless cuts. We need to invest in areas vital to our future, and stop squandering resources on things we don’t need and can’t afford. End the wars abroad, bring our troops home, and invest the savings in rebuilding America – putting people to work while modernizing our decrepit infrastructure, from roads and rail to broadband and the electric grid.

End the subsidies and tax breaks to big oil companies and invest the resources in research and development to capture a lead in clean energy and the green industrial revolution sweeping the country.

Crack down on global tax havens, tax Wall Street speculation, tax investors at the same rate as workers, and use that income to provide every child with the opportunity to learn, from universal preschool to affordable college.

Lift the minimum wage, empower workers to gain a fair share of the profits they help to generate and curb perverse CEO compensation schemes that give them million-dollar incentives to ship jobs abroad….”

Europe has been playing with Austerity for several years.  Why not see what is happening there, and try and learn from their mistakes.  That’s what intelligent people do.  They don’t keep repeating things that fail.  That’s for stupid idiots who refuse to comprehend the way of the world.

Alternet

Alternet

The Pink Flamingo has been trying to tell you this, for months, but what do I know?  I’m not a idol worshiper like Paul Ryan who bows at the altar of Ayn Rand.

Is this what the GOP wants?

“...Life in Greece has been turned on its head since the debt crisis took hold. But in few areas has the change been more striking than in health care. Until recently, Greece had a typical European health system, with employers and individuals contributing to a fund that with government assistance financed universal care.

People who lost their jobs received health care and unemployment benefits for a year, but were still treated by hospitals if they could not afford to pay even after the benefits expired.Things changed in July 2011, when Greece signed a supplemental loan agreement with international lenders to ward off financial collapse.

Now, as stipulated in the deal,  Greeks must pay all costs out of pocket after their benefits expire.About half of Greece’s 1.2 million long-term unemployed lack health insurance, a number that is expected to rise sharply in a country with an unemployment rate of 25 percent and a moribund economy, said Savas Robolis, director of the Labor Institute of the General Confederation of Greek Workers.

A new $17.5 billion austerity package of budget cuts and tax increases, agreed upon Wednesday with Greece’s international lenders, will make matters only worse, most economists say.

The changes are forcing increasing numbers of people to seek help outside the traditional health care system. Elena, for example, was referred to Dr. Syrigos by doctors in an underground movement that has sprung up here to care for the uninsured.

“In Greece right now, to be unemployed means death,” said Dr. Syrigos, an imposing man with a stern demeanor that grew soft when discussing the plight of cancer patients.The development is new for Greeks — and perhaps for Europe, too. “We are moving to the same situation that the United States has been in, where when you lose your job and you are uninsured, you aren’t covered,” Dr. Syrigos said.

The change is particularly striking in cancer care, with its lengthy and expensive treatments. When cancer is diagnosed among the uninsured, “the system simply ignores them,” Dr. Syrigos said. He said, “They can’t access chemotherapy, surgery or even simple drugs.

”The health care system itself is increasingly dysfunctional, and may worsen if the government slashes an additional $2 billion in health spending, which it has proposed as part of a new austerity plan aimed to lock down more financing. With the state coffers drained, supplies have gotten so low that some patients have been forced to bring their own supplies, like stents and syringes, for treatments.Hospitals and pharmacies now demand cash payment for drugs, which for cancer patients can amount to tens of thousands of dollars, money most of them do not have. With the system deteriorating,

Dr. Syrigos and several colleagues have decided to take matters into their own hands.Earlier this year, they set up a surreptitious network to help uninsured cancer patients and other ill people, which operates off the official grid using only spare medicines donated by pharmacies, some pharmaceutical companies and even the families of cancer patients who died. In Greece, doctors found to be helping an uninsured person using hospital medicines must cover the cost from their own pockets….”

Yea, I know, these are the takers, the bums, the no good jerks who want society to give them everything.  Well, guess what?  These are the middle class, the people who are dying because of Paul Ryan’s form of austerity.

The Atlantic

The Atlantic

I wonder what is going to happen in this country if such an atrocity is forced on us?  You think it’s bad now?  The only good part is people like Paul Ryan won’t even be able to get elected as dog catchers.  No, it’s not enough, but it will provide a little comic relief for those of us who see what an absolute economic disaster they want to unleash on us.

Paul Krugman is right.  This is about jobs.  The GOP doesn’t give a damn about jobs.  There is a very good reason for this.  The Koch Brothers want to lower the minimum wage, and impoverish the American people to the point where We the Little People will work for a serf’s wages.  They want to pay as little as possible, like they do in countries like China and Mexico.  When this happens, you can say goodby to this country as we know it.  It will all be over.

“...These numbers demonstrate that government austerity has lopped nearly 15 percent off private-sector job growth over the course of the recovery. The news comes on the heels of the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ report that a collapse in government consumption helped put the economy into reverse last quarter, despite strengthening private-sector components of GDP. On his blog, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman notes that President George W. Bush’s recovery benefited from steadily increasing government consumption. But with the Tea Party movement and the attendant focus from conservatives on reducing deficits, President Obama’s recovery has been hampered by steadily falling public-sector consumption for the past two years.

Even without growing government’s direct contributions to demand — just by keeping them flat for the past two years — the economic recovery would look much stronger. America would be hitting a recovery milestone, with 5,000,000 new jobs since the recession ended, if not for the deficit hawks. Their success in pushing austerity prematurely into the policymaking conversation has cost even more public-sector jobs than previously thought, while private-sector growth has been much more robust….”

At least Paul Ryan will be make a heck of a lot of money, for a time.  Cheap whores are like that.  Then as they age, they’re kicked out on the street, to wallow around in the gutter.  Couldn’t happen to a better Randian.

One of The Pink Flamingo’s political colleagues retweeted a comment from a Democrat on Friday.  It read something like feeling sorry for today’s GOP.  “They don’t realize that they will be a sh*t stain on history for centuries to come”.  I don’t think the stain will last that long.  After all, the world finally forgave the GOP for Hoover when Ike was liked. That only took about 20 years a major depression, World War II, Korea, and the beginning of the Cold War.  With today’s rapid news cycles, I’d give it about twenty years.  That will be, though long enough to hopefully destroy a few political careers that truly deserve to be destroyed.

 

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1 Comment

  • jose maria says:

    If what you mean by austerity is decreased government spending, then there is not one country in the eurozone that is austere. They all spend or have spent more than they receive in revenues and government deficits are extremely high. They are using austerity as an excuse for shrinking economies and high unemployment. ( If I have no more money to spend and no one will lend me any money, austerity may be the first step toward my economic recovery. My credit counselor will certainly advise me to cut expenses somewhere, so to insist that austerity is a total failure is just batsh#t crazy.) Austerity in Europe has been administered not by reducing government spending, but by unreasonable tax increases. They have relied too much on higher taxes. If the IMF had really wanted to fix Greece they would have demanded tax reforms. Austerity didn’t get Greece in the mess it’s in today. In Greece, it’s considered a patriotic duty to evade taxes. Rampant corruption combined with tax evasion has had serious repercussions on their economy. One of the main problems with Spain is that the real savings of the people are soaked up and channeled to the goverment via the banking system. Loans are unavailable for private companies because banks use their funds to buy government bonds in order to finance the government deficit. Greece, Spain and Portugal can’t print their own money. They can’t weaken their currency because they belong to the Euro. They are trying to use a common currency without a common political system and it doesn’t appear to be working. The link between government spending and jobs is not as automatic as most people think. Stimulus is only a booster. It will help in the short term, but not in the long term. Government spending of lots of borrowed money does not encourage people to invest. It makes them lose confidence in the system. Whenever the government inflates, it causes price increases. Lack of savings makes it impossible for people to invest. Bigger government does not create jobs. People forget the basic economic principles of suppy and demand. Businesses don’t exist to create jobs. They exist to create goods and services that people want and need. Only supply and demand create jobs.


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