Goal of Austerity

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"The countries that are doing very well in Europe are the Scandinavian countries. Denmark is different from Sweden, Sweden is different from Norway – but they all have strong social protection and they are all growing. The argument that the response to the current crisis has to be a lessening of social protection is really an argument by the 1% to say: “We have to grab a bigger share of the pie.”

– Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate, and former Chief Economist World Bank

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/05/08/austerity-backlash/

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Austerity is just another name for the continuing Global Financial Coup, which has so far been a resounding success for the banksters.

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Scappoose
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Mar. 30, 2012 7:49 am

From your linked article: Austerity Backlash

Quote Jack Random:

As any practical economist would attest, Zapatero and indeed most of Europe not only failed to act responsibly; they did the opposite of what was required.

Zapatero was swept from office at the end of 2011 and others will soon follow. The democratic backlash against the austerity mandate has swept through the Netherlands, smashed through Greece and Italy and today (as I write these words) it rolled over Sarkozy’s France.

The people have served notice that they will not stand idly while their governments sell out to the interests of the elite. They will not pay for what the financial institutions broke. They will not suffer while the wealthy prosper. They will not watch their pensions disappear, their wages cut, their unions broken, their services stripped bare while the international corporations that conspired in this crisis continue to prosper.

If this sounds familiar to American readers, it should. Austerity is what the Republican right wants to bring to our nation in the name of freedom.

He makes a strong point in the article that the backlash in Europe is a democratic backlash -- and that may be the most important lesson for Americans to think about. While he points to the Republican right in that last quoted sentence, and he mentions the discredited policies of Bill Clinton, he does not mention the "Marxist, socialist" Obama, thus the unmentioned actual democratic choice Americans have in this upcoming election, which happens to be between the hope that smashed on the rocks during Obama's last term or the likelihood of no hope of any kind of relief from austerity from the hard place that is the Republican candidate.

So... here, in the good ol' US of A, the 1% are likely not to see much of a democratic challenge from we the common folk to their incipient austerity goals for a good while longer. We might need a new name for 'em, but start thinking about growing those Victory Gardens, and soon.

Ever get the feeling you just ran into a box canyon and the cowboys closed the gate you didn't see hid in the brush?

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am
Quote Jack Random:The only nations that have largely been spared the ravages of the austerity regime are the Scandinavians of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, who managed to retain their social safety nets and social consciousness.

There is much we can learn from the lessons of Europe but we must first lose our irrational fear of words. The economic principles of socialism are neither the enemy of democracy nor of the American people. In its essence, socialism is less an economic system than an ideal. Whenever the public good is considered in public policy, the principle behind that consideration is socialism.

There is not and never has been a purely socialist economy on a national scale. Simply because a government exerts control over the economic sector does not mean its policies are for the public good. The oligarchies of Russia and China (though both have incorporated significant elements of free enterprise capitalism) use their control largely for the benefit of the elite and ultimately to the detriment of the people at large.

I would argue that any nation that does not employ democracy as its system of government is inherently anti-socialist because it denies the will of the people as an expression of the public interest. Moreover, any nation that denies the fundamental rights of labor is anti-socialist as the vast majority of people work. By this standard the most socialist nations on earth are the Scandinavian nations that have survived the global economic downturn relatively unscathed without exploiting labor.

All social programs, including public pensions, public works, public health care, public education, job training and unemployment benefits, proceed from the socialist ideal.

To imagine an America without its socialist component is to imagine a nation without highways, without dams, without Medicare, without Social Security, without public hospitals or clinics, without public schools or universities, without unemployment benefits, without mass transit systems, on and on. In short, a purely capitalist America would be a very different place and not one that many of us would enjoy.

There is of course no nation on earth that is purely capitalist. Every nation strikes a balance between individual interest and public good, between the wants of the one and the needs of the many, between free enterprise and social responsibility.

Free enterprise provides an economic force that generates wealth but it also tends to encourage greed and corruption. Governments must function to control that force, to mediate inevitable conflict between workers and employers, to counterbalance the powerful against the powerless, to counteract corruption and moderate greed. Social programs by any name are essential to a functioning society.

The American electorate is too easily dazed and confused by words meant to evoke a guttural response. Socialism is one of those words. In the next election we will hear that word like a daily drumbeat. The word we will rarely hear is austerity. That is a shame because the party seeking the White House, controlling the House and obstructing the Senate is running on an austerity platform.

Listen to the people who have experienced austerity first hand and heed their warning. Austerity is economic suicide and all but the wealthy will suffer. Listen to the people of Europe and understand what is at stake.

Great article! It will be interesting to see what Hollande will be doing.

Also — if the US right will wake up and see what is happening in Europe.

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 7:45 pm
Quote Karolina:

Also — if the US right will wake up and see what is happening in Europe

Well, all they gotta do is wave a couple of rags and say socialist! like they're saying boo! and the right runs like scared rabbits.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

That's why I posted that part of the article. Let's see if a healthy, logical discussion emerges...

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Karolina
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I always enjoy observing social experiments... no matter how they turn out.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Stiglitz for Fed chair, DeLong for Treasury secretary.

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Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 8:21 pm

Federal Reserve out. US National Bank in.

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 7:45 pm

If we as a country do not stop bailing out every one and there mother we are going to have si much debt that we will also have to turn to austerity in order to keep the country afloat.

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workingman
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Mar. 20, 2012 8:13 am

Tell it to your Congress people. No body here wanted any bailouts. The banks gambled — the banks must pay.

In 2008 I wanted the banks to all go into bankruptcy reorganization, and for the unfortunate people with the crazy mortgages to be protected by the government .

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 7:45 pm

There are little pockets of civilization in the US, Vermont is one. Vermont is also working toward a single payer health system, and is on target to be exempt from the mandates as constructed by the heritage foundation.

Should other states adopt a similar path, the governors can enter into an alliance in trade and allow mobility for the citizens in those states. If those states establish their own banks, they will also offer finance and growth independant of wallstreet slave masters. One basic tenant of the accord is an agreemant to keep the governors from offering tax breaks to businesses in the member states to relocate, and any business in the alliance that leaves will be boycotted by all member states, and an embargo imposed on the offending state, and excise taxes imposed on all goods transiting from the offending state through member states' territory, over land or through airspace. If CA did so, all interstate commerce could traverse through Canada, Washington, and Oregon with little impediment to trade with Maine, Vermont, and the only state with a state bank, North Dakota. Any business trying to trade without CA would be screwed.

There are a lot of states considering a bank system. I saw a map of the states considering, even OK is persuing a civil course.

/new-state-bank-bills-address-credit-and-housing-crises

When these banks adopt the ND model, the big banks will begin to shrink, their bribes will get smaller, their influense even smaller. Maybe my kid's kids will see the America I grew up in.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Some say "the best defense is offense",austerity is an offensive tactic to blind us to capitalism failure. The 1% already have and control everything,austerity just make the 99% look like the bad guys.Thanks to the 99% movement,hopefully in the near future the 1% will be going through some "austerity".

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tayl44
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote douglaslee:

There are little pockets of civilization in the US, Vermont is one. Vermont is also working toward a single payer health system, and is on target to be exempt from the mandates as constructed by the heritage foundation.

Should other states adopt a similar path, the governors can enter into an alliance in trade and allow mobility for the citizens in those states. If those states establish their own banks, they will also offer finance and growth independant of wallstreet slave masters. One basic tenant of the accord is an agreemant to keep the governors from offering tax breaks to businesses in the member states to relocate, and any business in the alliance that leaves will be boycotted by all member states, and an embargo imposed on the offending state, and excise taxes imposed on all goods transiting from the offending state through member states' territory, over land or through airspace. If CA did so, all interstate commerce could traverse through Canada, Washington, and Oregon with little impediment to trade with Maine, Vermont, and the only state with a state bank, North Dakota. Any business trying to trade without CA would be screwed.

There are a lot of states considering a bank system. I saw a map of the states considering, even OK is persuing a civil course.

/new-state-bank-bills-address-credit-and-housing-crises

When these banks adopt the ND model, the big banks will begin to shrink, their bribes will get smaller, their influense even smaller. Maybe my kid's kids will see the America I grew up in.

This will never happen because the north dakota state bank is run on conservative policies. With very strict rules for loans or other bank business. California, new york, michigan and most other liberal states would have to completely change their governing outlook to puck up the north dakota plan.

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workingman
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Mar. 20, 2012 8:13 am

You're confusing conservative ideological politics with sound banking practices. The two are world's apart.

Conservative ideologues caving in to demands by banksters for de-regulation is what enabled the financial meltdown. Your politically conservative Wall St. Banksters aren't conservative when it comes to banking..

"The argument that the response to the current crisis has to be a lessening of social protection is really an argument by the 1% to say: “We have to grab a bigger share of the pie.” – Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate, and former Chief Economist World Bank

Banksters are very much a part of that. Liberals tend to oppose it.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease" .

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The conservatives caving into the demands if the banks is another problem. The next problem as I see it is not the saftey net as the left likes to call the welfare programs. The problem I see is that we make the programs to easy. They are easy to get into, easy to stay on for life, easy to abuse, pay way to much with no requirement to work yourself off the program. The saftey net programs should be limited to a specific time period not to exceed four years of job training that should also be required to receive assistance. Once they are trained or the time is exceeded they are cut off completely, As long as it is other peoples money the liberals will like it.

The 98 percent just want the government to get out of the way and leave them alone. Than you have ows 1 percent that want everything for free on the backs of the last 1 percent that are rich. The really rich just want to be left alone it is their money they earned it let them keep it.

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workingman
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Mar. 20, 2012 8:13 am

The problem is that the greater the percentge of the national pie a few receive, the quicker the economyt tends to collapose. Economic functioning doesn't give a hoot about what people think is fair or not fair. It just operates as it operates..

King Louis didn't think it fair that the people in France wanted to eat at his expense.. However, since he had nearly all of the national wealth, they couldn't eat unless he shared the national pie

What he perceivedf as fairness..., himself owning it all and circulating it only among the nobility,... cost him his head.

Perhaps when we have a merging of economic, resource and environmental collapse, you'll begin understanding how current economies function. I'm watching it unfold now. Are you?

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Yep I am watching the one percent demand more And more free stuff from the rest of us. I am hoping that.they wake up And go get a job instead of occuping a street for terroristic purposes. Before it gets bad And people get hurt.

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workingman
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Mar. 20, 2012 8:13 am

The next time a too-big-to-fail bank fails, instead of bailing it out, nationalize it and run it as a utility. It will reduce the influence of the banksters and plutocracy. Any new party that offers to do this gets my vote.

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pshakkottai
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Jul. 11, 2011 11:27 am
Quote pshakkottai:

The next time a too-big-to-fail bank fails, instead of bailing it out, nationalize it and run it as a utility. It will reduce the influence of the banksters and plutocracy. Any new party that offers to do this gets my vote.

Amen.

That is what the Swedes did. Their banksters lost everything, while the nation prospered. The tea baggers cry about the bailouts, but every time rich people lose in this country, it becomes an emergency and the conservatives use the federal treasury to save them.

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Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 8:21 pm
Quote workingman:Yep I am watching the one percent demand more And more free stuff from the rest of us. I am hoping that.they wake up And go get a job instead of occuping a street for terroristic purposes. Before it gets bad And people get hurt.

poly replies: You seem to be confused. The 1% aren't occupying the streets. They are too busy buying/selling nation states and establishing monetary claims on their entire economic output..... including your own.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote workingman:If we as a country do not stop bailing out every one and there mother we are going to have si much debt that we will also have to turn to austerity in order to keep the country afloat.

When are you and everyone else going to figure out that there is no national debt. That number they keep throwing out 15 trillion and growing is a measure of national wealth. You cannot be in debt when you create money out of thin air. Those taxes they keep taking out of your check are worthless. They are not needed for anything. The only place taxes do any good is on the very rich to keep them from achieving a monopoly on wealth and on corporations as a way to force them to reinvest profits into production. The government doesn't need taxes for income it uses taxes as an economic tool. That national debt clock that the conservatives love to show off is a joke. You and I don't owe any debt to the government. You and I OWN some of the debt of the government.

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Bush_Wacker
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