Crippling austerity is making things worse for Europe

Each month that goes by in Europe, the continent’s economy gets worse and worse, thanks to crippling austerity measures. The number of unemployed people in the 17-nation Eurozone hit a record high after the month of July – with new data showing 88,000 more people lost their jobs that month. That brings the total amount of unemployed to over 18 million people – the highest ever recorded. The unemployment rate in the Eurozone remained at 11.3% - more than three points higher than the United States.

Unlike in Europe – the United States passed a stimulus package in 2009 – that according to the CBO created as many as 2 million jobs. Republicans say the stimulus is a failure and it never should have been passed. They also say austerity is the solution to our economic woes. But clearly, they’re not paying attention to what’s happening in Europe.


JNE4KLPK's picture
JNE4KLPK 10 years 29 weeks ago


War a often used escape from their disastrous love for money ( R money)

Vietnam has shown me that we were killing people, and dieing for their corporate profits.

this time however, will be different, this war will be with those that use war for profit.

it is they who will suffer the fate they demanded of others. a well deserved ending.

Gary Killpack


Vietnam... two tours and counting.

SteveS's picture
SteveS 10 years 29 weeks ago

I'm pessimistic! Unless low-information voters learn about how Europe has been devastated by the austerity policy, we will soon see austerity here in the US. Europe may, and probably will, undergo a revolution if conditions get bad enough, and we may see unrest here in the US if the Republicans win the election and start to implement austerity here. Only time will tell.

Michael Gray 10 years 29 weeks ago


Austerity will not work. It will take moving the subsidies for Fossil Fuel and Ethanol to renewable energy. Then building out the Electircal Grid to a modern system, replacing the 1930 technoloy the grid has now. Then passing the PTC for 5 years... And tax credits for companies that hire workers and a penalty for companies that have outsourced!

It will also take re-electing Obama and then going after the Teabagger Republicons... SIngle payer health care would also help!

Thank you for keeping America informed!

jstrahan's picture
jstrahan 10 years 29 weeks ago

This is the question to be answered in the 2012 election between Obama and Romney. That which is the most dangerous thing that this country has ever faced in 50 years is the Republican Party, the question as to whether the wealthy can buy our government, and whether there will be a middle class in the near future in this country. Our history is that we as Americans routinely vote against our own interest due biasis, mostly racial, and the fact that there is no public news organization that is willing to correctly report what the Repulican Party represents or educate the public exactly what the Democratic Party and the Republican Party stand for. Instead we get rhetoric such as the Democrats want to take away from the whites and give to the people of color but don't hear a word about the REpublicans assisting Corporate America in closing 50,000 manufacturing operations in this country as well as exporting 3.5 millions jobs overseas. This economy is based largely on the average American consumer spending money that supports growth and employment. If the average American has no job or works at minimum wage or part-time, would this not spell disaster.If Repulicans take control this fall, our way of life will become a faded memory and there shall be no middle class with only the poor and the wealthy. Does anyone still think this is the best country in the world? The Republicans advocate cutting taxes further on wealthy, increasing taxes on everyone else and deregulating business and industry. Isn't this what the Republicans did under Bush. And is there a real possibility that we could actually put the same party back in office again?

stradric's picture
stradric 10 years 29 weeks ago

Are there any stats on how well the top 1% is doing in their austerity economy? I think that would really drive the point home. After all, that money just doesn't disappear from the economy. It has to go somewhere. To me, it's obvious where it's going, but I'd like to see stats to prove it.

jnancemd's picture
jnancemd 10 years 29 weeks ago

Whether people in the U.S. reject "austerity measures" has to depend on whether they come to the realization that that phrase is a euphemism for "slow strangulation." With a populace that in the main has trouble distinguishing between a 'reality show' and reality, and with billions being spent on disinformation, the chances of that happening before the last gasp seem slim.

George Reiter's picture
George Reiter 10 years 29 weeks ago

I want to reiterate Thom Hartmann’s rant on the Republican Strategy and any austerity program will not prove positive for the middle class. Under a new Presidency and Congress under Willard Mitt Romney we the middle class are doomed!

Here with the Campaign Dinner Address excerpt of FDR is the Republican strategy then and still practiced today and the quote from Neil Newhouse, the Romney adviser.

Campaign Dinner Address of Franklin Delano Roosevelt,
September 23, 1944. Washington, DC

“The opposition in this year has already imported into this campaign a very interesting thing, because it is foreign. They have imported the propaganda technique invented by the dictators abroad. Remember, a number of years ago, there was a book, Mein Kampf, written by Hitler himself. The technique was all set out in Hitler's book - and it was copied by the aggressors of Italy and Japan. According to that technique, you should never use a small falsehood; always a big one, for its very fantastic nature would make it more credible - if only you keep repeating it over and over and over again.”

“... and we're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers,” Romney Pollster Neil Newhouse said.

leonbloom's picture
leonbloom 10 years 29 weeks ago

I agree with the concensus that austerity will not work and Obama is the only one that is likely to implement a program like the one you mentioned. Upgrading the grid is only one of several major programs that could be undertaken that would benefit the whole country, make us more competitive and allow industry to make a profit, perhaps small in the short run, but substantial in the long run. The programs might include making the grid and our wideband network less subject to potential cyber attack, weatherizing buildings so that they use less energy for heating and cooling, bringing our roads and bridges up to snuff (a technical term) and programming computers in all our K-12 public schools so that every student can have a tutor/computer that will enable all students to learn to the maximum of their abilities.

The problem is how to get the private sector to undertake such programs so that they are pursued at a level that will really make a difference. I believe this can be done by offering the large corporations that are holding their profits overseas because they don't want to pay taxes on those profits the ability to write proposals on how they would use the one trillion dollars that they collectively have out there to be brought in tax free if for every $100,000 they bring in they create a job in one of the areas that need work or train a person to do the job. If all the money came in, it would generate 10 million jobs. That would do wonders for our economy, would greatly reduce our deficits and move this country in the direction it needs to go.

I think that if Obama were to propose a program like this for his next 4 years, he would win reelection in a breeze (another technical term)..

TVcameraman 10 years 29 weeks ago

I have noticed that bankers, politicians and other members of the top 1% have not taken a pay cut... but still seem happy to cut the income of those who can least afford it. This seems more prevalent in countries supporting austerity...

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 29 weeks ago

Obama has tried to improve the job situation, mainly because keeping his job depends on it. When he could have done more, the House and the Senate were held by the Dem.s, he did very little. Now when he tries to do something the GOP blocks it in the Senate and the House is now in the hands of the far rights control. He claims he is trying to secure jobs here, while he claims Romney is responsible for sending jobs overseas. Then why has he signed a new free trade agreement, mainly for the benefit and profits of the corporations with Asian countries like Vietnam and others. Why, because he needs those corporate dollars, just like Romney! It does not matter who wins the next election, the days of a strong and prosperous middle class in America are over......The best any of us can do is vote for a third party, in hopes someday we will be more than a two party nation...But as long as big money rules our elections, that will never happen...I feel sorry for my daughter and her generation and those that will follow, for I truly believe it is too late to bring manufacturing back to this country with all the trade agreements our politicians have signed giving our future away to the Chinese, Indians and other countries now producing what we used to...a sad, but a true scenario of our future economic situation here...........

Willie W's picture
Willie W 10 years 29 weeks ago

Years ago when Regan was president, I talked to a shoe department clerk in Sears. This was his second job, working evenings. He loved Regan and hated unions. Yes. He blamed unuon workers for making the cost of living so high. And today we all know that it's the teachers unions that are tearing this nation apart. When the minimum wage is reduced to $4.50 an hour, we will all be offered work, and big industry will move back to America. What a plan! Good middle class jobs return as promised...................But not middle class wages.

Outside Agitator 10 years 29 weeks ago

The purpose of "austerity" policies is not primarily to boost economic recovery. If one looks at what is actually taking place, such measures promote the redistribution of wealth and income from the working poor and middle class to the top layers of society. Hence, "austerity" achieves its basic purpose even though the economy sags, as has happened in Europe and the UK. Of course, this is the script for the USA as well. The supposed "necessity" of austerity is best seen as justification for the shedding of any prior obligation the wealthy may have had to support overal social wellbeing.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 29 weeks ago

"....offering the large corporations that are holding their profits overseas because they don't want to pay taxes on those profits the ability to write proposals on how they would use the one trillion dollars that they collectively have out there to be brought in tax free if for every $100,000 they bring in they create a job in one of the areas that need work or train a person to do the job."

They already tried this and the corporations, once they got their tax breaks, failed to follow through in creating the jobs they were supposed to create....they continued to send our jobs overseas anyway. You just cannot make any agreements with these people because they will renege on the deal after they get what they want. And our government has not held their feet to the fire..and forced them to make good on any agreements or understandings.

"..(Reuters) - Congress should not endorse another big tax break for overseas corporate profits because the last one in 2004-2005 was a costly failure, said U.S. congressional investigators in a report released on Monday.

With an army of lobbyists pushing on Capitol Hill for a repeat of the Bush administration's 2004-2005 program, the head of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations urged lawmakers to reject another corporate give-away.

"We can't afford a tax break that would deepen the deficit, disadvantage domestic firms, and push more corporate dollars offshore, while failing to stimulate the economy," said Senator Carl Levin in a statement on his panel's report.

Levin was joined by Senator Kent Conrad, a fellow Democrat, in writing to Congress' deficit-reduction "super committee," urging members to refuse lobbyists' pleas for a second overseas corporate income repatriation tax "holiday."
".... firms are unlikely to invest the repatriated funds. Congress passed a similar repatriation tax holiday in 2004 and required firms to create domestic jobs or make new domestic investments to get the tax break. Nonetheless, the firms, on average, used the tax break to repurchase shares or pay dividends — not to increase investment.

The holiday, instead, turned into a massive tax break for shareholders — resulting in little or no economic gain or job market expansion. Why? Because money is fungible, to satisfy the requirements of the law, corporations reported repatriated funds as the source of money for investments or jobs they would have created anyway — and used other funds to increase shareholder wealth.

Today, domestic firms are sitting on near-record levels of liquid assets. The reason they’re not investing or creating more jobs is not a cash shortage. Allowing them to repatriate foreign profits at low tax rates would only heap more cash onto their already huge stockpile."

"....would be the dangerous precedent that firms would expect regular repatriation holidays. This expectation may persuade firms to hoard profits overseas and perhaps even move production abroad, betting that Congress will eventually grant another “one-time” tax break."

"Indeed, the prior tax holiday was supposed to discourage firms from holding profits overseas. But instead, firms stockpiled new reserves, presumably in anticipation of another holiday."

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 29 weeks ago

And on what information do you base your accusation that it is the teachers unions that are tearing this country apart? Do you hate all unions that provide a decent wage and benefits for their members? As I recall, being a union member in the meat packers union, it was only becuase we had a union that we received fair wages. Now that the unions have been destroyed by the right wing political system and the corporations that import cheap illegal labor from south of our border, the once good jobs are now dominated by cheap illegal workers, like Hormel in the Mid West, who got caught with three bus loads of illegal alien meat cutters. Our jobs disappeared because our Presidents, Senators and Congress people allowed free trade agreements to happen, starting with the NAFTA agreement sending our good paying jobs south to Mexico and other cheap labor countries. Your President Obama just signed a new freetrade agreement TPP with Asian countries, so the corporations won't run out of cheap labor to produce goods to send back to the states and jerks like you buy and think your getting a good deal!! When we had Tariffs to protect American workers we had plenty of good paying jobs, even non union jobs paid well. So get your head out of your ass and start reading about why our jobs have gone away, it is not the living wage that ended American production, it was and is the greedy corporates that have shipped our jobs to China for more profit so they can get those million dollar bonuses each year. It is jerks like you who buy into the garbage that it is our teachers, firemen and policemen who have caused jobs to leave. Wake up and stop being fooled into believing it is all the good paying jobs that drove our jobs away. You sound like a right wing follower believing what the right wing nut jobs have fed you.......

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 29 weeks ago

Obama serves the same corporations that have stripped away American jobs over the last two decades. He, like most politicians speak out of one side of their mouths when speaking to the electorate and the other side when speaking to big business. If he is sooo concerned about our jobs and producing good jobs here, why did he just sign a new free trade agreement, the TPP with several Asian countries, so our jobs can be exported there? His hands are in the same pockets as Romney. He needs those big bucks coming in to remain in power and that is his main concern about job protection. Why didn't he pass all these measures to produce jobs here, while the Democrats had the Senate and the House? No, instead he waited so could blame it on the Republicans for all the lack of job growth in America. Austerity should be imposed on the tax breaks given to the rich corporations and the wealthy elite of our nation. Not imposed on the poor and disabled citizens of America, that have no where to get relief from the poverty imposed upon them by an unfair and corrupt system that favors the wealthiest citizens with tax breaks and loop holes for the giant corporations to pay less and less each year in taxes.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 29 weeks ago

Prescription drug relief for uninsured?

I received my free cards in the October 2012 issue of Prevention magazine and thought there must be a Yeah right! If you have other insurance...these cards will not help you...but if you have no insurance at many millions of people in the US could save lots of money on prescription drugs. You can ask for these cards on-line.

"Over 50 Million Americans have no medical insurance, or the insurance they do have doesn’t cover the costs of their prescription medications. Healthcare Alliance can help you save up to 75% on prescriptions at almost any pharmacy, with their simple to use and totally free pharmacy card."

megalomaniac's picture
megalomaniac 10 years 29 weeks ago

It’s the FED. Last week listening to the political electromagnetic journalists, like Thom Hartmann, or Norman Goldman using the catchy jingle “where Justice is served” characterized radio people, and that admit we the reporters in modern electromagnetic journalism fail Americans. One other reporter named Ezra Kline or the Washington Post let the same reality out that what is told in reporting falls way short to likely much suppressed news informing the American electorate. So far these can be my favorite people because this is the essence of why America is failing. At least Thom has the humility, and honesty to admit this failing. But, Mr. Goldman dropped a bomb about the FED the other day that would show reason to not even care about trade agreements.

As explained, by Mr. Goldman, the FED does not need to print money to make adjustments in the so called American economy. Just as Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan, keyed in dollar values likely to the tune of trillions of dollars to American banks, so has the now FED Chairman Ben Bernanke. Ladies and gentlemen of America both Chairman just key in numbers just as we here key in letters to make these messages. No need to print money.

So to the top end of the one per centers they, the banksters get a new transmission from the Federal Reserve and they only need to just look at new numbers. Presto, change the account to a whole bunch of money. In this case if Norman Goldman is right, it’s to the tune of twenty six trillion dollars. Do we have trade agreements that big? No. Gee only a little in significant million would get me out of the rat race. These guys have a lot of big rats chasing them! LOL. Really are Americans as hostage and we don’t know it? Where is Superman? Or hey Batman ya out there? We need help!! President Obama let’s get this thing figured out!!!

That is a huge, huge amount of money, and think about it. Huge, huge dollar values are shifting around constantly in this upper circle. Not real paper, just numbers. Here is the deal; you and I need the real paper. The bulk of gas, groceries the lower income people pay out to survive is done with real paper. It’s easy for politically connected Republican banksters to red line home loans, car loans, or just about any business loan. That in your face fact is when Mitch Mcconnell made his famous statement to commit to make Obama a one term president did in fact shoot himself in the face politically. The rest of the party which includes the so called TEA party underscored by Dick Army is nothing more than the same part a freelance Republican branch that cares even less or will not serve any better than the original Republican party. Please anyone who hangs tea bags on a hat is mentally adjusted to a need for a huge tea cup to jump into. That ladies and Gentlemen this is the whole bunch of tax cuts that will accumulate into Russell’s tea pot. What the heck is that?

If you don’t know, Russell’s tea pot theory is a famous theory about “is there a God” In other words nobody can prove that there is not between the Earth and Mars a china teapot revolving in an elliptical orbit. So no proof no God. LOL. This is the same falsehood with most Republican inititives, no proof. But Russell did not know we landed something on Mars which did not pass any tea pots. Ha ha. That is something really huge too.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 29 weeks ago

Funny, you should mention Bat Man. I just got back from finally watching that new Bat Man movie (and hoping no crazy person bursts in to kill us all....all of about 6 people in the whole theater...but I was ready for them...I was armed with the dangerous weapon that is normally used to read captions...the base in that thing, that fits into the cup holder, is very heavy).

I got the strong impression that the movie was trying to make some kind of a statement...something, perhaps, to make people a little less apt to think about rebelling against the rich. Yes, Gotham was seething with opulent wealthy people that didn't seem to care a whit about poor people and, of course, orphans.

And then what should appear...a scary hockey-masked man who was so tough that he could snap a man's neck by just thinking about it. He was made to look like, perhaps, someone of middle eastern lineage...and of course we all know that that automatically makes him the devil.

Then there is the billionaire "liberal" woman who spends all her time at fundraisers to help underprivileged people. She's full of surprises but will add to the "hate liberals" theme before the movie is over.

The whole city of Gotham was planted with tons of explosives and destroyed much of be topped off with the nuclear warhead that was constantly transported around the city in a lead lined truck so it couldn't be located.

Looks like these sinister villains were about to blow up millions of Gotham's residents. And Bat Man had to not only overcome this sinister masked man because of his superhuman strength but because Bat Man was practically an invalid in the beginning of the movie recovering from some previous adventure.

I got to tell you that I was rooting for the "evil" masked man, most of the time, because he was fighting the even more people that were partying it up while p1$$ing on every one else. Crashing into that NYSE was most enjoyable to watch! Yes, it would be too bad to have also made all the poor people suffer the same fate as the rich people. That is the only drawback to a 100% rooting for the "evil" masked man. Too bad these people can't figure out a way to deal a blow exclusively to the rich people and leave the downtrodden alone. But then that would have put a dent in the "evilness" that the movie producers were trying to impress on everyone. Take someone with a good cause and mix it with a bad one and you have tainted the good cause. (Good cause: rebelling against the wealthy. Bad one: making non-wealthy suffer as well.)

This seemed to be a propaganda movie that just would not have mustered an empathetic, as originally planned, audience unless they were all billionaires or millionaires or their useful idiots who can't see how their minds are being messed with through this kind of low-key propaganda.

"No proof, no god!" Makes a lot more sense than "There just has to be a god because how else do you explain our existence?"

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