2016 is the Race Against Austerity.

As Republican lawmakers and presidential hopefuls continue to fantasize about more massive budget cuts, economists are figuring out how much austerity really devastates a nation.

Last month, the German Institute for Macroeconomic Research released their report on the damage that harsh austerity measures have done to the nation of Greece. According to that report, poor people in Greece have lost 86 percent of their income because of austerity, but the wealthiest households in that nation lost less than 20 percent.

To add insult to injury, the richest Greeks only saw their taxes increase about nine percent, but those with the least saw their taxes rise by more than 300 percent. And, according to that report, public employees were hit the hardest by extreme austerity measures, with most losing about a quarter of their income.

These numbers are not just statistics, they are human lives, and they represent everything that could happen in the United States if Republicans have their way.

Harsh austerity measures wreak havoc on an economy, as we've seen in Greece, but these cuts have a far larger human cost. Where ever they are enacted, these cuts have a disproportionate effect on the poor, and they widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

Greece may be the extreme, as the cuts that nation has endured are far larger than the austerity imposed on other nations. However, the end result is – and always will be – the same. You can't cut your way to prosperity, regardless of which nation you happen to call home.

These cuts have destroyed the lives of thousands of Greeks, and austerity will have the same effect here if Republicans get the additional cuts that they desire. And, this is one of the most important reasons that we need to fight in 2016.

The next election could have dire consequences on our economy and our fellow Americans, and it may be our last chance to stop austerity from destroying our nation too.


mathboy's picture
mathboy 9 years 9 weeks ago

Thom should check out the history of Freedom Tower (Miami), where Sen. Marco Rubio is going to do his second announcement of self-nomination.

In short, there was a time when it was used to help refugees from Communist Cuba.

RLTOWNSLEY's picture
RLTOWNSLEY 9 years 9 weeks ago

Prof. Richard Wolff just released his April 2015 Monthly Economic Update, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekutmSxSXzA

This update contains a realistic assessment of the economy in Europe and the U.S. with a rather downbeat forecast for the coming year. Prof. Wolff also speaks to college educations in this country, something he spent his life delivering, and the desolation that recent and new graduates will have to face in the job market with no living wage job prospects or salaries to pay off their enormous college debt much less start a life with a family and kids and buying a home ! 1 Hour and 55 Minutes but it's well worth the time as many frequent watchers of Dr. Wolff's presentations will tell you !

liz banker 9 years 9 weeks ago

I notice every time Thom returns the courtesy of bashing Republican positions, he seems to fail (and does little) to criticize the Democratic Party.

No, we're not looking for "Jesus Christ" in Hillary nor in President Obama nor as a matter, in any other political figurehead, but it certainly doesn't advance the conversation and understanding if you're constantly whining about the other's party's lack of a moral center. Yes, the Democratic Party as a whole, has the better voting record over Republicans when it comes to women's rights, civil rights, the environment, and class issues, but... that was then (1990s) and this is now.... and if you're honest with yourself, you would have to admit that the Democratic Party uses those social wedge issues (as do the R's), to hide and distract from the real problems ordinary citizens face in an every growing global economy.

It would be Hillary's corporate supporters that will read between the lines in her stump speeches, media appearances, and maybe even the scenario of her trying to put her hand on the bible while taking the presidential oath in 2017, knowing and taking comfort that their bottom line won’t be adversely impacted (Walmart, Wall Street, Walmart, Wall Street, Walmart):



Hillary won’t address many of the concerns Senator Elizabeth Warren has been voicing, until Hillary nearly clinches the Democratic nomination because by then, it will be too late, and as far as the political operatives behind and on behalf of Hillary would calculate, Hillary won’t feel truly obligated to take on Wall Street, the One Percenters, TBTF, and anything else the majority of the public have expressed but will be (and has been) voted to the contrary by Congress and through Executive orders.

No wonder the opinion of Congress continues to be low, but also, I would agree, dislike of Congress is not an excuse not to vote or get politically involved, just because the pols are captured by America, Incorporated; that they went to Harvard and you barely graduated from Tumbleweed Technical School. Why is it, that politicians expect its citizenry to serve on jury duty, serve in the military, pay their fair share of taxes, etc. but yet.... politicians end up returning the voter’s favor by doing the true bidding, instead, for the One Percenters (Iraq war, NAFTA, Transpacific Partnership, XL Pipeline, Citizens United, support for Israel right or wrong 'cause two historical wrongs make for a third historical right, don’t you know….)

What Issue Cannot Be Solved With Money should be both parties’ motto. Both major parties believe in money. So yes, not too many (Economic) differences between the two major parties after the dust settles....


wolfhowl 9 years 9 weeks ago

I agree with Thom that the Republican program of austerity is a recipie for disaster, especially for the "have nots", also the world as a whole. However I doubt we would be any better off with Hillary. I urge all patriotic Americans who care to support Bernie Sanders. He seems the only voice of reason out there. I hope he runs, and as an Independent, or that he starts a new party. My suggestion for a party name is Patriotic Progressive Peoples Party.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 9 years 9 weeks ago

America took a much smarter, more gradual approach to implementing the austerity agenda, from the bottom up. The success of this plan required re-educating the general public (starting by the early 1980s) to pit the middle class against the poor, workers against the jobless. This was successfully achieved. Right now, we're watching as the rich do to the middle class what the middle class already did to the poor, and there's nothing we can do about it.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 9 years 9 weeks ago

One correction: It is the Democrats, not the Republicans, who imposed the austerity agenda on the poor, with the support of the middle class. It was Bill Clinton who ended actual welfare aid for the very poor, and took the first steps to similarly "reform" Social Security, targeting the disabled. By 2000, the disabled had become the fastest-growing group of homeless Americans (they did quite poorly on the streets). Finally, President Obama was elected and restored Social Security, but the Dems in Congress promptly resumed cutting again. The last I heard, the Democrats were considering, or had already agreed to, cuts in disability aid that are twice as deep as those made by Clinton. We already know this will cost lives. The goal of the Clinton wing remains that of dismantling the New Deal.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 9 years 9 weeks ago

No, the Democrats since Clinton have caused tremendous hardships for poor women, as you surely know, and targetted the disabled as well. I do understand that those in the middle class usually lack knowledge about the tremendously complex factors concerning poverty and women. What the (Clinton) Democrats did was to look at families that were barely balancing high on a tightwire, and turned a fire hose on them. The Democrats enacted a range of policies that not only pushed poor women deeper into poverty, but that cut the rungs off the ladder back out.

Finally, Obama was elected, and he restored Social Security. But the Dems in Congress promptly began cutting again. The last I heard, they are either considering, or have already agreed to, cuts that are far deeper than those made by B. Clinton. The majority pof those who will suffer are women. IF H. Clinton were elected, we have no doubt that she would pick up where B. Clinton left off, "reforming" Social Security out of existence.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 9 weeks ago

Austerity for the 99% has equalled unprecedented prosperity and extreme concentration of wealth for the 1%. This wealth transfer has been achieved by the big money overthrow of our representative democracy.....the most secret and discreet takeover of a government in world history. It has been done by controlling the message with massive misinformation via the corpse media. Things won't change unless we find a way to communicate the truth to the masses before 2016.

Overcoming the big money weapons of mass misinformation, the resultant apathy, hopelessness, upside down world, all fomented by media lies....that in my opinion is the very heart of the problem and where we need to focus all of our efforts between now and 2016....I know easier said than done. Failure will only lead to blood in the streets, no other option, that I'm certain of.....how can we completely ignore history?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 9 weeks ago

2950-10K -- I like that history around 1932. It did take an army occupying the same place as the gyrocopter, but there was no bloodshed.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 9 weeks ago

DH Branski -- Those welfare cuts were during a republican congress. You seem to have the same problem as 83% of Americans. That 83% do not know who is the majority party in the House of Representatives. This lack of information is then amplified by viewing the president as a dictator.

I think the key policy to bring back the policies of the New Deal and the Great Society is card check.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 9 weeks ago

I forgot to mention every democrat in the senate voted for card check, and every republican voted against it.

The dems are very different from the repugs.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 9 years 9 weeks ago

Austerity is euphemistic for poverty and slavery. Business elites and billionaires never practice austerity, not by current programs - and never in any real sense of it.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 9 years 9 weeks ago

Hillary is a political chameleon who will say anything to get elected and who is concerned only for her own personal political ambitions. In 2003 she strongly supported the invasion of Iraq, in the '90s her husband repealed Glass-Steagall that caused the mess she will now express outrage against. Count on her to try to do a pale Elizabeth Warren impersonation - until she gets elected.
She represents everything that is wrong with the Democratic Party. She's a DLC, softer line oligarch (softer than the Republicans').
She should run as a Republican. She's a fraud.
If, in this undemocratic system, we HAVE to vote for her then we may have to but the primaries haven't even started yet. There is no reason any self appointed politburo should decide on our behalf who the nominee is to be.

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