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Europe’s permanent austerity crisis will soon be America’s

3:25 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

The European and U.S. problem is not only the year-after-year reality of high unemployment and slow or negative growth, it’s that results be damned most of us ‘still’ believe in austerity. The masters have reason to believe and even love austerity, because they get rich off moving wealth from the middle to the top, but dammit most of us chumps believe too. Read this December 14 U.S. Rasmussen Report and weep:

Overall, 73% of Likely Voters nationwide believe the federal government should cut spending rather than increase it in reacting the nation’s current economic problems. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 18% are looking for an increase in spending.

That’s crazy in this economy, but it’s what 73% believe.

The belief in the medicine that will kill us is so pervasive it of course infects the news. An example is an article on tighter EU budget rules that will take effect on January 1. The common sense of this is plain: the rules if followed make austerity permanent because they prevent application of Keynesian solutions to economies in deep recession, as more and more European nations are. Here are paragraphs two through four with my comments between each paragraph:

Finalized in March, 25 of the 27 EU member states accepted a “balanced budget rule” in the compact to ensure that governments would no longer run the massive budget deficits which drove the debt crisis and nearly sank the euro.

But of course the original crisis was a ‘banker stupidity on a monumental scale’ crisis, and it was the multi-trillion dollar bank bailout — ‘required’ by European and U.S. big banks after they bet everything on the real estate bubble — that created those debts and continues to do so. But that history has been disappeared and now, for all mainstream readers, we have a debt crisis. The economies of the European south, of course, were not deficit-ridden before the bank bailouts. And in fact debt — deficit spending — is the only way out of austerity. So news on our current economic crisis describes the solution, ‘debt’, as the problem. Are you getting why I describe the European austerity crisis is permanent?

The Fiscal Stability Treaty also laid down penalties for those who breached the rules to limit deficits and debt, providing for a degree of central EU oversight to keep miscreants in line.

Damn, keep in line you juvenile delinquent, you ‘miscreant’ — synonyms include wrongdoer, criminal, villain, rogue, sinner, rascal, scoundrel, vagabond, reprobate, malefactor, blackguard, and evildoer. An economic minister who applies the standard Keynesian remedy to his country’s austerity-generated recession/depression is a scoundrel? Michael Hudson becomes Hudson the Rogue, Paul Krugman The Malefactor Krugman, were either allowed to determine economic policy.

And this is just the news, no intended agenda, just an inside the brain look at how most people think and what they believe. How do you escape disinformation so deep and multilayered? You don’t?

Notably, the balanced budget provision has to be written into national law, and preferably, enshrined in the national constitution, to make it very hard to change or get around in future.

Yeah, ‘enshrine’ this madness baby, make it ‘very hard’ for common sense anti-recession measures, the only ones that will work, ever again to be employed inside the EU. Economic austerity permanent, anyone?

And it is not just 73% of the population, or their news sources, that believe in the austerity lie. It’s also epidemic among most of ‘the mainstream left’: for example, Howard Dean, labor boss Andy Stern, and the ‘leftist’ Guardian’s finance editor. Bill Black writes (emphasis added):

It is hard enough countering Pete Peterson’s billion dollar campaign to inflict austerity and unravel and privatize the safety net. Peterson funds myriad front groups. We also have to counter the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party, which dominates Treasury, OMB, the Justice Department, and the office of the Chief of Staff and favors austerity and unraveling the safety net. We should not have to deprogram progressives indoctrinated into repeating neo-liberal economic dogmas.

And yet we must, but that would only be a first step and without practical impact. Let’s face it, despite the catastrophic and consistent bad news everywhere produced by austerity policies and neoliberal economics, we’re _losing_ the influence battle. Badly. And so, uh, see the title of this article. Read the rest of this entry →

All-Out Obama & Media Blitz for $3 Trillion in Social Welfare Cuts

11:36 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

That 2008 ‘Hope’ now comes down to hoping for the failure – by some miracle or screw-up – of the media and Obama full-court press for $3 trillion in social welfare cuts (in order to ‘solve’ a fake crisis which the Republicans (through Mitch McConnell) have already capitulated on). But have we ever seen President Obama so ‘hard ball’ and animated as he is now, fighting to, for example, cut Social Security benefits that average only $13,000 a year? (Note that the lying way inflation is computed has already effectively cut Social Security benefits 7% since 1998.) So, hey, don’t get your hopes up, progressives: this is not the concede-before-bargaining inept Obama of every progressive fight of the last two-and-a-half years. No, he’s a man transformed, skilled, on a mission, pulling out all the stops, not for our team but he’s showing how it’s done when you really want it done.

On the other side, better than nothing but very little opposition by progressives, because most (Yeah, you, Bernie Sanders and Raul Grijalva, yah stupid suckers!) have signed onto the Herbert Hoover economics of “shared sacrifice,” promoted by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

All the common-sense, Keynesian in the broad sense economists — Paul Krugman, Brad DeLongDean Baker, and James Galbraith, for example – must be in deep despair this weekend. They know this impending doom is entirely unnecessary. And I’m sure they too hope for, but are not gambling on, the failure of the very loud corporate media and uni-party crusade for an era (a decade of cuts is in the works) of utterly counterproductive and inhumane austerity.

As I’ve said, the left needs a powerful and attractive counter-narrative, led by the ‘meme’ “shared prosperity,” but, surprisingly, no one can hear me outside this blog. Till we turn the tables we’ll be abused by Obama-Sanders-Boehner-Hoover classical economics, a replay in the 2010s of the mass human tragedy of the 1930s. Here in the U.S. since 2008 we’ve only experienced a taste of that. I’m talking real, mass, and unrelenting austerity, Greece or Ireland, as long as we let the DemoRepublican uniparty, which the Congressional Progressive Caucus rhetorically supports, run the economy into the ground with ‘shared sacrifice’ or whatever their real slogan is (‘I got mine, Jack’).

Shared Prosperity NOT Shared Sacrifice!