Myths are hard to kill. I don’t keep up with all the zombie news, but it is my understanding that a well placed shotgun blast to the head will kill a zombie. No such luck with the belief in austerity, which is pretty much the same as believing in warlocks and tooth fairies. This is yet another, well written and documented look at the failures of austerity, Why a Bad Idea Won Over the West
Unable to take constructive action toward any common end, the U.S. Congress has recently been reduced to playing an ongoing game of chicken with the American economy. The debt-ceiling debacle gave way to the “fiscal cliff,” which morphed into the across-the-board cuts in military and discretionary spending known as “sequestration.” Whatever happens next on the tax front, further cuts in spending seem likely. And so a modified form of the austerity that has characterized policymaking in Europe since 2010 is coming to the United States as well; the only questions are how big the hit will end up being and who will bear the brunt. What makes all this so absurd is that the European experience has shown yet again why joining the austerity club is exactly the wrong thing for a struggling economy to do.
The eurozone countries, the United Kingdom, and the Baltic states have volunteered as subjects in a grand experiment that aims to find out if it is possible for an economically stagnant country to cut its way to prosperity. Austerity — the deliberate deflation of domestic wages and prices through cuts to public spending — is designed to reduce a state’s debts and deficits, increase its economic competitiveness, and restore what is vaguely referred to as “business confidence.” The last point is key: advocates of austerity believe that slashing spending spurs private investment, since it signals that the government will neither be crowding out the market for investment with its own stimulus efforts nor be adding to its debt burden. Consumers and producers, the argument goes, will feel confident about the future and will spend more, allowing the economy to grow again.
In line with such thinking, and following the shock of the recent financial crisis, which caused public debt to balloon, much of Europe has been pursuing austerity consistently for the past four years. The results of the experiment are now in, and they are equally consistent: austerity doesn’t work.
Mr. Blyth is playing by the strict rules of golf, or what philosophers refer to as taking your opponents argument and the basis for that argument at face value. One assumes that said opponent is being both honest and genuine. There are people within the austerity club who probably believe what they say just as there are witches who believe they can whip up the perfect love potion. I know enough neuroscience, psychology and have enough real world experience to know that trying to convince a true believer in unjustified beliefs that they are wrong is a Sisyphean struggle. Though Mr. Blyth may not be aware of the lack of genuineness of U.S. conservatives. To paraphrase the gigolo senator from Arizona, John McCain, from 2000 to 2008 conservatives spent money like a “drunken sailor”. Now, having entered a recession in which conservative economic polices combined with a stunning lack of oversight of the financial industry, suddenly spending like said sailor ( sailors are generally nice people who have been dragged into this conversation via history, sorry about that) is something only the anti-Christ or Stalin or Hitler would do. On a historic scale this is the conservative clusterfu*k version of do as I say not as I do. One of the biggest reasons for this sudden change of their many faces, is that conservatives see the national debt as an opportunity to undo the safety net that started with The New Deal. That is why they did not care about spending and debt for eight years. They consider programs like Medicare and Social Security a form of political and cultural blaspheme. When the crony corporatists, that run America screw up, with an odd exception or two, the wealthy stay wealthy. Who pays for the recession – we have them regularly – the middle-class and working poor. The deal went like this. We have this meager safety net so that the powers that be can continue to screw up yet again, and again and again, but at least most Americans will have some kind of shelter, food and some medical care. According the dogma set forth in the holy book of conservatism this meager safety net makes everyone into a weak, morally lose, lazy moocher. By taking away the safety net they’re setting everyone free to let out their inner John Galt. Cheer-leading austerity is just a way for the conservatives and libertarians to literally let everyone know the real freedom of being old and poor, disabled and poor, and sick and poor. Anyone who thinks that sounds goofy is not reading enough conservative and libertarian articles and punditry. One of the neatest tricks ever pulled in politics is making millions of people believe that buying some candy with food stamps is the ruination of America, but turning the country into a wage slave plantation is pure patriotism.
This is just one example of how the game is rigged ( more at the link),
In 2006, hedge fund manager John Paulson realized millions of Americans had signed up for mortgages they couldn’t afford and would soon start defaulting on their payments, causing the housing bubble to burst. So he took out “insurance” on stocks made up of bundled-together mortgages, which had been sold to investors. Paulson even teamed up with Goldman Sachs to create new stocks — in which he helped select the mortgages, ensuring there’d be lots of faulty ones – and then took out “insurance” on them. This was like taking out insurance on someone else’s car, after arranging with the car manufacturer to put in faulty brakes. When the housing market collapsed, triggering the Wall Street meltdown, Paulson collected $3.7 billion, giving him the all-time record for profiting from the misery of others.
Two unidentified buffalo soldiers with musical instruments, ca. 1860-1880. Photographer unknown. Not all Buffalo Soldiers were musicians. They started out as members of the U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army, formed on September 21, 1866 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Though the name spread to describe all of the black soldiers in the Army which eventually included the 9th Cavalry Regiment,10th Cavalry Regiment, 24th Infantry Regiment and the 25th Infantry Regiment.
Cops in pink flip flops tackle crime (Picture: Hampshire Constabulary).
Sgt Richard Holland and PCSO Rebecca Williams exposed their toes as they patrolled in Winchester, Hampshire – where critics said the footwear was ‘casual and impractical’.
The officers were showing support for the city’s Street Pastors, who give the flat footwear to drunk revellers struggling home in heels.