One must ask why does the world continue to repeat mistakes for the sake of ideology. It is the classic definition of insanity. It is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
Greece and Europe were forced into conservative’s only answers to economic and budgetary problems, the acceptance of austerity under the premise that it would revive their economies. It was another case of forcing pain on a populace that was not responsible for the country’s economic demise.
This week one of the bastions of American liberalism died. He gave a keynote speech at the Democratic Convention that is now going viral where he covered the tale of two of two cities. The speech is a valid then as it is now. It was about making people’s lives better. I was about government investing in people instead of in bombs. He was aggressively excoriating conservative policies implemented by Ronald Reagan that was the beginning of a more than 30 year demise the middle class.
After the world’s economies collapsed in 2008 conservatives in America wanted austerity type policies even though it proved disastrous during the Great Depression. Enough support was there to pass a marginal economic stimulus that kept the economy running to keep the pockets of the plutocracy filled even as the middle class made little progress.
Washington Post Harold Meyerson wrote a piece titled “European austerity engenders a Keynesian outlook” that should provide hope, a hope that the average citizen can get fed up enough to effect change.
A New Left is rising in Europe as the new year begins. And despite the fears it engenders in polite society, this New Left is less Marxian than it is — oh, the horror — Keynesian. …
In both Greece and Spain, much of the public has turned against the politics of austerity and the mainstream political parties that enacted them. In both nations, new parties of the left — Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain — lead in the polls. With this week’s dissolution of Greece’s parliament and new elections set for Jan. 25, it’s entirely possible that Syriza will come to power on a platform of negotiating debt reductions to the country’s creditors and restoring some governmental programs and economic investment. …
The policies that the European Union — that is, Germany — has imposed on southern Europe run counter to every lesson history teaches us about how to counter a prolonged economic crisis. In the 1930s, Franklin Roosevelt devised the New Deal not merely to counter the Depression’s effects but specifically to bolster what was then the underdeveloped economy of the American South and Southwest. His remedies extended beyond such successful stimulus programs as the Works Progress Administration , which gave millions of Americans jobs building needed public infrastructure. His policies also were crafted to bring the Southern economy into the 20th century through such programs as the Tennessee Valley Authority and rural electrification. The Jeffersonian anti-statism of today’s South notwithstanding, it was the New Deal and postwar military spending, as well as minimum wage and civil rights legislation, that enabled the Southern economy to catch up with the rest of the nation.
A similar understanding of the economics of depression and under-development could have yielded more successful economic outcomes in the European south over the past few years. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also could have learned a lesson closer to home: It was the austerity policies enacted by Chancellor Heinrich Brüning in the early 1930s that plunged Germany deeper into depression and paved the way for the Nazi takeover. Say this for the German misunderstanding of macroeconomics: It’s consistent.
American students are having a hard time paying for college. Many of their student loans look more like mortgages thus stunting their abilities to be home owners. Low taxes in many states come at the expense of primary education, secondary education, and college education. The American infrastructure is in shambles.
The new Republican Congress is vowing to cut spending and cut taxes, their answer to every problem that ails America. The austerity policy that they may force on the country even as the President vetoes some will be a problem. One hopes that what seems to be happening in Greece and Spain occurs in America. One hopes Americans get fed up enough to act and vote in their best interest.