25 June 2013

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The cumulative effects of austerity can be described as a “slow motion train wreck.”

The Nation magazine has an article that gives examples of this train wreck. It discusses the pain suffered by people across the USA as federal politicians impose more and more austerity.

I won’t discuss the article, since you already know that things are bad and getting worse. The link is above, in blue letters.

A different article in The Nation focuses on the impact of austerity on one California town. (“Sequester” means austerity.)

Unfortunately these articles describe the pain of austerity, but they also champion the pain, since they promote the LIE that the federal government is limited in the amount of money it can create, and is dependent upon tax revenue.

This is often a lie of omission. The articles never truly examine where money comes from, or how the federal government creates it. They merely offer horror stories that quickly make you numb (which is a natural defensive posture).

It’s like reading endless tales of cancer patients. Unless you know there is a cure for cancer, you will switch off, and be resigned to permanent cancer.

Likewise, unless you acknowledge that the purpose of austerity is to increase the wealth gap between the rich and the rest, you will be resigned to permanent austerity.

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Justifications for austerity are like zombies. No matter how much they are debunked, disgraced, and discredited, they keep coming back. Chop them up, mow them down, and blow them away – they keep coming forever. Austerity is the Undead of social memes.

Blogger Mark Gongloff in the Huffington Post says the Bank for International Settlements (BIS, which is basically the central banker for all the world’s central bankers) has published its latest annual report on the state of the global economy.

You and I know that the current depression is sustained by austerity, but the BIS claims that we have a depression because we have not had enough austerity. (!!!) Indeed, we have an austerity deficit!!!

Even worse, the BIS uses the universally discredited lies of Harvard stooges Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff to prove it!

Now that is zombie economics!

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In the BIS’ 76-page report is a chapter titled, “Fiscal sustainability: Where do we stand?” It says we need much more austerity. Always more. Like I said, the zombies keep coming forever.

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From the BIS report:

“While progress has been made towards reducing fiscal deficits, many economies still need to increase their primary balances significantly to put their debt on safer, downward trajectories,” the BIS frets. “The success of these efforts relies crucially on measures to curb future increases in pension and health care spending.”

That’s absolute bullshit, because debt is a trivial matter for Monetarly Sovereign governments, which create their money out of thin air.

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Denial

Standard economics textbooks define a recession as a general slowdown in economic activity – i.e. a widespread drop in spending and in demand, over six months or more.

This is correct.

The textbooks say that during a recession, macroeconomic indicators fall, such as GDP, employment, investment spending, household income, business profits, and inflation.  Simultaneously, bankruptcies and unemployment rise.

This is also correct.

The textbooks say a recession may be triggered by various events such as a financial crisis, an external trade shock, an adverse supply shock, or the bursting of an economic bubble.

This is also correct.

However the textbooks fail to note that recessions also happen when politicians impose austerity on the citizenry. Indeed, this is the main cause of recessions.  They happen when the business  cycle goes down, and politicians refuse to compensate via expansionary macroeconomic policies such as increasing the money supply, increasing government spending, and decreasing taxation.

This refusal is gratuitous austerity. Its sole purpose is to widen the gap between the rich and the rest. (One might call it “political austerity.”)

The textbooks pretend it does not exist.

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AUSTERITY IN ENGLAND IS ONLY BEGINNING

Ed Miliband leads the Labour Party in the British government. He says that if Labour gets back into power, it will continue the current austerity programme.

An article in the U.K. Guardian notes that because Miliband now endorses austerity, all three major political parties in the British government want more austerity. (Conservatives, Labour, and Liberal Democrats.)

Hence the British government is more corrupt than ever, and has no “opposition party” whatever.  Everyone wants more austerity, except for the 63 million people that make up the U.K. population. British politicians are rapidly plunging them into their worst depression ever.

The Green Party is popular in some local zones, but in the House of Commons, the Greens have only one MP out of 648  (Caroline Lucas of Brighton Pavilion). Besides, they believe the pro-austerity LIE that the U.K. government has a “debt crisis.” Greens are concerned with pollution, climate change, nuclear power, nuclear weapons, etc — but not with austerity. Hence they will never have any money to do anything.

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Above is Thomas Herndon, 28, the third-year graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who derailed the Reinhart-Rogoff lies.

He seems rather pleased with himself.

“It was really overwhelming,” recalled Herndon. “By noon, the story had gone viral and I started getting calls from the media from all over the globe. It was incredible.”

Herndon said he isn’t sure if he’ll turn his research into a doctoral thesis, though he plans to continue to study the effects of public debts on economic growth.

“It has been an incredible experience,” he said of the past few months. “It’s given me renewed enthusiasm for the work I do.”

Oh?

If I were him, I would be very careful from now on. Most professors are paid to promote austerity, and they will not forget Mr. Herndon’s “heresy.”

Norman Finkelstein had much more academic credentials than does Mr. Herndon, but in 2000 Finkelstein published a book titled “The Holocaust Industry.” It went against established orthodoxy in academia, so in 2007 when Mr. Finkelstein applied for tenure at DePaul University in Chicago, the academics at Harvard (led by Alan Dershowitz) checkmated Finkelstein’s career for life.

They will not forget Thomas Herndon.

Dude, watch your back.

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20 June 2013

manual

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Euro-zone governments must borrow all their money from bankers and investors. By contrast, Monetarily Sovereign governments create their money from nothing. If they “borrow” money (that is, if they sell Treasury securities) it is by choice, not by necessity.  They have no need to “save money.” They have no use for tax revenue. Indeed, with Monetarily Sovereign governments, federal tax revenue is destroyed by the very act of paying it, as I have repeatedly shown in this blog.

If you disagree with this, then you have been brainwashed. When you have been brainwashed, you regard truth as absurd.

Much of this brainwashing is an automatic byproduct of society.  That is, when humans form large groups, they tend to think and act like herd animals. Below is a quick example of the American herd instinct — the same herd instinct that keeps the American masses enslaved by bankers and the rich.

The picture below is from a kindergarten school in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. It is a children’s pop-up book which shows a U.S. soldier murdering a Korean woman with a hatchet. For North Koreans, anti-imperialist doctrine starts in childhood.

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The average American sees this and thinks of North Koreans, “Those evil monsters!

Of course, in the USA, anti-north Korean propaganda also starts in childhood. How many times do you hear every day that North Korea is “evil”?

Below are statues of former North Korean premiers Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

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A right-wing blogger says these statues show that North Koreans are “insane” because they worship their leaders.

But what about various statues of the Bush presidents?

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This is the nature of society. Humans tend to think and act as a herd, which is necessary for society to exist.

Unfortunately it also means that most humans are miserable slaves.slaughterhouse

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The US government does not shred paper bills when it receives federal taxes, but the visual metaphor above is nonetheless appropriate, since money is 100% digital, and the U.S. government does indeed destroy money the instant it is paid as taxes. (Paper bills merely represent money, just like checks, or stocks or bonds.)

I mention this because Congressional champions of immigration “reform” say that an increase in immigrants will reduce the federal budget deficit because immigrants will pay federal taxes. A reduced deficit is supposed to be good for the economy.

You and I know this is nonsense, because all federal taxes hurt the economy, and a reduced deficit means an increased depression.

From the New York Times:

Congressional budget analysts say that legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration system would cut almost $1 trillion from the federal deficit over the next two decades, and lead to more than 10 million new legal residents in the country.

Great. Another $1 trillion sucked out of the U.S. economy. Just what the economy needs during a depression.

The CBO report estimates that in the first decade after the immigration bill is carried out, the net effect of adding millions of additional taxpayers would decrease the federal budget deficit by $197 billion. From 2024 to 2033 the deficit reduction would be an estimated $700 billion.

Great. $700 billion in austerity, in addition to all the other austerity.

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The report was immediately seized on by backers of the bill as a significant boost to its prospects. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, one of the bill’s authors, said the report “debunks the idea that immigration reform is anything other than a boon to our economy.”

Immigration reform can’t help the economy as long as we are in austerity mode.

And then there are the right wing liars…

Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, a leading opponent of the bill, said that its authors used “scoring gimmicks” in order to conceal the “true cost from taxpayers,” including providing illegal immigrants with Medicaid, food stamps and cash welfare.”

At the federal level, immigrants present no “cost to taxpayers” at all, since the US government creates money from nothing, simply by crediting bank accounts. The only “cost” to taxpayers is federal taxes themselves.

The Wall Street Journal says the Senate’s immigration reform bill, “Would cost private employers at least $700 million each year, once all its mandates are in place, likely by 2016, according to the CBO.”

How is that supposed to help the economy? Oh that’s right: we are reducing the federal budget deficit.

(And thereby killing the economy).

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Greece’s creditors include the Troika (IMF and ECB) plus investors who buy Greek sovereign bonds (mainly the central banks of  other euro-zone nations). The Troika lent money to the Greek government directly, and the other central banks lent money to Greece by purchasing Greek sovereign bonds.

On 17 Dec 2013 the central banks agreed to “roll over” some of Greece’s debt, i.e. replace some of the Greek bonds they hold with new Greek bonds as the debt comes due.

This measure, called the “rollover of ANFA holdings,” was expected to save Greece from having to make a 3.7 billion euro payment this year, and a 1.9 billion euro payment in 2015.

But now, despite the agreement, the bond rollover has hit a snag, because some central bankers worry that it might be seen as direct financing of the Greek government. The law governing the ECB forbids it from such direct financing.

This is the heart of the euro-scam. When the Troika banksters dreamed up the idea of a common currency for all of Europe, they made sure that the ECB in Frankfurt would only lend money to member states; never give money. This would keep the euro-zone nations forever in debt. As long as the nations use the euros issued by the ECB, the nations will have more poverty and austerity.

And so the euro-zone nations surrendered their printing press, and began living purely on credit cards. This wouldn’t be so bad if the nations had a massive trade surplus like Germany has, since a trade surplus brings in money from the outside. But most euro-zone nations have a trade deficit. Their only source of money is their credit cards.

We’ll have to wait and see whether the Greek bonds get rolled over, or whether the Troika demands a 3.7 billion euro payment.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/19/us-eurozone-greece-idUSBRE95I1AK20130619

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Here’s more evidence that Germany’s economy continues to get stronger, while those of Greece, Italy, Portugal continue to get weaker.

Eurostat (the European Union’s official statistics agency, located in Luxembourg) says the consumption of goods and services in Germany continues to increase, while consumption in Greece, Italy, Portugal continues to decline. We can call this a “consumption gap.”

In 2011, household consumption in Greece was 91% of the EU average of €9,291 ($12,445).  In 2012, household consumption in Greece fell to 84% of the EU average.

In 2011, household consumption in Italy was 101% of the EU average. In 2012, household consumption in Italy fell to 97%.

In 2011, household consumption in Portugal was 82% of the EU average. In 2012, household consumption in Portugal fell to 77%.

All of this spells an economic depression, caused by austerity.

By contrast, in 2o12, German household consumption rose to 121% of the EU average.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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The British New Statesman magazine notes that the UK government will have to impose much more austerity on U.K. citizens, if the government wants to keep its austerity timetable (also known as deficit reduction schedule).

With a week to go before the Spending Review, reports suggest that the Treasury has secured just a third of the £11.5bn of cuts planned in 2015-16.

Thus, the U.K. government is only a third of the way toward its austerity goal.

“Without further welfare cuts or tax rises, the next government will have to cut departmental spending 50% faster.” New analysis by the Resolution Foundation shows that departments are already expected to be some 9% smaller on average in 2014-15 than in 2010-11, as a result of cuts in the 2010 Spending Review. With spending on health, schools and overseas aid protected, these have been far starker for some departments. The Foreign Office will be just half of its previous size, while the communities department will have shrunk by more than two-fifths. The defence budget will fall by 17%, while the Home Office will have a 25% cut.

Those figures are hypothetical. In reality, politicians and bureaucrats want to protect their jobs, which means that deficit reduction will continue to come not from reduced government departments, but from reduced social programs and increased taxes.

With every additional pound of savings harder to identify than the last, don’t be surprised if the Chancellor decides to raise extra revenue from further welfare cuts.

Exactly. Of course, the U.K. government does not need to “save money,” since it creates money from nothing, simply by crediting bank accounts.

The purpose of austerity (or deficit reduction) is to widen the gap between the rich and the rest.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/06/austerity-after-2015-why-worst-yet-come

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18 June 2013

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natalie_gushannon

THE PENALTY FOR IGNORANCE IS SLAVERY

The purpose of austerity is to widen the gap between rich and poor, and to increase the power of the financial economy over the real economy. This is a manifestation of a global trend in which the middle class is vanishing, and the rich continue to get richer, worldwide.

In this New World Order, the lower you are on the social ladder, the more you are screwed.

Example: over the last ten years, U.S. employers have increasingly been paying their workers via debit cards, rather than by check or direct deposit. Reason: employers must pay a bank in order to issue company checks, or to pay workers via direct deposit, but employers pay nothing for debit cards. The banks dump all the costs onto workers; especially minimum-wage workers.

The debit cards (VISA or MasterCard) are administered by all the too-big-to-jail banks (such as JP Morgan Chase, which also handles many EBT cards, also known as “food stamps”).

With the JPMorgan Chase Payroll Card, workers must pay a 75-cent fee to make on online payment, $1.00 for a balance inquiry, $1.50 for a withdrawal from an ATM, $5 for an over-the-counter cash withdrawal, $10 for cards that are not used for 90 days, $15 to replace a lost or stolen card, and so on.

Citibank fees are slightly lower (so far). Home Depot uses Citibank debit cards to pay their workers.

In short, as poverty continues to spread, more and more U.S. workers must pay bankers in order to receive their paychecks.

This violates state laws which say that workers shall be paid by cash or check (or by direct deposit, which is considered the same as a check).

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On 24 April 2013, Natalie Gushannon, 27, a single mother, was hired at the McDonald’s in Shavertown Pennsylvania, and worked for a month before quitting. She was paid $7.44 per hour.

On 13 June 2013 she filed a lawsuit against McDonalds franchise owners Albert and Carol Mueller for illegally paying her with the Chase debit cards. (The Muellers own 15 other McDonald’s locations throughout northeastern Pennsylvania.) The lawsuit says that managers and assistant managers are allowed to receive their paychecks through direct deposit if they choose, but hourly workers are not allowed.

Ms. Gushannon is seeking to have her case classified as a class action lawsuit, so that it will cover other workers who are illegally paid via the debit card.

The lawsuit is filed under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Act, and charges the Muellers with unjust enrichment. Section 3 of the Act says that employees shall be paid their wages on a regular basis, and that, “The wages shall be paid in lawful money of the United States, or check.”

Therefore the too-big-to-jail banks will have to bribe state legislatures to change the laws so the banks can continue to screw workers. (The American Payroll Association claims that Pennsylvania state officials already endorse payroll cards.)

TO BE FAIR, these payroll debit cards can be convenient for people who, for reason or another, are unwilling or unable to get a regular bank account. Some check-cashing stores charge up to 15 percent of face value to cash paychecks.

Therefore, educate yourself. Don’t let the banksters gouge you if you can avoid it.

In the words of Rodger Mitchell: “The penalty for ignorance is slavery.”
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MORE CUTS FOR PORTUGAL

Yesterday (17 June) thousands of teachers across Portugal walked away from final exams held at secondary schools (high schools) to protest against planned spending cuts in education, leaving many pupils unable to take the tests.

Portugal is in its worst economic recession ever. Its government has also imposed the largest tax increases ever.

Anti-austerity protests have been largely peaceful and more subdued than those in Greece and neighboring Spain, but Portugal has seen a rise in rallies and strikes in recent months.

After talks with the teachers’ unions collapsed over the weekend, the education ministry deployed replacement teachers. Some schools bundled classes together in gyms or canteens so that the exams could go ahead.

Many pupils were unable to take the tests, but in some schools they chanted and waved placards with slogans of solidarity for their striking teachers.

Mario Nogueira, the head of 52,000-strong Fenprof teachers’ union, said 90 percent of teachers took part in the strike, and that some schools had canceled Monday’s exam. There are around 100,000 teachers in Portugal’s state education system.

The education ministry and rescheduled their exams for July 2.

Teachers are also protesting against a forced “mobility regime” whereby teachers may be forced to accept postings far from home when their schools are merged with others as part of the spending cuts.

Teachers are also protesting against a government decision to increase working hours for all public sector workers by one hour to an eight-hour day.

http://news.yahoo.com/portuguese-teachers-boycott-exams-anti-austerity-strike-153600240.html

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germany

DEUTSCHLAND ÜBER ALLES

Germany has been spared much of the ravages of austerity so far, since Germany’s trade surplus sucks euros out of the other euro-zone nations, and brings the euros to Germany, leaving debt behind them.  Indeed, the worse things get in the euro-zone, the better things get for Germany, whose unemployment has now fallen to a 20-year low.  This — plus the fact that the ECB is in Frankfurt — makes Germany the biggest creditor nation in the euro-zone.  Germany has Europe’s largest and strongest economy. Its soccer teams are now Europe’s best. When we ask, “Where is Europe going?” we mean, “What does Germany want?” Whatever the Germans decide, the other countries must line up behind them. Berlin is the capital of Western Europe.

Yes, Germany rules.  And it’s all because politicians in the slave countries collaborate in the euro currency scam. Naturally, average Germans love the euro. (The May 31st “blockupy” demonstration by young people in Frankfurt was negligible, but it showed that German riot police are as violent as the riot police in any other nation. The police arrested many mainstream journalists and left-leaning members of parliament.)

Since Germany prospers at the expense of the other euro-zone nations, Angela Merkel poses as a “defender” of Germany against the mess outside Germany, which Germany contributes to. Thus, Merkel is very popular in Germany, and she will almost surely win a third term as chancellor in the elections of 22 Sep 2013. She and her cronies want to increase the use of the German language across Europe, and in Brussels institutions (European Parliament, European Commission and European Council).

However, bankers and politicians are loyal to nothing except money and power. When the other euro-zone nations have been sucked completely dry, the bankers and politicians will impose severe austerity on average Germans.

So far, average Germans have not had much fiscal austerity, but they are already suffering from legal (or structural) austerity in the form of an erosion of workers’ rights, a downward pressure on wages, an increase in temporary work, plus an increase in subcontracting companies, and in so-called “mini-jobs” (in which people work on a contract for as little as 10 hours a week). In urban centers, housing is in short supply, which causes very high rents.

The point is that the ruling class in Germany is as brutal and selfish as is the ruling class anywhere else, as average Germans will eventually discover.

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The euro is killing the slave states, but they cling to the euro anyway, becaue of their own corruption. Greece, for example, continues to operate under a political system that nurtures a nepotistic and bloated bureaucracy.

Everyone in the bureaucracy wants to keep his job, and the higher a person is, the more directly he is on the Troika payroll.

However the bureaucracy as a whole is like a sinking ship. The Troika wants the higher-ups in Greece to throw at least 180,000 public sector employees overboard by the end of 2015. And the public workers get no sympathy from regular citizens, who are already crushed by austerity.

Meanwhile, the corporate media condemns any social movement that tries to promote solidarity for everyone as “fascist” and “Nazi.” The masses agree with these labels, since the masses think what the media outlets tell them to think.

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The Troika has demanded that Greek politicians give them more than 2.5 billion euros  through privatizations this year, plus 25 billion euros by 2020. However no one wants to buy Greek public assets, since the assets can’t be profitable, as average Greeks have no money.

So, outside Germany, the euro-zone nations are trapped in a straitjacket of poverty, corruption, and the euro.

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15 June 2013

john_kasich2

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Holland (the Netherlands) has the euro-zone’s fifth-largest economy. It is considered part of the “core” northern countries, but — because of the euro currency — Holland remains in an ever-worsening depression, just like the “peripheral” nations.

Germany is the only euro-zone nation that does not have a recession, since Germany enjoys a massive trade surplus. and since the ECB is located in Frankfurt. But even Germany’s growth has slowed, as demand for German imports continues to fall in other euro-zone nations.

According to a survey by the Center Automotive Research (CAR) at Duisburg-Essen University in Germany, Western Europe’s car industry is suffering its worst year in three decades of record keeping. Across the euro-zone, demand for new vehicles is at a record low, and is continuing to plunge. Sales fell 11 percent last year, and will fall another 5 percent this year. At most, a total of 11.89 million vehicles will be sold, which sounds like a lot, but it’s one vehicle for every thirty people. Next year it will be one vehicle for every 60 people…and so on. Many carmakers have closed or are about to close some of their plants, including Peugeot-Citroen, Ford and Opel.

This refers to the euro-zone overall. Of course, car market is almost completely dead in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece.

However, bankers and politicians continue to live in splendor, and rich people continue to get richer – which, after all, is the purpose for austerity. For rich people, a depression simply means the disappearance of the middle class.

Next week the Dutch government will begin negotiating on how to impose another €6 billion worth of austerity on the Dutch people to satisfy the Troika mobsters. Beginning in August, Dutch politicians must impose enough spending cuts and tax increases to reduce Holland’s GDP by at least 1%..

Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem says he is up to the task (of worsening Holland’s depression).

Earlier, Mr. Dijsselbloem had famously boasted that the Cyprus Heist was the “model” for future Troika dealings with its slaves.

“I hear too many people saying that spending cuts are bad, and that we should lower taxes,” he says. “There is simply no money for that. The time for easy solutions is over.”

No, there is no money, since Holland must borrow all its money from the Troika and from private investors.

Holland brings up the two forms of austerity that I explained in my last blog post. Both forms are designed to widen the gap between the rich and the rest.

When the masses scream about fiscal austerity, the bankers and politicians switch to legal austerity, whereon the media claims that “austerity has ended.” An example is the Los Angeles Times item, farther below.

After a while, the bankers and politicians switch back to fiscal austerity. That is, they resume spending cuts and tax increases.

In April, for example, Dutch politicians postponed a new wave of fiscal austerity (€4.3 billion in spending cuts and tax increases) in return for legal austerity that consisted of massive concessions from labor unions. Politicians effectively told workers, “If you let us impose legal austerity on you, then we won’t have to impose fiscal austerity.”

This coming August the politicians will impose more fiscal austerity ANYWAY.

Idiot bloggers and corporate media outlets will then debate about whether austerity “really ended” after all.

In actual fact, austerity (i.e. the class war) will never end until there is a social revolution. Until then, bankers and politicians will switch back and forth between the two forms of austerity. “If you let us have more fiscal austerity, then we won’t have to impose more legal austerity.”

Later, “If you let us have more legal austerity, then we won’t have to impose more fiscal austerity.”

Back and forth. And the public never catches on.

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Legal austerity is also called “reforms,” “structural adjustment,” “fiscal consolidation, ” and so on.

The corporate media outlets pretend that legal (or structural) austerity is not austerity.

However anything that increases the power of rich people at your expense is AUSTERITY.

Tax increases have reduced the incomes of Dutch households, which are already grappling with high mortgage debt and falling house prices.

“Last month alone, nearly 800 companies went bankrupt,” says Hans Biesheuvel, chairman of MKB Nederland, a lobby group for small and medium-size firms.

In neighboring Belgium, politicians have imposed €18 billion worth of austerity (spending cuts and tax increases) on the people since December 2011, thereby reducing Belgium’s GDP by 5% — and worsening Belgium’s depression by 5%. This year, Belgian politicians must impose another €500 million worth of austerity in order to avoid Troika sanctions.

So if euro-zone nations don’t continue to commit suicide, they face Troika sanctions, which is like taking a cyanide pill to avoid the guillotine.

On Tuesday (11 June), Finland’s Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen told Finland to prepare for austerity. He said he would not “rule out” austerity if Finland’s recession did not end soon. And he knows it is permanent.

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By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times

After years of unrelenting austerity, Europe seems to have turned a corner on its debt crisis — right into a dead-end street. Since the turmoil erupted in 2009, countries from Ireland to Greece have focused almost exclusively on slashing budget deficits and debt as the road back to economic health.

Bullshit. “Economic health” means a wider gap between the rich and the rest. The purpose of austerity is to widen the gap between the rich and the rest, and increase the power of the financial economy over the real economy. In Europe’s case, austerity also increases Germany’s power over the other euro-zone nations. Since the euro currency is lent (not issued) from Frankfurt,  austerity is unavoidable. Anyone who disagrees with these facts is a liar or an idiot.

But officials are discovering something many people know already: Crash diets seldom work, and often make things worse.

Bullshit. With national governments, austerity doesn’t often makes things worse; it always does. NO EXCEPTIONS.

As their economies shrink, countries have seen their debt ratios climb, not fall — the exact opposite of what Eurozone officials said would happen.

It’s called the death spiral. Because euro-zone nations surrendered their Monetary Sovereignty, they must borrow all their money. Hence they have no choice but to keep going further into debt, which means they must keep imposing more austerity, which worsens the debt, which worsens the austerity, which worsens the debt, which worsens …

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“Having austerity be the main focus across Europe has been a mistake,” said Megan Greene, chief economist at Maverick Intelligence, a London-based consultancy. “There needs to be a wholesale different approach to this crisis.”

Bullshit. There has been no mistake. The euro currency, and the austerity that goes with it, are part of a deliberate, intentional, calculated plan to destroy the welfare state, widen the gap between the rich and the rest, and increase the supremacy of the financial economy at the expense of the real economy. In short, the purpose of austerity is to reduce the earth to a planet of peasants and lords.

In the UK and USA, austerity is strictly gratuitous, since both governments create their money out of thin air.

The pressure may finally be starting to tell. Recently there have been signs that the region’s leaders, most notably in Berlin and at European Union headquarters in Brussels, are rethinking their dogmatic pursuit of spending cutbacks and balanced budgets.

Bullshit. As I noted above, when the corporate media claims that “austerity has ended,” it means that bankers and politicians have temporarily switched from fiscal austerity to legal austerity. But it is still austerity.

There’s much more in the article, but it repeats the same old shit.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-europe-austerity-20130615,0,2953904.story

One LA Times reader commented:

“Dump the euro. This one item, established primarily to the benefit of Germany, has choked everyone else and their ability to control their individual economies. In order for the euro to work, everyone’s economy has to be of equal size.”

This reader has almost grasped reality. However, in order for the euro to work, it is not necessary for all participating economies to be of equal size. What is necessary is that all participating nations have a neutral balance of trade, with no surpluses or deficits between them, and the ECB must give (not lend) euros to the participating states.

If you and I both use the same currency, and if both of us must borrow that currency, then if I export more goods to you than you export to me, you will be my slave.

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This is cute:

The United Kingdom’s pursuit of austerity under Prime Minister David Cameron was aimed sparking economic growth and reducing deficits.

That’s like saying, “In order to rise above the ground, we must tunnel beneath it.”

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Three years after the conservative government began its deficit reduction efforts, though, it has failed to spark economic growth or reduce the deficit. Britain is now on the brink of its third recession in four years and its economy is still smaller than it was when the Great Recession began.

Yeah. It’s called “austeruity,” and it has nothing to do with boosting economies.

In 2010, Cameron and finance minister George Osborne projected that their austerity package would by now have reduced deficits from 4.8 percent of the economy to just 1.9 percent. At the beginning of 2013, the deficit stood at 4.3 percent.

Yes. That’s why the UK has a depression. This madness continues because idiots like YOU think that deficit reduction is a good thing. You just don’t think that austerity is the best way to cause this “good thing.”

Here’s the reality, you moron. Deficit reduction is austerity. It is always bad, since it always causes recessions. The UK government has no need for deficit reduction. It creates its money out of thin air.

Still, Osborne and Cameron remain committed to austerity, with Osborne telling the BBC last week, “You can’t get out of debt crisis by borrowing more and more.”

But Britain doesn’t have a debt crisis — its borrowing costs are at historic lows.

Actually the British government’s “borrowing costs” are zero, and always have been zero. The government “borrows” (i.e. sell T-securities, or “gilts”) because it chooses to, not because it has to. (Unlike the euro-zone nations.)

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/03/19/1739601/united-kingdom-united-states-austerity/

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Republican austerity fanatic John Boehner, Speaker of the House, is so notorious for opportunistically crying in front of cameras that he is popularly known as the “Weeper of the House.” When it comes to hypocrisy, this clown has no shame whatever.

He especially cries when he publicly talks about subjects like young school children (which his austerity is killing).

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YouTube is full of videos of Boehner crying about the little kids he is impoverishing (indeed killing) with his austerity. .

Are these crocodile tears? Yes, but more is involved. Mr. Boehner is a well-known alcoholic, and there are YouTube videos of him drunk in Congress. Google has many articles about this.

Alcoholics usually have very erratic personalities, now weeping with sorrow, now howling with rage. This is not bipolar disorder; it is alcoholic personality disorder. Alcoholics spend half their time beating their wives and kids, and the other half  begging for forgiveness, saying, “I am worthless!”

Half the time the alcoholic sees himself as God, and everyone around him as inferior. The other half of the time he sees himself as the most inferior person on the plant.

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I see Boehner as having self-esteem issues, which he compensates for by shilling for the rich. That, plus his substance abuse problems, make him an perfect “useful idiot.”

Here’s a 30-second clip of Boehner doing his act. It’s nauseating…

14 June 2014

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Since 2010 the “Troika” crime syndicate (the IMF and ECB, plus European Comission bureaucrats) have created about 200 billion euros ($265.5 billion) out of thin air on their computer keyboards, and lent it to Greece as “emergency funding.”

In return for this funny-money, the Troika gangsters demand more and more tribute, in the form of more and more austerity.

On Monday (10 June 2013) the Troika sent its goons to Athens to collect the latest installment in “protection” money. The bag men demanded 1.8 billion euros from privatization revenues by the end of September, plus another 700 million euros by the end of 2013. They also demanded that Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras fire at least 2,000 public employees.

They expected to full their suitcases right away with 900 million euros ($1.2 billion) from the sale of the Greece’s Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) to Gazprom, the Russian giant. However Gazprom withdrew the same day the Troika goons arrived. (The  Troika gangsters are demanding that politicians sell public assets, and send the sales proceeeds to Troika-connected investors.)

Gazprom said it was worried about DEPA’s “financial position.”

Translation: the Russians, still outraged by the Troika’s heist in Cyprus,  feared that after they bought DEPA, the Troika thieves would demand perpetual tribute from them.  Here’s how the Russians phrased it in public:

“We haven’t received enough guarantees that DEPA’s finance position would not get worse after the deal is completed. The company is already experiencing difficulties with users’ unpaid bills.” ~ Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov. “

Gazprom already supplies about two thirds of DEPA’s natural gas, at princes 30 percent higher than Russia sells to other countries. So why purchase DEPA and have the Troika gangsters to fight with?

The Troika goons, led by Germany, are at economic war with Russia, using 333 million euro-zone slaves as disposable pawns. That’s why the Russians withdrew their Greek offer and physically departed from Athens on the same day the Troika goons arrived from Berlin to demand payment.

Mr. Samaras immediately apologized to the angry Troika goons by sacrificing 2,656 Greek workers to them. On Tuesday he shut down ERT (the state broadcasting station with three TV channels plus radio) thereby eliminating 2,656 jobs. Mr. Samaras did this by using special emergency powers — the same powers he uses to end strikes.

Many ERT staff members locked themselves inside the ERT building, and continued to broadcast via a live stream on the EBU website. Mr. Samaras wants them out, fearing they will broadcast anti-Troika messages.

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Since the Greek government can no longer create its money, the government must borrow it, or else tax it from the people. Those 2,656 ERT employes had been collecting €328 million per year (£278 million, USD $437 million), which came from a €51 per household levy on energy bills. Now that €51 will go to “other uses.”

(The state broadcaster of Denmark, which has half the population of Greece, receives annual revenues equivalent to €518 million — but Denmark does not use the euro, and is therefore not under Troika tyranny “protection.”)

Meanwhile in Geneva, which is not part of the Troika domain (aka euro-zone) the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) represents all of Europe’s public service broadcasters.

On Thursday (two days after Greek PM Samaras shut down ERT) the EBU in Geneva told the news people in Athens that they could send their signal to Geneva, and the Swiss would broadcast it on three satellites: Hotbird 13A in Europe, APSTAR 7 in Asia and Intelsat 19 in Oceania.

However, only cable TV subscribers can watch these news broadcasts, and few Greeks can afford to buy cable TV anymore. So this won’t continue for very long.

Besides, the police are planning to storm the ERT building to take down the broadcast “terrorists” and defuse their “WMD’s” (i.e. cameras and other broadcasting equipment). Power will be cut to the ERT building nay day now.

Mr. Samaras says he will set up his own broadcast station later this summer. It will be a tight group of hand-picked propagandists for Mr. Samaras and the Troika.

Mr. Samaras and his right-wing cronies admit that Greece remains in a recession, but they call the recession a “recovery.”

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THERE’S NO MONEY LEFT

Liam Byrne is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) since 2004, and was the Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2009 to 2010.

That is, Byrne was the lieutenant of the British finance minister (Chancellor of the Exchequer) — i.e. the number #2 man at the British Treasury.

In May 2010, parliament voted to replace Mr. Byrne of the Labour Party with David Laws of the Liberal Democrat party.

It is a convention for outgoing ministers to leave a note for their successors, advising them on how to settle into the job. Byrne left a note for Laws saying, “Dear chief secretary, I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards – and good luck. Liam.”

This was meant as a joke, but Mr. Laws called it “honest.” (!!!!!)

As you know, the British government has Monetary Sovereignty, which means it creates money from nothing, simply by crediting bank accounts.

However, most politicians never miss a chance to claim that this is not so.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/may/17/liam-byrne-note-successor

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WHEN THE PLANET WENT MAD

Many people once thought that wars and social unrest would increase because of shortages in food, fuel, and so on.

Social unrest is indeed increasing, but the shortages turned out to be in money, caused by gratuitous austerity. Around the world, the rich are imposing austerity in order to increase the gap between themselves and their “inferiors.”

According to the IMF, 119 governments are imposing austerity (i.e. reducing their deficits).

That’s 61% of all nations worldwide. Three-quarters of those are developing countries, including 21 low-income and 68 middle-income countries.

The IMF projects that  austerity will continue to worsen at least until 2015.

In poor countries the most common form of austerity is to reduce or eliminate food and fuel subsidies, even as the price of food and fuel continues to rise. Governments in 78 developing countries are doing this, or planning to do this. (Even Iran is doing this.)

Social programs and social services are likewise being cut. Teachers, firemen, trash collectors, etc. are being axed across the planet.

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At least 63 developing countries are considering raising consumption taxes, such as the value-added tax. These are put on basic foods and household items in order to further impoversh the lower classes, thereby widening the gap between them and the rich.

And still — STILL — most people reject the facts of Monetary Sovereignty, or they simply don’t care.

Even “progressives” defend the lies.

http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/austerity-s-rising-prevalence-in-developing-countries-by-isabel-ortiz-and-matthew-cummins

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently addressed the Canadian parliament, praising Euro-zone governments for imposing ever-harsher austerity, saying it was necessary to destroy heal their economies, which have been battered by ever harsher austerity.

Mr. Harper told British lawmakers that governments need to live within their means. This includes Monetarly Soverteign governments that create money from nothing, and therefore have no “means.”

He said that Canada needed more austerity in order to widen the gap between the rich and the rest remain strong.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323734304578543050814768898.html

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SPAIN’S RECESSION TO END NEXT YEAR AS AUSTERITY EASES

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BNP Paribas is the third largest banking conglomerate in the world. It was formed through the merger of Banque Nationale de Paris and Paribas in 2000, and is now headquartered in Paris and London.

Luigi Speranza, one of the company’s bullshitters economists in London, claims that Spain’s economy will end its recession next year, and will grow through 2015, because the Troika has eased its demands for budget cuts.

BULLSHIT!

First, Spain’s austerity and its recession will continue to increase no matter what, since Spain must borrow all its money.

Second, austerity takes two main forms: fiscal and legal.

Fiscal austerity occurs as spending cuts and / or tax increases.

Legal austerity occurs as deregulation, privatization, the firing of public workers, the overturning of labor laws, changes in the constitution to benefit the rich, and so on. This is called “reform,” or “fiscal consolidation,” or “structural adjustment.”

Both forms of austerity keep nations in recession, and widen the gap between the 1% and 99%.

The Troika gangsters have forced as much fiscal austerity on their victims as they possibly could — for the moment.

Hence the gangsters have temporarily switched their emphasis to legal austerity.

The gangsters, the politicians, and morons like this Luigi Spermacetti use this to claim that “austerity is over.” (!!)

The shift in emphasis also lets gangster groups like the IMF claim they “made a mistake” in imposing austerity, while they continue to impose more austerity. In “apologizing,” the IMF means that fiscal austerity has reached its limit, so now it’s time to increase legal austerity.

Of course, no matter how many times the bullshitters economists are proven wrong, the media keeps printing their bullshit opinions.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-13/spain-s-recession-seen-ending-by-2014-bloomberg-survey.html

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11 June 2013

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I have previously commented on how Scottish “economist” Mark Blyth promotes austerity while pretending to oppose it.

Here is Blyth in recent comments he made (YouTube video below):

Governments today in both Europe and the United States have succeeded in casting government spending as reckless wastefulness that has made the economy worse. In contrast, (sic) they have advanced a policy of draconian budget cuts–austerity–to solve the financial crisis. We are told that we have all lived beyond our means, and now need to tighten our belts. This view conveniently forgets where all that debt came from. Not from an orgy of government spending, but as the direct result of bailing out, recapitalizing, and adding liquidity to the broken banking system. Through these actions private debt was rechristened as government debt while those responsible for generating it walked away scot free, placing the blame on the state, and the burden on the taxpayer.

Error #1: He says there was not an orgy of government spending, and also that there was an orgy of spending, in the form of bailing out banks and financial firms.

Error #2: He says that this “orgy of (bailout) spending” has created a “debt crisis” for Monetarily Sovereign governments.  Thus, he defends one of the central lies of austerity, namely that the U.S. government has a “debt crisis.”

Error #3: He says this federal “debt crisis” has been dumped onto taxpayers. Thus, he defends another central lie of austerity, namely that tax revenue pays for the U.S. federal government.

Error #4: Blyth fails to distinguish between the USA (which creates its own money from nothing) and the euro-zone (whose nations must borrow all their money, and thus have no choice but to impose austerity). Thus, he defends yet another central lie of austerity, namely that Monetary Sovereignty is irrelevant.

Who does Mr. Blyth work for? Pete Peterson? The Koch brothers?

That debt burden now takes the form of a global turn to austerity, the policy of reducing domestic wages and prices to restore competitiveness and balance the budget. The problem is that austerity doesn’t work. As the past four years and countless historical examples from the last 100 years show, while it makes sense for any one state to try and cut its way to growth, it simply cannot work when all states try it simultaneously: all we do is shrink the economy.

Error #5: There is never any time when any state can “cut its way to growth.” Austerity causes recessions. ALWAYS AND EVERYWHERE, SINGULARLY AND IN GROUPS.

In the worst case, austerity policies worsened the Great Depression and created the conditions for seizures of power by the forces responsible for the Second World War: the Nazis and the Japanese military establishment.

Error #6:  No single power, or pair of powers, was “responsible for the Second World War.” Almost all nations participated in the madness. That’s why it’s called a “world war.” The USA blockaded Japan, starving it of oil and food, in order to force Japan into war.  Also the UK and USA began routinely firing on German vessels seven months before Pearl Harbor, again in order to force a war. (I can document this if anyone challenges me.) The point is that the USA and England were as “responsible” as any other nations.

The arguments for austerity are tenuous and the evidence thin. Rather than expanding growth and opportunity, the repeated revival of this dead economic idea has almost always led to low growth along with increases in wealth and income inequality. Austerity demolishes the conventional wisdom, marshaling an army of facts to demand that we recognize austerity for what it is, and what it costs us.

Error #7: This is a repeat of Error 5. By saying that austerity almost always does not work, Mr. Blyth leaves open the door for austerity, since all politicians claim that, “Our country is the exception.”

You can wade through this in the one-hour video below, which shows Mr. Blythe giving a speech. However I just condensed it for you above.

My problem is that people like Mr. Blyth, who claim to oppose austerity, are often the strongest defenders of lies that sustain austerity.

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Inspectors from the “troika” (IMF, ECB, and European Comission) are in Greece again, demanding still more austerity in return for still more debt bailout money.

They met with Greek finance minister Yannis Stournaras to talk about still more privatizations, still more property taxes, and still more layoffs (4,000) of public workers by the end of the year.

The IMF admitted that it made a “mistake” in imposing austerity, and is apologizing by demanding more austerity.

One man in Athens said: “They are making complete fools of us. They’re laughing in our faces.”

I laugh at you too, because you refuse to see the source of your problem, which is the euro currency.

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The Greek government’s budget deficit was 10.9 billion euros during the first five months of 2012.

During the first five months of 2013, the budget deficit shrank by a catastrophic 64 percent to 3.9 billion euros.

The Troika says this is nowhere near enough. Greek politicians must cut spending and raise taxes even more.

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Tax revenues are 562 million euros less that what the Greek government had promised its Troika masters for the first five months of 2013.  So the Troika goons are down for a visit.

http://www.euronews.com/2013/06/10/troika-inspectors-press-greece-for-more-austerity/

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In August 2011 those zany clowns at S&P lowered their grading of U.S. T-securities from “AAA” to “negative.”

On Monday (9 June 2013) they reversed themselves, because of the apparent drop in the U.S. federal budget deficit. And also because  sequestration will cut will another $19 billion from discretionary spending programs in the coming fiscal year, which begins 1 Oct 2013.

In short, S&P upgraded America’s T-securities because of austerity. Specifically they rated long-term (e.g. 30-year) T-securities “AA+,” and short-term securities  “A-1+” — as though it actually meant something!

Ratings agencies have no influence whatever on the interest rate that the Federal Reserve sets for T-securities.  No buyer of T-securities pays any attention to ratings agencies, except maybe some fools in the secondary market.

Standard & Poor’s was one of the ultra-corrupt ratings agencies that gave “AAA” grades to fraudulent mortgage securities, in ordert for too-big-to-jail banks to perpetrate their scams.

No one in the ratings agencies was prosecuted, but what’s really amazing is that anyone listens to those clowns at all.

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9 June 2013

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In any society there are always sleaze-balls who make a career out of being toadies for the rich. In today’s world they avoid the ravages of austerity by championing austerity for their fellow peasants. Two American examples are the disgraced Harvard hucksters Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart. Two British examples are Carl Emmerson, and Julian McCrae, who are discussed in the UK Telegraph item below.

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Carl Emmerson and Julian McCrae say the U.K. faces another decade of austerity, because the U.K. still has a “national debt” (which is meaningless and irrelevant).

They say that both the 2015 and 2020 General Elections are likely to center on increased austerity, and that the economy will contract even further with the decline of North Sea oil and the rising costs of healthcare.

Essentially the two toadies say the peasants need permanent poverty, so they had better get used to it.

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Carl Emmerson said that one of the first actions of whoever is finance minister after the next election in 2015 may be to increase taxes.

Julian McCrae praised Mr. Osborne for following through on the austerity threats that Osborne made after the last election in 2010, but McCrae said that Britain’s (meaningless and irrelevant) “national debt” remained unchanged. (Thus the U.K. needs more austerity.)

Mr. Osborne has already said that austerity will continue into the first two years of the next parliament, but Julian McCrae says it will continue far longer, since the U.K. will still have a national debt (which is meaningless and irrelevant).

The Office for Budget Responsibility, the official financial watchdog, has forecast that by 2017, austerity would result in 1 million public sector workers being terminated.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/spending-review/10106288/Britain-faces-decade-of-austerity-influential-think-tanks-warn.html

Ned Simons discusses this in the Huffington Post:

Carl Emmerson and Julian McCrae say that while the government has “held its nerve” in keeping departmental spending down, the lack of growth in the economy meant it was taking much longer than George Osborne expected to balance the budget.

Translation: Since austerity sustains recessions, the solution is more austerity.

McCrae and Emmerson said, “Austerity Fiscal consolidation is taking longer than planned. George Osborne announced in the 2010 Emergency Budget that the budget deficit would be eliminated within four years, but this is now forecast to happen in 2017-18. We are still as far away from the target as we were in 2010. Indeed, it would not be surprising if not just 2015 but also 2020 was an ‘austerity’ election.”

Translation: Since austerity means an endless recession, the solution is endless austerity. And since a balanced budget causes a drastic reduction in tax revenues (which the UK government does not need or use) the solution – again – is endless austerity.

McCrae and Emmerson added: “The problems for the consolidation have come through a lack of growth in the economy, resulting in lower than expected tax revenues.”

Translation: Again, because austerity reduces tax revenues (which the UK government does not need or use), the solution is to impose more austerity.

And then comes some major bullshit by McCrae and Emmerson:

They also found that the public has become more willing to accept austerity measures as necessary. The percentage of those who think the Government is cutting spending too quickly has steadily declined from its level near 60% in early 2011 to 44% in May 2013.

Whoa! The British public increasingly approves of austerity? Yeah, RIGHT!

Like I said, McCrae and Emmerson are toadies for the rich. They are the U.K. equivalent of Reinhart and Rogoff.

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The McCrae — Emmerson report comes as Osborne pressured Whitehall departments to accept a further 10% of spending cuts in order to free up money for infrastructure investment and the NHS.

“Whitehall” is the British equivalent to Washington DC. As we all know, there is no need for the British government to “free up money,” since the British government creates money out of nothing.

The lies never end, aye? Maybe they are an inevitable byproduct of society. Most socities are built on lies. As long as a society continues, so do its lies.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/07/both-2015-and-2020-will-b_n_3401790.html

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The IMF has existed for 68 years, and consists of 188 member nations who collectively made a “mistake”?

Nonsense. Austerity is a calculated ploy to increase the gap between the rich and the rest, and between the financial economy and the real economy.

If austerity is a “mistake,” then will the IMF stop preaching austerity? Of course not.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/jun/05/imf-underestimated-damage-austerity-would-do-to-greece

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the opposition Syriza party in Greece, said the IMF’s comment is meaningless, since Greece will continue to have austerity.

“The Troika admits making a mistake, and at the same time advocates the implementation of that mistake.”

Tsipras said Greece has served as a model for European politicians determined to destroy the welfare state.

“Greece was the guinea pig for this historic change. And it was tried out with full force: canceling the social pact, destroying social welfare and selling off the country’s entire productive capacity. Now that experiment is ready for export to the rest of Europe.”

(Ready for export? Evidently Mr. Tsipras has never heard of Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, Slovenia, etc.)

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-57588310/greek-opposition-imf-mistake-wont-ease-austerity/

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The article above gets a half-stamp because it mixes truth with lies.

The true parts basically say that during recessions, governmnents should increase their spending, and that austerity makes recessions worse.

And here are some of the lies:

Fiscal contraction can backfire. If premature, austerity (spending cuts and tax increases) can make deficits worse.

Austerity can never be “premature.” Yesterday, today, tomorrow, austerity always causes severe recessions.

Elected officials should explain that debt can sometimes be useful, and then pushing hard for belt-tightening once recovery seems solid.

There it is again: the insulting claim that austerity today is bad, but austerity tomorrow is good. Let’s not impose austerity until the economy recovers from its recession, at which point we can use austerity to cause another recession.

Austerity isn’t always bad. Excessive government borrowing can push up interest rates. If the rate exceeds the pace of GDP growth, the level of debt becomes a concern. Every country has its own point at which austerity becomes necessary to avoid rattling the bond markets. It’s best if governments don’t test where that line is.

WRONG! For Monetarily Sovereign nations, austerity is always bad. (Euro-zone nations have no choice but to impose austerity, since they continually go deeper into debt.)

Meanwhile the stuff about bond markets and interest rates is garbage, since basic interest rates (e.g. the overnight rate and prime rate) are chosen by the Federal Reserve, not by “bond markets.”

Note that a couple of paragraphs before, the article dismisses the false belief that, “If parsimony is good at home, it’s also good for government.” Then the article contradicts itself, implying that the US government is like a private household after all, saying that “Government borrowing can push up interest rates.”

Happily, the European Union, with 27 million unemployed, is backing away from austerity. Last week, it released seven countries from deficit targets and other budget obligations.

WTF??? The Troika and Germany merely gave their victim nations two extra years to continue amassing debt. During that time, the victim nations are expected to radically accelerate their “structural reforms” — i.e. mass privatization, mass firings of public workers, and a mass changing of laws that until now protected private workers. At the end of the two years, the Troika will  demand more spending cuts and tax increases.

There will be no “backing away from austerity” as long as nations continue to use the euro currency. It’s not mathematically possible.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-06/austerity-principles-or-how-to-save-an-economy-in-crisis.html

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During a recent five-day visit to China (16 to 20 May 2013), Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras eagerly invited Chinese investors to “join Greece’s success story,” telling them that Greece’s financial problems were about to end. (!!!)

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“I wouldn’t be here if we in Greece hadn’t turned our ship around,” Mr. Samaras lied told the Chinese during his visit, flanked by 71 Greek businessmen and members of his cabinet.

After six years in recession, Greece’s unemployment is the worst in the euro-zone. In the first quarter of this year, the economy contracted 5.3 percent, the fifth consecutive year of negative growth.

Hoping to stay afloat, Greece signed an agreement with its creditors, which hold billions in Greek debt, to raise $67 billion by 2022 by selling off public assets at fire sale prices with no conditions. The Chinese have expressed interest in buying Athens International Airport, plus some of Greece’s 12 ports for lease.

Officials from the China Development Bank promised to finance Chinese companies interested in buying Greek public assets, while Chinese investors promised to soon visit Greece.

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Earlier this month, Greek lawmakers passed a bill offering a 5-year residence permit to rich foreigners investing in property worth more than 250,000 euros ($320,000).

Greek officials hope to replicate the partnership between the Greek government and state-owned Chinese Shipping Company COSCO, which has leased half the port of Piraeus for 14.3 million euros per year. The Greek government now wants to lease the other half, and COSCO officials have said they are interested.

Of course, once a public asset falls into private hancds, all workers usually become slaves. Whistleblowers at the port of Piraeus say that COSCO has violated Greek labor laws by underpaying them and not allowing them to form a union. Some ex-workers have even sued the company for those violations of Greek law.

Greece used to be one of the leading shipbuilders until the 1990s. Recently Greek shipping magnates agreed to buy 142 new ships from Chinese shipbuilders.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2013/0521/Greek-PM-invites-China-to-join-Greece-s-success-story

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An article in the UK Guardian says, “Talk of recovery in Greece is premature – and is all about justifying austerity.”

Over the past few weeks, Athens’ politicians have been trying to convince the world that happy days are here again. Prime minister Antonis Samaras now talks of the Greek “success story”. The boss of the central bank and the finance minister claim that Greece has turned a corner. Editorialists in the national press and parts of the international financial press dutifully nod their assent. And those with Greek or European assets to sell clap along: “Forget Grexit – it could be Greecovery instead.”

By lying that Greece is fine, we lie that austerity is fine. More than one in four Greeks are out of a job; of young Greeks, nearly two in three. Around 60% of those out of work haven’t been employed in more than a year. The health system has all but collapsed. Journalists are persecuted for telling the truth — e.g. Kostas Vaxevanis, severely attacked for publishing a list of super-rich tax dodgers.

While the Greek economy remains catatonic and civil society is in crisis, all such boosterism amounts to is a version of claiming the operation was successful, but the patient died.

Two summers ago, I sat with economist Yanis Varoufakis on his balcony overlooking the Acropolis, and asked him to sum up the outlook for Greece. “It’s in freefall.” Last night, I asked him the same question. “It’s still in freefall.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/03/recovery-greece-premature-justifying-austerity

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