Friday, February 22, 2013

Austerity- The Nation Killer

I've seen very little in a long time that makes things as clear as these two charts, from Paul Krugman, via Brad DeLong:

Could anything make it clearer what a total disaster the soak-everyone-but-the-rich doctrine of austerity is?  These graphs are almost unbelievably linear.  And yet, Republicans in the United States, and the fool Obama too, are working every single day to shove our own form of austerity down the throats of the American people, somehow promising that the results will be entirely different.

The exact opposite of "austerity" is what this nation needs.  The rich must be made to pick up the tab for the damage they have done.  We need a lower Social Security age, and higher benefits.  We need a much higher minimum wage.  We need accelerated government spending on infrastructure, so as not to leave our children with a trashed country.  We need a real national health plan, which will drive a stake once and for all into the hearts of the health insurance vampires who are sucking us dry.  I could go on, but why bother, because it seems that we are not going to get any of those things.  What we will get is continued unconscionable breaks for capital gains earnings, massive corporate loopholes, government policies dictated by the hyper-rich, and a steep decline into the third world for the rest of us.  The people with all the money may have been pretty well crushed in the last election, but that hasn't stopped them for one second from doing their worst to suck the United States dry, and so far, they seem to be getting their way.


Jerry Critter said...

These figures are in keeping with most republican economics. Do what the republicans want and disaster will follow.

Magpie said...

Of all of those things a reasonable minimum wage is probably the most important bit.

Once you can make enough money to feed and house yourself… then you’re in the game. Then you can get work experience and learn job skills. Then you can have aspirations.
Crime goes down. Social stability grows, because people suddenly have a stake in their community and just the act of working forges community bonds and creates the personal network by which people can deal with their issues.

It’s fine for conservatives to say you start at the bottom and work your way up – but there has to be an actual bottom instead of a yawning abyss of less-than-subsistence level 'living'.

Contrary to what they believe, capitalism does not live off the rich. It lives off the man or the woman on the factory floor.

Preaching to the choir here, I know, but it can’t be said often enough.

Anonymous said...

Your point is very well taken.
I know a number of people here in Michigan who are entering the work force. Those who have high school diplomas consider themselves lucky to have jobs that pay little more than minimum wage.
Having a factory job here now gives one little more prestige or money than working in a fast food restaurant (in a neighboring town there is a McDonald's that has no teenagers working in it because they can now hire adults for the same wages that they once paid to kids).
If a person is twice late for work in these factories he/she is usually fired on the spot. These jobs are scarce and each worker can be easily replaced.

I know a young mother who drives fifty miles each way to her job. Her shift starts at 3:30 AM. She works ten hour each day for $8.50 an hour. If she is ill she goes to work anyway for fear of being fired.

A fellow I know is 22. He works in a foundry and earns little more than I did nearly forty years ago when I was working in one.

The age peers of these people, at least here, are often wedged into similarly lackluster jobs for poverty wages.

These are people who are abiding by the social contract...and yet
it is not enough. Their "aspirations" do not seem to extend beyond having enough money by the end of the week to pay for the gas to get them to their jobs in this right to work state.

Magpie said...

My heart goes out to those people Anon. It makes me so angry. The dreams of a generation being snuffed out. The bitterness that will carry into the next generation.

The current minimum wage in Australia is nearly 16 dollars an hour, our dollars being roughly on parity with the US dollar. A 3.30 AM start could mean half again or twice that rate.
Imagine how $8.50 sounds to me.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Well... It's not a Disaster if you're very Rich and you want to bring a Nation and it's Peoples to their knees so that you can impose Wage Slavery and Corporate Dominance.