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View Diary: The Euro Crisis by the numbers (165 comments)

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  •  Here's his point: (12+ / 0-)

    At the beginning of the Austrian Crisis Ludwig von Mises (of Austrian School of Economics fame) was appointed to a Federal panel to find solutions. His proposal was so inflammatory he had to publish it separately. Mises' argument, surprise, surprise, was that the crisis was caused by those greedy unions, and that Government interference would be required to crush them. To an alarmed colleague who asked him how come Mises suddenly favored Government interference in crushing workers, Mises answered that it was worth it.

    When the Kreditanstalt Crisis hit, one representative of the reactionaries in the Austrian Parliament referred in these words to Hugo Breitner, the brilliant orchestrator of the socialized system of taxation that had brought Vienna back from ruin:

    Only when this Asiatic's head rolls in the dust will victory be ours!

    (Breitner, obviously, was Jewish.)

    A few years later the Army and right-wing militias bombed the greedy workers housing in Vienna, making the Anschluss inevitable.  I won't go into the economic calculations behind the Anschluss, but they're pretty relevant as well.

    WOID: a journal of visual language http://theorangepress.com/woid

    by WOIDgang on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 09:39:13 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Point? (0+ / 0-)

      1) What does Austrian politics or economics in the 1930s have to do with any assertion anybody has made here? Please be very specific, because I'm really puzzled as to what you're addressing.

      2) Assuming Breitner put together some "socialized" taxation system and that it was the cause of some improvement in Vienna, how does this apply to the USSR in the same period? And what the heck does Breitner being Jewish have to do with anything under discussion?

      3) You seriously believe that, had rightist elements in Austria been put under a tight lid, Hitler would lost any interest in forcible unification? An issue so politically potent that it had been particularly forbidden by the Versailles Treaty—but Hitler, given his devotion to both the treaty and the rule of law, would have kept German troops within the treaty borders? I'm doubtful.

        •  Let me help you out, hmi: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gjohnsit

          Start with Charles A. Gulick, "Austria. From Habsburg to Hitler." Still the standard introductory survey. Steven Beller, "A Concise History of Austria" has a few superb chapters, and is obviously more up-to-date.

          WOID: a journal of visual language http://theorangepress.com/woid

          by WOIDgang on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 08:54:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  You hate communism, fine! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GayHillbilly, gjohnsit

        I agree, but the nit-picking and faux obtuseness seems inconsistent with someone that self-identified as having 40 years of studying and teaching American government in their resume.

        Additionally, if all that wisdom and experience leads you to this conclusion:

        I am strongly of the opinion that it is unlikely that fascism (in any clear meaning of the term) would be a likely outcome.

        then I would say that Sinclair Lewis and Smedley Butler, among many others, would disagree.

        I'm a bit more agnostic.

        The money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working on the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed. ~ Abraham Lincoln

        by ozsea1 on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 11:23:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Post WW1 Vienna (8+ / 0-)
      Social situation after World War I
      ....
      The middle classes, many of whom had bought War Bonds that were now worthless, were plunged into poverty by hyperinflation.
      The Imperial-Royal Government had passed a Tenant Protection Act (Mieterschutzgesetz) in 1917 which had been declared applicable in Vienna immediately[4]. Despite the high inflation, the act ordered the rents for flats to be frozen at the level of 1914. This made new private housing projects unprofitable. After the war, demand for affordable flats therefore grew extremely high. Creating public housing projects became the main concern of the Social Democrats in Vienna.
      From 1925 (the year in which a strong Schilling currency replaced the devalued Krone) to 1934, more than 60,000 new flats were built in so-called Gemeindebau ("community construction") buildings. Large blocks were situated around green courts, for instance at Karl-Marx-Hof (one of the hot spots in the civil war of 1934) or at George Washington Court. The tenants of the new flats were chosen on the basis of a ranking system in which e.g. persons with handicaps got extra points to be chosen earlier. Forty percent of building costs were taken from the proceeds of the Vienna Housing Tax, the rest from the proceeds of the Vienna Luxury Tax and from federal funds. Using public money to cover building costs allowed the rents for these flats to be kept very low: for a worker's household, rent took 4 percent of household income; in private buildings it had been 30 percent. If tenants became ill or unemployed, rent payments could be postponed.
      The Social Democrats introduced new taxes by state law, which were collected in addition to federal taxes (critics called them "Breitner Taxes" after Hugo Breitner, city councillor for finance). These taxes were imposed on luxury: on riding-horses, large private cars, servants in private households, and hotel rooms. (To demonstrate the practical effect of these new taxes, the municipality published a list of social institutions that could be financed by the servants tax the Vienna branch of the Rothschild family had to pay.)

      Another new tax, the Wohnbausteuer (Housing Construction Tax), was also structured as a progressive tax, i.e. levied in rising percentages. The income from this tax was used to finance the municipality's extensive housing programme. Therefore many Gemeindebauten today still bear the inscription: Erbaut aus den Mitteln der Wohnbausteuer (built from the proceeds of the Housing Construction Tax).

      As a result of the municipality's investment activity, the rate of unemployment in Vienna dropped in relation to the rest of Austria and to Germany. All investments were financed directly by taxes, not by credits. Thus the city administration stayed independent of creditors and did not have to pay interest on bonds.

      Hugo Breitner, in contrast to the Austrian Social Democrats after 1945, consistently refused to take up credits to finance social services. These services consequently had to be cut down when, in the early thirties, the federal government started to starve Vienna financially.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      •  Breitner, BTW, (0+ / 0-)

        would pull stunts like imposing an extra luxury tax on Viennese creampuffs at the fancy cafes, the proceeds to go directly to low-cost dental care for workers' families....

        WOID: a journal of visual language http://theorangepress.com/woid

        by WOIDgang on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 08:45:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you (8+ / 0-)

      I always knew that followers of Mises tended towards fascism, but I never knew that he was an outright fascist.

      "It smelled like tear gas but it tasted like victory." - Egyptian protester

      by gjohnsit on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 01:08:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Both Mises (3+ / 0-)

        and Hayek have to be read in context, in which case their grand pronouncements turn out to be remarkably ad-hoc petty.. For instance there's a passage in Hayek's Road to Serfdom in which he seems to be arguing for the benefits of national, as opposed to local government. The New York Times got all hot and bothered over this, because it would suggest an economic policy at odd with the States Rights approach of the American right. All Hayek was doing was complaining about the Socialists in Red Vienna, as opposed to the reactionaries who dominated "Black" Austria.

        Cordially,

        WOID: a journal of visual language http://theorangepress.com/woid

        by WOIDgang on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 08:49:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, BTW. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy

          According to Beller, the Anschluss had a strong, basic economic imperative: by 1938 "Austro-Fascists" like Mises had done a superb job of building up Austria's reserves (by crushing the unions and eliminating social benefits), and the Nazis (whose own reserves were near zilch) needed the money to start WWII...

          Thanks as usual for your analyses, gjohnsit.

          WOID: a journal of visual language http://theorangepress.com/woid

          by WOIDgang on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 09:49:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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