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View Diary: Warning: Swallowing the President's Bitter Pills May Cause Harsh Austerity (246 comments)

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    •  we have living proof (15+ / 0-)

      playing out right before our eyes. not to mention that whole new deal thing, as an example of an alternate path...

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 03:51:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      virginislandsguy

      Because Europe is a country (or we can just talk about it as if it is one) and Europe's economy is just like ours (more or less we can stipulate). Austerity (we don't need to define that, by now everyone should now what that means) was horrible for Europe, and so it will be horrible for us.

      •  i see (16+ / 0-)

        so you are saying that austerity is okay? please tell me where it has worked. and you do realize that each individual european country that is trying austerity also has become an economic disaster, right? i mean you are paying attention, right?

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 04:30:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  She's not paying attention (5+ / 0-)

          We could pretend 1937 never existed(but we won't), the great divergence (1979 to now) and we could even look at the U.K falling back into recession and they have the same monetary system we do if comparison with the eurozone doesn't suit her.

          I don't negotiate grand bargains with deficit terrorists!

          by priceman on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 04:50:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  No Laurence. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          virginislandsguy

          I'm asking that it be defined. I'm well aware of the Keynesian arguments against deficit reduction in a tenuous economy, but it's difficult to have a credible discussion about austerity within the context of the current negotiations without defining what it means.

          For example, does raising the age for Medicare eligibility qualify as an austerity measure?  Obviously that's extremely unpopular but would it have the same effect as an immediate cut in government spending?  There may be many other reasons to oppose such a measure, but I'm not convinced that it's meaningful to talk about it in terms of austerity.

          It's meaningless to speak in generalities about Europe. That's a completely different context. This country has not experienced a currency crisis. Saying "austerity was bad for Europe" without any mention of the Euro crisis is unhelpful.

          •  same effect, no (12+ / 0-)

            but making more seniors have to make the choice between medicine and food hurts them and also sucks money out of the broader economy. so what cuts are okay with you?

            and the euro crisis limits some european nations' options- greece can't devalue its currency- but it is not even remotely the leading cause of the crisis. england is suffering under austerity, and england isn't on the euro.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 04:54:54 PM PST

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            •  I'm not sure what I'd be comfortable with. (0+ / 0-)

              However, I know I'm not comfortable with a discussion premised on the position that any and all cuts to social benefit programs are bad. I think that position is completely irresponsible.  There have been reasoned discussions among fair-minded people about the need to make adjustments to programs like SS and Medicare since long before 2008. I think it's valuable to have honest discussions about what, if any cuts might be necessary to lengthen the solvency of such programs, but this kind of hyperbolic, ideological partisanship that seeks to blame Obama for drowning us in debt or making grandma eat catfood is completely toxic.

              •  there have been discussions (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                priceman, liberaldemdave, TracieLynn

                that social security is going bankrupt since at least reagan.

                it's dishonest to blame obama for our debt, and that is part of the argument we must make. but we must also make the argument that debt is not our worry, right now, and that worrying about it right now could undermine the recovery, which itself obama gets credit for. just look at the different approach he took compared to the european approach- his stimulus wasn't large enough, but it was stimulus, and the economy is slowly recovering thanks to it. europe went the opposite route, and both collectively and individually europe is suffering for it.

                we need to play to our strength, and that is the traditional democratic values of social responsibility and keynesian economics. draw very clear boundaries with the republicans, and don't appease them either on the policy specifics or the narrative. if obama plays into their narrative, the recovery will founder, and he will deserve his share of the blame for it.

                The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                by Laurence Lewis on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:14:19 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  But (6+ / 0-)

                fou, there's no real problem with government solvency in theSee here. a kabuki problem See here.

              •  Any cuts to social programs that have a negative (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                priceman

                impact on beneficiaries are bad.  Period.  That is the responsible position, and should be the position of every Democrat who (a) cares about not harming those in the dawn, the twilight, or the shadows of life (h/t HHH) and (b) wants to win in 2014.

                The average Social Security benefit is $14,000 a year.  More than half of recipients rely on them as their sole or primary means of support.  This is life below the poverty line.  These people cannot absorb cuts to benefits.

                Those "fair-minded people" who advocate for cuts are mostly funded in one way or another by Pete Peterson and his numerous front organizations, or by Wall Street, or both. They will never have to worry about choosing between food or medicine, between heat or a telephone, between gas for the aging car or a warm coat.  Those reasoned discussions always involve the usual suspects like Alice Rivlin, Peter Orzag, Chuck Blahous, Simpson/Bowles, Kent Conrad, Steny Hoyer, Maya MacGuineas and the whole predator crew at CRFB, Third Way, and lately the Center for American Progress, which received some Peterson largesse. They have nice salaries, sit on corporate boards, and look forward to comfortable retirement packages.  They, and the corporate media that shills for their point of view, will never have to worry about whether they can afford to feed a child whose sole lifeline is survivor's benefits.  

                You have drunk their Koolaid if you believe that such sacrifices are necessary.  They aren't.

          •  I'll tell you what it means (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TheMomCat, priceman

            It means any enforced cut in deficits that don't occur naturally as part of the process of the expansion of the economy. See here.

          •  Good God...of course it's a cut (6+ / 0-)

            If you can't access benefits for two more years of your life you just might die. that's how bad private insurance is. I can't believe you don't know that from Paul Ryan's voucher comment. It's 2% administrative costs versus 33% Do the math. When you don't have money in your pocket and instead it is all going to inefficient private health care when you are old and care is more expensive it is cutting benefits which is austerity. Cutting benefits for social programs is austerity.

            It's not meaningless at all and there is no currency crisis in the EU. Not yet anyway, the crisis is fiscal with countries that do not control the euro and can't inflate their debts just like states here have to balance their budgets but the federal government doesn't have to and passes aid to them unlike the European Central Bank who is more worried about inflation(which is not happening in a meaningful way) so they are not buying up bonds as they should from countries indebted and there s no fiscal authority allowed to step in and spend money in the countries that need it in the eurozone many because of our housing bubble like Spain that we exported over there.

            Conceivably these problems will continue and cause investors to fly from the euro if more countries in the euro leave the euro and there is no stability of any of the nations because of the flawed structure, but it has everything to do with austerity as a failure which relates to here. The U.K can inflate and control their currency like we can, but they also took the austerity route and plunged them back into recession. IN times of high unemployment and low demand, balancing the budget s austerity because of the sectoral balances between public and private in which deficits are always needed if there is a trade deficit or it doesn't balance OUT.

            There are more important things than worshipping a politician and coming up with gobbly goop to protect whatever he does.

            I don't negotiate grand bargains with deficit terrorists!

            by priceman on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:44:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  the problem is when people debate an issue (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              priceman, divineorder, gerrilea

              from an abstract point of view.

              it's really easy to *say* you would take a cut in your medicare or would be thrilled to wait until you are 67 to retire if you aren't disabled with a life threatening (financially destructive) terminal illness or if you're in your 30's. different ball of wax altogether.

            •  This is dog shit ignorant. (0+ / 0-)
              Conceivably these problems will continue and cause investors to fly from the euro if more countries in the euro leave the euro and there is no stability of any of the nations because of the flawed structure, but it has everything to do with austerity as a failure which relates to here.
              You spend so much time carping about the Obama administration, that you have no idea that austerity measures imposed on Greece were so imposed to prevent the breakup of the Eurozone.  But according to your completely bogus ideology, austerity has no conceivable benefit for anyone anywhere.  Greece should just default on its debt and see the collapse of its formal economy because anything is preferable to austerity.  According to your knee-jerk bullshit, austerity measures being discussed here in the US can be compared to those in Europe (even though this country does not exist among a union of countries that share a common currency) such that if austerity is bad here, it must be bad there.  If the fiscal problems in Europe are related to those here through the housing crisis that must mean that all of our problems are the same, and that, oh no! poor grandma might die because Obama aided and abetted the same greedy bankers that forced austerity on US and on the Europeans.

              Honestly, Obama has betrayed you so many times already, that I don't understand why you continue to believe you can hold him accountable.  Why do you bother anymore?  Obviously no one gives a fuck.  He was re-elected comfortably despite making a sport of killing whomever he likes whenever he likes and making your grandmother eat cat food.

              I suppose you'll withhold your vote when he betrays you again?  Or are you going to go and squat in a park again?  Or hold one of those circle-jerk rituals where everyone repeats what the moron at the mic just said?  I must say, it is a wonder that you never get tired of being his victim.  I love the guy, but I'm not nearly as loyal to him as you are.

              •  Please. You celebrate failure and ignorance. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                shaharazade
                You spend so much time carping about the Obama administration, that you have no idea that austerity measures imposed on Greece were so imposed to prevent the breakup of the Eurozone.
                There was a bailout package orchestrated and agreed on by the EU finance ministry and the ECB to make bond holders whole while digging pounds of flesh from the Greek people. No it is not going to keep Greece or the Eurozone in tact in the long run.

                The Greek economy just shrank 7.2%. Austerity is not working. Stop professing proud ignorance ; the most dangerous ignorance of all.

                But according to your completely bogus ideology, austerity has no conceivable benefit for anyone anywhere.  Greece should just default on its debt and see the collapse of its formal economy because anything is preferable to austerity.  According to your knee-jerk bullshit, austerity measures being discussed here in the US can be compared to those in Europe (even though this country does not exist among a union of countries that share a common currency) such that if austerity is bad here, it must be bad there.
                Show me a country with full employment and it's own currency and then I'll endorse some measures of austerity so as to keep inflation in check. Anyone who can read my comment can clearly see I acknowledged the differences between the eurozone and the US,
                It's not meaningless at all and there is no currency crisis in the EU. Not yet anyway, the crisis is fiscal with countries that do not control the euro and can't inflate their debts just like states here have to balance their budgets but the federal government doesn't have to and passes aid to them unlike the European Central Bank who is more worried about inflation(which is not happening in a meaningful way) so they are not buying up bonds as they should from countries indebted and there s no fiscal authority allowed to step in and spend money in the countries that need it in the eurozone many because of our housing bubble like Spain that we exported over there.
                but also compared it to out fiscal authority in our federal government which provides aids to individual states whereas the Eurozone does not have a similar fiscal authority allowed to do so and the countries are on their own in the eurozone and they get no help from the European central bank to inflate debts because they have an irrational fear of inflation(it's an overall bad model). So no, anyone who can read knows my comments is right on.

                Spending is income. My income. Your income. When a country doesn't spend when there is no demand, there is no growth. When there is no growth, there is no revenue. Therefore the same revenue individual states need here in the US, countries also need in the eurozone except their central bank is terrible and there is no fiscal authority that can spend euros like the US Congress can spend dollars. I'm sorry you have such a hard time understanding that, but you'll never learn with your putrid attitude which makes me wonder how old you really are every time I see any of your chicken scratch commentary.

                And yes Greece ultimately would be better off if they left they defaulted, brought back the Drachma, and left the eurozone because this will happen again. Argentina defaulted in 2001 and told the IMF(which also now even agrees that austerity is a failure) to shove it and they were better off. I'm not the only one who thinks so either via Marshall Auerback.

                And it's been pointed out multiple times that the UK has its own currency like us and imposed austerity and also fell back into recession so your magical belief in austerity to protect the one you idolize above all economic facts and reason is a failure like your attempt to misread and misinterpret my comment which was and is clear as day.

                Only dogshit ignorance thinks sucking income out of an economy that needs the consumption of goods and services somehow "works" as you say. Falling into recession is apparently "working" in your world.

                If the fiscal problems in Europe are related to those here through the housing crisis that must mean that all of our problems are the same, and that, oh no! poor grandma might die because Obama aided and abetted the same greedy bankers that forced austerity on US and on the Europeans.
                Our monetary and fiscal systems are not the same but either way austerity fails the same way. The Housing Bubble infected public pensions in Spain like it affected public pensions in WI and other US states causing shortfalls. So you are clearly out of your element.

                You are not qualified to speak on these matters. that's for sure, but frankly I know you don't care. But I do care about the people affected by the failures and those celebrating the failures of austerity such as yourself. You lack all sorts of knowledge and specifically etiquette. Always have. What's worse is that you are proud of it.

                Just don't expect people not to call you on your BS as I just did.

                I don't negotiate grand bargains with deficit terrorists!

                by priceman on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 01:20:38 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Oh priceman. (0+ / 0-)
                  Just don't expect people not to call you on your BS as I just did.
                  I'm disappointed.  I thought you had all these new schemes to hold Obama accountable.  I was really looking forward to hearing them, but it seems that now that the election's over, you've been reduced to calling me on my bullshit.  Well I suppose I'm flattered by the attention, but I don't think you should give up so easily.  How about a drum circle at the White House as soon as Obama even thinks about stealing grandma's Social Security benefits?
                  And yes Greece ultimately would be better off if they left they defaulted, brought back the Drachma, and left the eurozone because this will happen again. Argentina defaulted in 2001 and told the IMF(which also now even agrees that austerity is a failure) to shove it and they were better off. I'm not the only one who thinks so either via Marshall Auerback.
                  Better that more countries be worse off in the short-run because many years from now, Greece will be better.  And you know this because a completely different country in a completely different economic context was "better off" because they told the IMF to "shove it."

                  Wow, okay.  

                  Only dogshit ignorance thinks sucking income out of an economy that needs the consumption of goods and services somehow "works" as you say. Falling into recession is apparently "working" in your world.
                  Well yeah.  I can understand why you're confused here.  You believe that austerity "doesn't work" because it fails to "work" as a stimulus would.  Tell me priceman, do you also believe that your car key "doesn't work" because it doesn't open your front door?  My magic 8-ball tells me "definitely yes."
                  •  Done arguing with a proud ignorant fool (0+ / 0-)
                    Better that more countries be worse off in the short-run because many years from now, Greece will be better.  And you know this because a completely different country in a completely different economic context was "better off" because they told the IMF to "shove it."
                    No, the default would probably force Portugal, Ireland, and others to do the same instead of withering on the vine which you call, "saving the eurozone." Mario Blejer, who managed Argentina’s central bank in the aftermath of the world’s biggest sovereign default, said Greece should halt payments on its debt to stop a deterioration of the economy that threatens the European Union. lol. I think he knows a little more about his "economic context" than you.

                    Yeah it's the economy that threatens the eurozone as I also tried to explain to you, but "whoosh." Default because of too much debt and a failing economy is a default because of too much debt and a falling economy. Argentina's currency was pegged to the US dollar so they didn't really have control of it before they defaulted so it's really not that different when we're speaking of defaults, but I don't know why I think you care about facts so I will stop pretending that you do. It's really pathetic. And yeah, you better ignore the UK example.

                    Well yeah.  I can understand why you're confused here.  You believe that austerity "doesn't work" because it fails to "work" as a stimulus would.  Tell me priceman, do you also believe that your car key "doesn't work" because it doesn't open your front door?  My magic 8-ball tells me "definitely yes."
                    There is a plant watering service that consists of the public sector of watering and Private sector. Your statement to me is like magical thinking of an economy that is dying like a plant because the daily watering of that plant is cut off by the main private water source. And when those plead for more of the public watering resource to step in to compensate and save the plant because it is withering, there are those like you that say:
                    "How do you know watering the plant will save it? I read some story about a plant that died because it was over-watered. IN fact I thnk we need to cut off more of the public water!"
                    To which we replay to look at it! It's dying! Leaves are falling off! It is hunched over! Plants need water to live like economies need money circulated to function, you fool! This is basic demand side economics!

                    So that's the metaphor, not your dumbass car/house key metaphor. lol.

                    It does no good to argue with someone whom is proud of not knowing these things. Like I said, just don't expect not to be called on it.

                    I don't negotiate grand bargains with deficit terrorists!

                    by priceman on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 01:58:54 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

    •  We've been on a regime of austerity for more than (29+ / 0-)

      30 years:  flat wages, untaxing FIRE and taxing labor (thus further reducing labor's share of economic gains), increasing the share of household income devoted to interest payments by replacing fair wages with debt, reducing the purchasing power of wages through decreasing public investment in education, replacing pensions with 401K plans, etc....

      We've had lots of austerity, that's why.  The result has been that 93% of productivity gains now go to 1% of the population.

      What we don't need is even more austerity.

    •  Just gotta give it more time.... (0+ / 0-)

      Just wasnt enacted correctly...
      Waited too late for it to be effective...
      America is a different situation...
      We can make it work with good ol American hard work and sacrifice...

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