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As Even Germany Gives Up Austerity, Here’s A Look At Where This ‘Dangerous Idea’ Came From

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As Even Germany Gives Up Austerity, Here’s A Look At Where This ‘Dangerous Idea’ Came From


Though we never really tried a stimulus, America mostly avoided austerity — extreme budget cutting during a recession to reduce debt — by delaying real cuts to the federal budget until this year, when cuts on the state and local levels are finally ending.

Europe hasn’t been so lucky, as this 2012 chart from Business Insider‘s Joe Weisenthal shows.

uk vs us vs euro


But even Germany, the country that forced the rest of the Eurozone into cutting when they should be spending, is ready to give up on this dangerous idea and try some stimulus — after its unemployment rate increased four times more than expected.

If you’ve ever wondered where the lust for austerity — or the “pain caucus,” as Paul Krugman calls its proponents — came from, you’ve got to check out this talk from Mark Blyth, author of Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea.

Blyth calls himself a perfect example of the social mobility made possible by the welfare state, and said he decided to take on austerity because it pissed him off so much.

Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 4.50.31 PM


  1. Anomaly 100 May 29, 2013

    They suffer from psycho-dyslexia. It’s the math…

  2. Dominick Vila May 30, 2013

    The last thing a country needs at a time of economic uncertainty is an austerity program. The key to economic prosperity and growth, especially in a country who economy depends on consumer confidence and spending, is investment.
    The effects of reduced spending, and neglecting our infrastructure in favor of military spending for decades, should be evident to everyone living in the USA. Our bridges are collapsing, many of our roads are in an advanced state of disrepair, our ports and airports are not as sophisticated as those in other industrialized nations, our levees are an embarrassment, our power grid is antiquated and inefficient…and Chinese companies are buying our corporations because we rather buy a new cell phone made in China than pay a few more dollars to allow our country to develop new technologies and concepts and make the improvements necessary to remain competitive and keep up with the rest of the world.
    Fiscal integrity is an absolute necessity, but measures to achieve that goal must be implemented carefully and at times of prosperity rather than at a time when stimulii is needed to get things moving.
    On the Smithfield issue, I think it is important to remember that such purchases are consistent with the nature of a global economy, and that there is a silver lining behind this issue. China has been plagued by scandals and claims of contaminated food. It consumes almost half of all the pork produced in the world, and American pig farmers are likely to benefit from their culinary preferences.

  3. 2hheels2 May 30, 2013

    The republican party will not be happy until they break the back of America. This is not the party I grew up with. There are going to be more and more people leaving this party. The GOP is more about controversy and scandal than doing one thing to get America back to work. They have 32 Jobs bill that create zero jobs. The party leadership has been lead around by the nose by corporate money and the one percent. They are not listening to anyone else but these powers.

  4. Garry Owen Ault May 30, 2013

    Our esteemed House of Repubs/TeaTwirps has decided that following the lead of the European Union is the way to Glory, However, this is not something they really became aware of until the Capitol was swarming with Lobby types with Very Large Amounts of Money to make them see the “Light” coming from the One Per Centers.


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