The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019

They Have It Worse: Greece Approves More “Brutal” Budget Cuts

Having already faced off intense–and violent–public opposition to immense austerity measures, Greeks got another taste today:

Greece has approved an austerity bill that helps pull their debt-ridden country back from the brink of an immediate default. After days of public unrest and impassioned debate, the Greek parliament voted 155-138 on Wednesday in favor of the controversial bill, which authorizes $40 billion in brutal budget cuts and tax hikes over the next several years for a nation already reeling from previous belt-tightening measures.

The tense legislative showdown came as the country continued to squirm in the grip of a 48-hour nationwide strike and as tens of thousands of angry protesters thronged downtown Athens in noisy opposition to the austerity package. Police in riot gear scuffled with some demonstrators and tried to contain the kind of violence that on Tuesday left dozens of people injured, shop windows smashed and tourists running to escape tear-gas fumes.

The government says the new spending cutbacks — some of the toughest in recent memory — are imperative if Greece is to stave off having to declare bankruptcy in a matter of weeks.

Without the new austerity package, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have threatened to withhold the next installment of funds from the financial bailout they granted Greece last year. That would leave Athens unable to pay bills coming due in mid-July.

For all of the outrage at spending cuts–threatened and real–American workers continue to be relatively polite in their anger compared to their European (Socialist) counterparts, as the peaceful protests in Wisconsin and other states that have curtailed workers’ rights and benefits have shown.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Leopard 2 tanks

This is the latest report in my months-long coverage of the war in Ukraine. For more reporting like this, and to read my screeds about the reprehensible Republican Party, please consider becoming a paid subscriber.

Keep reading...Show less
Youtube Screenshot

With Republicans once again setting the stage for gridlock in Congress over raising the U.S. Treasury's statutory debt limit, and using interviews to push disingenuous analogies comparing the federal government’s budgeting practices to that of an average American household. The real danger is that mainstream media could fall for this misleading comparison and pressure Democrats into enacting painful cuts to popular social programs, while also letting Republicans off the hook for their role in manufacturing this crisis in the first place.

These comparisons between federal and household budgets go back many years, and they ignore some glaring differences: Unlike a household or business, the U.S. government issues its own currency and can roll over its own debt. The political utility of this comparison, however, is that it has enabled conservatives to target social programs, while they avoid answering for their own role in running up the public debt through unfunded tax cuts under Republican administrations.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}