Europe Chooses Depression
By MIKE WHITNEY
Forget about a smooth recovery. Finance ministers and central bank governors of the G-20, met this weekend in Busan, South Korea and decided to substitute "tried and true" expansionary fiscal policies for their own strange brew of belt-tightening and austerity measures. The EU members are eager to restore the illusory "confidence of the markets", something that will surely be lost when the eurozone slides back into recession and the hobbled banking sector begins hemorrhaging red ink. Trimming deficits while the economy is still on the mend will weaken demand and force businesses to lay off more workers. That will decrease economic activity and slow growth. It's a prescription for disaster.
Here's the final paragraph from the G 20 communique:
“The recent events highlight the importance of sustainable public finances and the need for our countries to put in place credible, growth-friendly measures, to deliver fiscal sustainability, differentiated for and tailored to national circumstances. Those countries with serious fiscal challenges need to accelerate the pace of consolidation. We welcome the recent announcements by some countries to reduce their deficits in 2010 and strengthen their fiscal frameworks and institutions. Within their capacity, countries will expand domestic sources of growth, while maintaining macroeconomic stability." more
Memo to Deficit Hawks: Let’s Get the Facts Right
Wednesday, 06/9/2010 - 10:53 am
by Henry Liu
Think the deficit hawks have it all right about ‘entitlements’, spending cuts and the debt crisis? Think again.
A Panic Wave of Demand for Fiscal Austerity
The sovereign debt crisis in Greece has sparked a panic wave of radical policy demands for fiscal discipline throughout the European Union from a perverse coalition of neoliberal public finance ideologues and anti-government conservatives. Proponents of fiscal discipline argue that the EMU and its common currency, the euro, would not be sustainable without the drastic restructuring of public finance in all eurozone member states through a combination of tax increases and deficit reduction through fiscal austerity. But creditors, mostly transnational banks, will be protected from having to accept “haircuts” on their holdings of sovereign debt.
Yet such harsh approaches of tight fiscal austerity at a time when the global recession of 2008 is still waiting in vain for a recovery will risk increasing the danger of a double dip recession in 2011 in a secular bear market. The alarmist voices of these fiscal deficit hawks clamor for fiscal austerity programs that are essentially punitive for eurozone workers while continuing to tolerate abusive financial market manipulation that will benefit only the financial elite as the economic pain is passed on to the general public.
Bank Creditors against Wage Earners
Fiscal deficits across the eurozone are to be reduced by cutting public sector wages and social benefit and subsidy expenditures so that transnational bank creditors will be paid in full while turning a blind eye to blatant tax evasion and avoidance by the rich with non-wage income that contribute to loss of government revenue and fiscal deficits. The dysfunctional disparity of income and polarization of wealth between the wage-earning masses and the financial elite with income from profit and capital gain, are the main causes of overcapacity in the economy. In past decades, the neoliberal response to overcapacity was to shy away from the obvious solution of raising wages, turning instead to flooding the economy with huge mountains of consumer and corporate debt that eventually resulted in a tsunami of borrower defaults that turned into a global credit crisis. Yet repeating the same response to the current crisis will lead only to another global crisis down the road.
While the culprits of the global credit meltdown of 2008 have been bailed out with the public’s future tax money, the sovereign debt crisis across the globe is blamed on innocent wage earners for receiving supposedly unsustainably high wages and excessive social benefits that allegedly threaten the competitiveness of economies in a globalized trade regime designed to push wages down everywhere. more