With the U.K. in a double-dip recession that is the worst in 50 years, the data also add to pressure on Treasury chief George Osborne, who faces calls to ease the pace of [austerity] measures that critics say are stifling growth.
Applebaum’s 2010 column on Britain’s embrace of austerity deserves to live in infamy. Eskow is correct that she takes palpable glee in economically illiterate actions certain to throw Britain back into recession and harm the working class in order to make the wealthiest Brits even wealthier.
LONDON—Vicious cuts.” “Savage cuts.” “Swingeing cuts.” The language that the British use to describe their new government’s spending-reduction policy is apocalyptic in the extreme. The ministers in charge of the country’s finances are known as “axe-wielders” who will be “hacking” away at the budget. Articles about the nation’s finances are filled with talk of blood, knives, and amputation.
And the British love it. Not only is austerity being touted as the solution to Britain’s economic woes; it is also being described as the answer to the country’s moral failings. On Oct. 20, the government will announce $128 billion worth of spending cuts, and many seem positively excited about it. OK, the trade unions are not so excited, but Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats—the smaller party in the governing coalition—is overjoyed. Recently, he gave a speech in which he explained that tough choices had to be made, so that “we will be able to look our children and grandchildren in the eye and say we did the best for them.
As a journalist, Applebaum knows not to bury the lead. She, appropriately, packs here two first paragraphs with her major themes. Those themes include the most vital issues of economics and governance that (modestly) democratic governments face. Britain was just emerging from recession. The nature of the recovery – modest and slow – was accurately predicted by many economists who had noted that the stimulus measures were grossly inadequate, but barely sufficient to make a quick “double-dip” back into recession unlikely. These accurate economic predictions, of course, did lead to praise for the economists or large popular efforts for greater stimulus to build on the modest successes of the modest stimulus.
Full Story Here: Economic Crisis: Austerity Measures Devastate Europe.
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