Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.
The tag 'austerity' is associated with 36 posts.

The New World Ordoliberalism, Part 7: To QE, or Not to QE, That is the Ominous Question

As the European Central Bank (ECB) continues to wrestle with the decision of when and how quickly to wind down its quantitative easing (QE) program while inflation remains stubbornly below the 2 percent target and likely to stay well below 2 percent for the foreseeable future, it’s worth noting that there’s a new nightmare to add to the equation: The euro has surged in value this year, a move that not only depresses exports in recovery economies like Spain and Portugal but also depresses inflation. And one of the things holding down the value of the euro is the ECB’s QE program. So if the ECB tapers off the QE too early and quickly it’s going to make an overly-strong euro even stronger while dragging inflation even lower, potentially derailing fragile recoveries in the austerity-inflicted member states. And that means not sending the wrong signals is a key goal of the ECB is things are going to go smoothly. Guess which signals are being sent.


Guess What? Grandma is Moving In. She’s Got Medical Bills. Maybe to Share. It’s Medicaid Brought to You by Kochcare.

Is kicking senior citizens out of nursing homes good politics? That’s a question GOP asking itself these days. One of many questions related to the politics of health care. Although not many are asking it since the public largely has no idea the question is being asked at all as recent polls show. With the Senate’s version of ‘Trumpcare’ finally released to the public, we’re now learning that, yes, the GOP appears to think kicking seniors out their nursing homes is good politics. Because transferring Medicaid costs to states and individuals has been a key GOP goal of Trumpcare’s congressional authors the entire time and nursing homes are paid for by Medicaid for the vast majority of people. So in addition to the many profound moral questions raised by the GOP’s health care ‘reform’ plans, a growing number of profound political questions are being raised the more we learn about Trumpcare as it takes form. Including whether or not putting nursing home coverage on a fiscal death spiral makes for good politics. Granny would probably say ‘no’, but she’s got competition.


Trumplandian Feudalism: Employ the Unemployed While Still Starving Them

Did Trump suddenly drop his oft-repeated criticism of tradition unemployment reporting and assertions that in reality its 42 percent and 94 million American adults are out of work? Well, as we’re going to see, probably not because his administration is still planning on redefining the “official” unemployment rate to be much “looser” and his claims that 42 percent if American adults are out of work are necessary to achieve a long-held GOP goal championed by House Speaker Paul Ryan: converting the US safety-net – including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security – into a “work for a pittance to get a pittance of government support”-net that traps the poor in system where if you have to find full time work to get any help at all. Maybe even for the elderly. And the help you get in return for that work-requirement will keep shrinking year after year. It’s a plan that can’t happen unless almost all non-working adults are defined as “unemployed”. So, no, Trump didn’t change his mind. He just still thinks we’re all stupid (maybe).


Killing Granny: The GOP’s “One Size Fits All” Death Panel for Health Care

Change is coming to Washington DC. Mostly horrible changes. But as we’ll see in this post, there is one very significant and positive change coming as a consequence of the unified GOP control of the White House and Congress: GOP is actually going to start getting the blame it deserves for all the damage its pro-oligarch/anti-everyone-else agenda routinely inflicts upon the American people. Politics can be frustrating for a myriad of reasons, but one of the biggest sources of frustration is the cloud of perpetual obfuscation and confusion that tends to permeate the political discourse and collective understanding of what’s actually happening, why it’s happening, and who should be rewarded or blamed for it. But for the next couple of years, at a minimum, it’s going to be very clear who to blame for the damage DC is about to unleash, and it’s not just going to be Donald Trump. And when it comes to health care “reform” (privatization) that the GOP is about to impose upon the populace, that blame is about to get dangerously diffusive for state legislatures and governorships because the Health Care Austerity Hot Potato is about to get tossed in their laps over and over. Indefinitely. And since the GOP controls almost all state legislatures and governorships at the moment they won’t be able to prevent themselves from slashing these programs. So with the coming block granting of first Medicaid and then Medicare (or maybe both together), the politics of health care is about to get weird. And tragic because the GOP won’t be able to help itself with all the austerity


The New World Ordoliberalism Part 6: The QE Taper Caper and the Portuguese Squeeze

In this chapter of our exploration of what’s wrong with the eurozone we’re going to take a look at the evolving nature of the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) quantitative easing (QE) program. Specifically, how the QE program was facing a set of obstacles that was going to require some tweaking to the program and how the solution to the obstacle was to basically choose the tweaks that harmed the weak, in particular Portugal. In favor of Germany, of course. Keep in mind that Portugal recently formed a left-wing anti-austerity government and has done relatively economically well since coming into power . Also keep in mind that Portugal is one of the few eurozone nations not facing a rising far-right “populist” movement as a response to its harsh austerity program. So you might say the timing is “right” for some preferential treatment of Portugal. Preferentially bad treatment.


Krugmenistan vs the Permahawks

Lift Off! That was the announcement by the Federal Reserve this week when the world’s biggest and most influential central bank started the long awaited raising of its benchmark short-term rate a quarter point from near-zero levels, marking the first time the Fed has raised rates since 2006. It was big news, except this rate hike was telegraphed for quite a while now and virtually everyone was expecting the Fed to do exactly what it did, so it’s not as big as it could have been. If the Fed had decided not to raise rates, despite all the telegraphing, that probably would have been a bigger story. But would it have been a bad story if the Fed decided to keep rates at their current near-zero levels? There’s a big debate in the economic community over that. And it’s a debate that pits prudent economists with excellent track-records like Paul Krugman, someone who opposed the Fed’s December “lift off” decision, against the broad array of “permahawks”. But it’s not just the question with respect to Fed. The European Central Bank made a policy announcement this month too regarding its stimulus measure and it was indeed rather surprising. And as we’re also going to see in this post, it was surprising in the way that just might have done serious damage to not just the credibility of ECB President Mario Draghi but the ECB itself. Or at least credibility in the ECB’s commitment to its single mandate of keeping inflation hovering around 2 percent.

To placate permahawks (to maintain credibility) or not placate the permahawks (to maintain credibility)? That is the question. Or at least one of the questions central banks face. Unfortunately.


Germany, Greece and Franco’s Blue Division

Wolfgang Schauble (Germany’s Finance Minister) has stated that Germany needn’t repay the billions it stole from Greece during World War II, because a government is not obligated to fulfill the pledges of previous regimes. The fact that Germany continues to pay pensions to veterans of Spain’s Blue Division (which fought on the Eastern Front during World War II) suggests that the German government’s judgments are self-servingly selective. All of the contents of this website as of 12/19/2014–Dave Emory’s 35+ years of research and broadcasting–as well as hours of videotaped lectures are available on a 32GB flash drive. Dave offers his programs and articles for free–your support is very much appreciated.


See Dick and Jane “Tote That Barge and Lift That Bale”

Evolved from the Hindu nationalist/fascist party the RSS, Narendra Modi is undermining India’s laws prohibiting child labor. All of the contents of this website as of 12/19/2014–Dave Emory’s 35+ years of research and broadcasting–as well as hours of videotaped lectures are available on a 32GB flash drive. Dave offers his programs and articles for free–your support is very much appreciated.


Greek Privatization Proceeds for Anti-Poverty Policies? Probably Not, But We’ll See

With negotiations between Greece and the troika over how to resolve the latest austerity-impasse still ongoing, Greece make an intriguing offer: Continue with the privatization of state assets that the troika demands, use the proceeds on Greece’s humanitarian crises instead of immediately paying back Greece’s creditors. And while the troika has yet to formally rule out Greece’s proposal, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker made an uncharacteristic offer last week of 2 billion euros to “support efforts to create growth and social cohesion in Greece”. Considering virtually all past attitudes by the troika regarding Greece’s “growth and social cohesion”. So by wrapping its humanitarian aid proposal within a privatization mandate Greece did the seemingly impossible: the troika’s position on Greece is slightly less crazy than before. That almost never happens. And still probably isn’t happening.


Greek Prime Minister Continues to Pursue World War II Reparations from Germany

As discussed in FTR #788, Germany has NOT reimbursed Greece for the enormous damage wrought during World War II. Once again, that purloined wealth and the Bormann capital network that was the vehicle for the reinvestment of the Nazis’ World War II loot is center stage. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsirpas is demanding that the money be repaid. Tsirpas’ demand focuses attention on a dynamic that lies at the foundation of 20th and 21st capital flows. All of the contents of this website as of 12/19/2014–Dave Emory’s 35+ years of research and broadcasting–as well as hours of videotaped lectures are available on a 32GB flash drive. Dave offers his programs and articles for free–your support is very much appreciated.