Skip to main content

View Diary: Did U.S. just implement more severe austerity measures than Great Britain? A quick response (118 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Gov't funding cuts have been occurring for more... (16+ / 0-)

    ...than two years in Great Britain.  This effort (apart from cutbacks in government employment, which has been ongoing here for quite awhile, and it's been a major problem here for just as long, too) is just getting underway in the U.S. Let's agree to discuss this comparison in 12 months, and then again, another 12 months after that.

    Hmmm...and, now that I think about, let's agree to circle back around on this topic in May, too!

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:01:20 PM PST

    •  But then why make the comparison (28+ / 0-)

      The US economy is growing, house builds up, unemployment down - UNLIKE the UK and Spain.

      So there's no analogy. Even in six months there will be no analogy. We've flatlined for four years. You haven't.

      Please be more sensitive to the real sufferings of Brits and Spaniards before you use us as shrouds to be waved. We'd have your last four years at the drop of a hat

      The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

      by Brit on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:05:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why make the comparison? This is very hard (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chuckvw

        to get from you, Brit. Even if you disagree with Plumer's numbers, angle, whatever - you're a writer. And a pundit. I think if you take a filter or two of you could answer the "Why?" question by yourself.

      •  I'm NOT making the comparisons... (14+ / 0-)

        ...I'm reporting on others that are. Then I'm asking for discussion about the matter in my post, as well!

        Sorry, but there's NOTHING to "debate" here. And, that may be the GREATER truth as far as your post is concerned, quite frankly. I went to significant lengths to state that in my post, too! (But, it's okay, there are a LOT of folks in this community that don't understand that, on a variety of issues; and that's been a greater truth for many years as far as MANY of my posts are concerned, too; so, you're not alone.)

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:15:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hey, I appreciate the perspective you're... (10+ / 0-)

          ...bringing to the discussion. But, it's definitely NOT a "debate." You could have posted this (your diary) as a comment in my post, in fact. I'm not a professional economist. Never claimed to be one. And, frankly, I look askance at many/most of those in the media and the blogosphere that pretend otherwise. (And, nipping this in the bud, I am NOT saying that you're doing that.)

          But, what I am saying is, I don't PRETEND to know MANY/MOST of the answers. That's why I rely upon the opinions of others. (i.e.: economists such as Stiglitz, left-leaning players from Wall Street, like Yves Smith, etc., and many others; and often get crap for that when I include their commentary in my posts.) And, in THIS instance, all we're talking about is a blogger (Dayen), whose opinion I do respect quite a LOT (moreso than most bloggers, but, he's STILL just a blogger), and the WaPo reporter, who's also NOT an economist, either.

          And, that's why I was engaging in an effort to have a discussion in my own post. Still am, in fact. You're invited to join.

          But, in terms of "debating" the matter. I really don't see there being a "debate" here. If there was one, I would recuse myself primarily due to the fact that...drum roll I'm not an economist! And, I sure as hell don't claim to know even anything close to what I know about the U.S. economy, as far as Great Britain's concerned! (On top of all of that, above, and in my previous comments in your post.)

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:26:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  course there's no debate you've decided (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aquarius40

          and you must clearly be right

      •  The numbers are fictive. (11+ / 0-)

        Or misleading at best. Growth is because corporations are making record profits. None of that is trickling down.

        Unemployment leaves off anyone who has never had a job -- newly out of school entering the job market for the last years; unemployed who are a year away from receiving even unemployment benefits...

        They just lop off millions of people as part of their count and then say the rate is down. So you see 7.8% bandied about but it's really about 23%. http://www.shadowstats.com/...

        A real indicator is that in November and December, 1 million people were added to the Food Stamp program. A program which stood at 17 million five years ago now has over 51 million. I tried to get them a year ago, and my $620 (£385) month gross income ruled me out. So I'd figure there'd be 1/3 of the nation on them, if we could get them.

        And that's without austerity on the European level, although our political/media class is trying to get there.

        It's easy to underestimate the misery here in the States because it's such a spread-out nation and the media stays away from anything real.


        The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

        by Jim P on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:32:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The real problem, which is one that Stiglitz (9+ / 0-)

          has been lecturing about for well over a decade (and an issue which Meteor Blades, myself and many others in this community have posted countless diaries about over the years), is the totally absurd dependence that almost the entire economics profession has upon an incredibly flawed single statistic: Gross Domestic Product (GDP). But, since it's used so widely around the world as "the measuring stick," even Dayen and the WaPo writer focused upon that single statistic, to the point where it was the basis for much of their commentary in the WaPo blog post.  At the end of the day, however, it belies other, often more important stats, and it doesn't even begin to get into the (again, often more important) qualitative aspects of economic reality, in general (anywhere). But, again, it is the most widely-used and grossly over-simplified metric that is discussed when it comes to a country's health. Even nowadays.

          So, from a GDP standpoint, which is where Dayen and Plumer were myopically focused--and this is how many/most economists analyze this issue, even though it's flawed and at a very epic level--it is totally credible; again, even if it doesn't even begin to do anything other than scratch the veneer of the story!

          What Brit's getting it, at least from my perspective, is that he's arguing the same thing that folks like Stiglitz and Krugman have been stating for years: GDP is useless without noting many other stats and qualitative issues.

          But, even Krugman and Stiglitz have been known to put forth an argument while doing so by citing, almost exclusively, just GDP stats to make their point. And, that's due to the fact that it's easily understood by the "very serious people," and most of the economic community, that have about as much creativity as a head of iceberg lettuce.

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:58:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  And, sometimes, full answers are NOT "simple"... (19+ / 0-)

      ...especially when they involve the most significant parties that exert their influence upon our government, here in the U.S.

      For instance, health care costs, which account for so much more of a typical American's annual budget, are a much greater factor in considering the bigger economic picture here in the U.S., when comparing the two countries economies, especially when one gets down to the granular level. (With consumer spending being such an integral part of our country's GDP. Similarly so in the UK, but not quite as much, if I recall off the top of my head.)

      But, attempting to respond to your "simple" response wouldn't do the argument (which is NOT "my argument"--but that of others upon which I happened to report--by the way) justice.

      However, I'm pretty sure you'll get more rec's than my post will. LOL!

      Happy New Year, Brit! Live long and prosper...or something like that! Cheers!

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:10:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You too mate (22+ / 0-)

        I'm glad you posted your diary, which I duly recced, for conversation purposes.

        Great to debate this stuff.

        And kudos for caring in the first place. Happy New Year.

        The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

        by Brit on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:12:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm really sincere when I state that I just... (9+ / 0-)

          ...don't know enough about the economy of Great Britain to even feel comfortable debating it. Hell, when I even mention it, I'm only reporting what others, far more knowledgeable than yours truly, are stating. And, in this instance--as in the case of many other instances--I'm seeking discussion.

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:32:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No problem (14+ / 0-)

            I'm just bringing some perspective from this side of the pond which makes the analogy (made by others) a little far fetched.

            The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

            by Brit on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:35:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're saying the Dayen and Plumer are... (11+ / 0-)

              ..far-fetched? I would say that the austerity effort in the U.S. is 2 or 3 years behind what's going on in Great Britain, and comparing the two, at least at any level greater than what folks like Dayen and Plumer are doing, sells the conversation short, and it makes the entire discussion prone to far too much subjectivity and mental masturbation.

              For starters, we can only guess how the politics are going to play out in the future. It would also appear that the effort from the right, here in the U.S., is far more stealthier. Additionally, there's the entire issue of Citizens United, and how unlimited financing will affect the lobbying and the media effort on both sides of this effort.

              Far too many unknowns! IMHO...

              "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

              by bobswern on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:43:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Exactly my point (13+ / 0-)

                So many unknowns, you have to really stretch even to make the UK analogy.

                In the meantime, the IMF have wisened up. As you'll see in my update, they now admit they got the multiplier wrong when they recommended austerity three years ago

                IMF Officials: We Were Wrong About Austerity

                http://www.bloomberg.com/...

                The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

                by Brit on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:46:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You REALLY need to read the first few... (7+ / 0-)

                  ...paragraphs of THIS: "Now Playing In Europe: Wall Street Backdoor Bailout Redux," at least as far as Stiglitz' sentiments relating to the IMF are concerned. The entire kabuki with the IMF, no matter WHERE on the globe they are involved, is all about the banks' interest, nothing more and nothing less. (At least as far as Stiglitz' sentiments are concerned; and, in my book, the guy has more credibility on economics than anyone else on the planet.)

                  Your REALLY should read the linked text...at least the first four or five paragraphs!

                  "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                  by bobswern on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:07:05 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm no fan of the IMF, Bob (16+ / 0-)

                    And I agree with Stiglitz on that, and most things.

                    But now even they have had to admit their austerity packages were based on a faulty calculation of the multiplier. They thought private spending would only decline by 50 percent of any government spending cut/tax rise. It now turns out they were wrong a factor of three.  

                    The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

                    by Brit on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:12:12 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  And, that's what's so incredibly... (8+ / 0-)

                      ...fucked up about what's transpiring here in the U.S., as far as all of this is concerned.

                      There are EXCEPTIONALLY powerful, wealthy forces at work, (sometimes not so) behind the scenes, that have totally captured Washington.

                      This is being steamrolled on the public despite the greater truth that common wisdom is austerity DOESN'T WORK!

                      It's really quite incredible, frankly. Then again, when one understands just how complete the status quo's stranglehold is upon our government (here in the U.S.--and in my opinion it's miles beyond the public's impression/understanding as far as the severity of the matter's concerned), at the end of the day, it's really quite scary.

                      It's not just the Republicans that don't give a shit. Frankly, there are a lot of Democrats--and more importantly there are a lot of huge corporations and banks--that are solely interested in their own best interests, to the point where it doesn't matter whether the public lives or dies. (And, that's much closer to the truth than it is to any hyperbole.)

                      And, yes, IMHO, it really is that bad. (But, most in our country don't realize that it's really that far gone. But, IMHO, and in my own experience, I can tell you--firsthand--you that it is.)

                      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                      by bobswern on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:22:41 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  From what I've seen... (6+ / 0-)

                        ...much of this "transformation" is already set in stone...the truth is that what's playing out now is much more related to public relations efforts, event management and timing issues.

                        There are a lot of very naive folks in the blogosphere; and there are still many idealists, even in Washington.

                        But, this (the 99%'s) goose is cooked. It's just a question of when it's going to be served.

                        (You want fries with that?)

                        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                        by bobswern on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:28:05 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  One more VERY important and pertinent point... (5+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Brit, 3goldens, zaka1, basquebob, elwior

                      ...Dayen and Plumer are referencing one, quantifiable metric.  G.D.P. Not much more, and not much less.

                      But, as I've stated it--and with regard to an area of economics where Stiglitz is at the forefront of this topic--scores of times in this community, in diaries and in comments, the entire concept (and dependency upon...by all of those "very serious people") of that quantifiable metric (GDP) is extremely flawed.

                      But, it is, arguably, THE most important metric used in modern-day American (and to a great extent, in many countries in Europe) economics.

                      So, again, Dayen and Plumer take that metric and run with it, because it's all they've/we've got.

                      But, it doesn't even begin to address the underlying story...anywhere.

                      And, addressing the underlying story is something that requires MANY volumes of analyses and, dare I say it, tens of thousands of pages.

                      So, again, "debating" about it--especially in a place such as here--is really a non-issue.

                      But, like so many economists, when there is a discussion about this type of thing--to many of them--GDP is all that matters.

                      And, to them, all of the other stats and qualitative issues simply do not matter, at all. (And, this has been a subject of great criticism by yours truly, within this community, for many years, too!)

                      So, have fun with that subject tonight...because there's really no other place to take the discussion.

                      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                      by bobswern on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:03:48 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  That's what I don't get. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bobswern, ferg, zaka1, chuckvw

                We should be appreciative of people trying to measure what's going on here now, and doing their best to warn of possible ramifications using examples. Arguing numbers or angle or whatever is perfectly defendable, but refuting this by comparing the measure of what we're doing now and the examples already done side by defies logic.

                It seems to me - and I truly could be wrong - that the fire of this diary comes mostly from the furnace of the pro- and anti-fiscal deal fights here on DKos.

                •  Interesting point-of-view... n/t (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  zaka1

                  "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                  by bobswern on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:08:03 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  You are wrong (4+ / 0-)

                  ...about the fiscal fight. I've been making these comparison's between the two administrations for over three years.

                  Will dig up links if you like

                  The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

                  by Brit on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:58:16 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No that's alright. I said I could be wrong. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Brit, bobswern

                    Mystified, Brit. I did not expect this fight. I came in with a very gentle "Now hold on a sec" to point out - well, you know what I pointed out. And bobswern and several others made the same point. Mystified that you didn't just go, "Oh, yeah, good point, but..." or something along those lines.

                  •  From a new comment down below (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    chuckvw, bobswern
                    Hey, look (0+ / 0-)
                    just because your austerity is worse doesn't mean I want to start down the same road.
                    This speaks very well to another part of what mystifies me about your response in general. The article you are being very strongly critical here is putting up warning flags. I just don't get your overall objection, and especially the vehemence behind it.
                    •  Have you ever seen the Jerry Springer Show? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Little

                      Everyone loves a pie fight! Guaranteed audience draw...even when there's no pie fight to be had.

                      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                      by bobswern on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:10:45 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site