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View Diary: Italy's New Government: STOP Austerity Now. Time To Push Growth. Halle-frickin-lujah! (78 comments)

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  •  meanwhile (19+ / 0-)

    eurozone jobless hits new record, spanish gdp has contrasted for 7th consecutive quarter, and a new book makes the case that austerity kills.

    will anyone follow italy's lead? and how far will italy go in easing austerity?

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:12:52 AM PDT

    •  Spain's prime minister is also (6+ / 0-)

      turning in this direction as well, according to the article I linked to above.

      •  he is fighting for survival (12+ / 0-)

        in spain, things are truly horrendous as everyone knows, but the spanish are not docile. Public support for the PP has all but collapsed. They have been shown to be thoroughly corrupt by the Barcenas affair. Not that people didnt suspect it anyways, but it coming at the same time as the height in joblessness is deadly. Problem is that the people havent forgiven the PSOE either for having been in power when the crisis struck. New parties are rising - the UPyD and the IU and others - and the spanish landscape is shifting and it is conceivable that the people take to the streets. On paper, Rajoy has a safe parliamentary majority and the new elections are far off but in reality his power is slipping.

        Yet, there is no turning back. Spain has lost about 30% of its industrial jobs during the crisis. This is not going to come back. Even Keynesians in power could do little against it (they don´t have the means the US would have and they can´t start a war).

        •  "This is not going to come back" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ian Reifowitz

          There's no way to objectively prove this assertion. Unless you can, of course.

        •  adsf (4+ / 0-)
          they don´t have the means the US would have
          and never will, but if Spain left the euro it would have a lot more flexibility in dealing with this crisis. I would argue that if Spain would have not been part of the euro the crisis would have been a lot less harmful.

          As for corruption, Spain is mired in corruption. The only party that has avoided it so far is UPyD, but I attribute that to the facts that it is a relatively new party and they don't hold any significant real power at any level, national or local.

          The PSOE is also very corrupt. Perhaps not as bad as the PP but still a huge amount. Currently there are over 1,600 politicians under indictment in all of Spain, and many of those cases are rather big. Just one example, yesterday the son's of the former mayor of Marbella, Gil, were ordered to return €100 million. This is the kind of corruption that goes on in Spain.

          "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." -John F. Kennedy

          by basquebob on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 03:22:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  What direction is that? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tardis10, 3goldens, Ian Reifowitz

        It certainly it is not away from austerity.

        On Friday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain, who once promoted aggressive budget cuts, became the latest leader to reject European Union targets for reducing deficits.
        The above statement from the NYT is inaccurate to say the least. All Rajoy has asked for and has gotten is a 2 year delay in reaching the 3% budget deficit limit, but the austerity targets remain the same. What Rajoy's government appears to have rejected, for now, is Olli Rhen's call for more austerity measures in addition to those already in place. Rhen's philosophy appears to be "morale is low, the beatings should continue until morale improves". In fact, there is heated disagreement between the economy (finance) minister and the revenue (treasury but not exactly the same than in the U.S., hacienda in Spain) minister, two separate ministries in Spain, as to how and where to apply new austerity measures, but the only ones calling for an end of austerity in Spain are some, emphasis on some, in the opposition.

        The current minister of economy (I guess finance minister in english is more appropriate), De Guindos, is the former head of Lehman for Spain and Portugal and a Hayek devotee. Montoro, the revenue minister, is a Francoist proto-fascist. In any case, they are both devoted neo-liberals.

        "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." -John F. Kennedy

        by basquebob on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 03:03:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  How many leaders and powerful people (4+ / 0-)

      will go after the new Italian PM for his trespasses against the austerity mantra?

      That's a relevant question, I think, because it seems like most everyone who calls bullshit on austerity suddenly finds themselves in a heap of shit.  Will financial institutions level revenge against this guy and refuse to fund him the way that they did against Greece?

      Will we witness balkanization of the European Union?  Which seems like would be a really good thing given how these disastrous policies have been forced on the weakest members of the alliance.

      •  some top leaders of the imf (6+ / 0-)

        have been warning about austerity, so there has been a slowly building buzz, but it hadn't taken hold. maybe, hopefully, it finally is.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 01:02:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The thing is that all of these nations (4+ / 0-)

          have effectively handed over a tremendous amount of power to the banks and allowed them to hold all of the cards - and money...

          Retribution from the financial institutions has already been a proven response to people who dare to challenge them even in the slightest.  The story of Greece exemplifies their power and influence.  Italy may fare a bit better than the Greeks have, but it is still a major crap shoot as to whether or not this PM can change the paradigm.

          I raise these questions primarily because of the greater implications with respect to the viability of the European Union.  

          But also with consideration to the United States where California, for example, can't pull an "Italy" and buck the austerity trend.  Eventually, people will rebel against this trend, but how does that play out in the EU and how does it play out in the US?

          •  just look at britain (4+ / 0-)

            cameron and osborne are a disaster, and the imf has openly warned them to back off austerity, which they haven't. and ukip is on the rise. the question is whether labour will take a strong enough stand against austerity. which is similar to the questions we have about our own democrats.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 03:03:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The other question is what is the (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Laurence Lewis, Ian Reifowitz

              outlet for frustration if Labour, Democrats, and other parties traditionally favorable to the interests of the "The People" do not respond soon and aggressively.

              I watched a terrible movie about Hemingway the other day and as much of a write off as it really was, it provoked a lot of thought about what parallels we might find now in the run up to World War II and I'd say that there are a few that we should be mindful of now.

              •  that question (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                inclusiveheart, Ian Reifowitz

                is why ukip is on the rise. miliband even recently hinted at understanding that the failures of the traditional parties (and the lib dems have now dropped below ukip- clegg's alliance with cameron has all but destroyed his party) are responsible, and that they need to speak to the people or risk falling even farther. but will he really finally denounce austerity altogether, and pursue a true growth strategy?

                The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                by Laurence Lewis on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 05:05:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The thing is that politicians in this era (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Laurence Lewis

                  seem to think that all they need do is talk about their "feelings" about problems we face.  The turning mood of the public has little to do with their pronouncements at this point.  People are experiencing real-world pain that is immediate and threatening in a way that no words can either herald or assuage.  They are now "living the dream" so-to-speak and they are becoming increasingly unhappy.

                  The only politicians that can survive that kind of political wave are the ones who appear to be actually making real changes not just denouncing or expressing sympathy for the woes these policies have brought about.  

                  Obama, IMO, is frightfully close to the line of being one of the politicians who is left behind as a sympathetic, but ineffective character -- and the Democrats who do not defy him at this juncture are at risk of being viewed as useless at best and betrayors at worst.

                  •  My view... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...is that in a historical context, Obama is more like a "caretaker" President than anything else.

                    Bush and Clinton weren't "caretakers". Under those Presidents, Things Happened. Maybe not good things, but things.

                    With Obama, what has he really accomplished or changed? The ACA? Yawn. Winding down Iraq and Afghanistan, some minor accomplishments here and there, whatever. The Arab Spring, blah. Minor changes to the tax code. Obama's modus operandi has been "don't upset the apple cart".

                    Better than Bush? Absolutely. But I get a weird feeling that Obama is going to be seen as the guy between Bush and whoever succeeds him in 2016.

                    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                    by Sparhawk on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 05:54:53 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I would not disagree with that assessment (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Sparhawk

                      at this point.  He has three+ more years to go, but the track record so far basically supports your argument - although if he does manage to help to reduce SSI, I think he will find a unique and hot legacy in that alone - and that that will totally overshadow anything that people might perceive to be "good" about ACA.

    •  Didn't France... (3+ / 0-)

      Just elect a socialist president?

      'Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost' - Ronald Reagan, Communist

      by RichM on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 12:33:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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