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President Obama and his conservative European counterparts sought very different solutions to the global economic crisis, and because Mitt Romney would pursue an economic path similar to that taken by the conservative European governments, the results of these different economic approaches could not be more instructive for those voting in the U.S. presidential election. The Republicans criticize President Obama for the state of the economy, and in so doing prove themselves dishonest and hypocritical. As I wrote two months ago:
As Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy and Research pointed out, Republican criticism of President Obama for the condition of the economy is akin to criticizing firefighters for the condition of a house right after the firefighters had stopped it from burning down. When President Obama took office, the economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month. When President Obama took office, the economy was shrinking at an annual rate of 8.9 percent. The economy was burning down. Then the firefighters arrived. The Obama stimulus created some 3,300,000 jobs. Under President Obama's stewardship, the economy has recovered all private sector job losses. The only justifiable criticism of the stimulus is that it wasn't large enough to have sparked a full recovery, but that's not the Republican criticism.

Republicans continue to oppose stimulus spending. Republicans oppose any potential stimulus by the Federal Reserve. In other words, Dean Baker's analogy didn't go far enough. It's not just that the Republicans are criticizing the firefighters for the condition of the house right after the firefighters saved it from burning down, it's also that the Republicans lit the fire in the first place, tried to stop the firefighters from getting to the house, and now are trying to stop the construction workers from getting to the work of rebuilding it, while themselves planning to add more fuel and light another match.

And this week's unemployment figures make it even more clear. In the United States, more jobs are being created than was expected, and unemployment is down to 7.9 percent. In the Eurozone, unemployment has risen to a record 11.6 percent. President Obama's stimulus policies are making things better. The conservative European austerity policies are making things worse:
According to a new study from the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, a London-based research organization, the austerity measures implemented across Europe in an attempt to get the continent’s debt under control and stem its financial crisis have actually made matters worse, stunting growth and increasing debt

Mitt Romney and the Republicans want to impose European-style austerity on the United States. It would be disastrous to allow that to happen. A week ago, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman explained:

Mr. Obama’s camp argues for an active government role; his last major economic proposal, the American Jobs Act, would have tried to accelerate recovery by sustaining public spending and putting money in the hands of people likely to use it. Republicans, on the other hand, insist that the path to prosperity involves sharp cuts in government spending.

And Republicans are dead wrong.

The latest devastating demonstration of that wrongness comes from the International Monetary Fund, which has just released its World Economic Outlook, a report combining short-term prediction with insightful economic analysis. This report is a grim and disturbing document, telling us that the world economy is doing significantly worse than expected, with rising risks of global recession. But the report isn’t just downbeat; it contains a careful analysis of the reasons things are going so badly. And what this analysis concludes is that a disproportionate share of the bad news is coming from countries pursuing the kind of austerity policies Republicans want to impose on America.

It's that simple. The U.S. economy is recovering, but the world economy as a whole is not; and one of the main reasons the world economy as a whole not only is not recovering but is in danger of sliding into a global recession is because of the economic austerity policies pursued by conservative governments that Mitt Romney would like to emulate. And given its globalized nature, the drag on the world economy by the austerity agenda of conservative European governments is making President Obama's job that much more difficult in creating a sustained recovery in the United States. But if Mitt Romney becomes president, that drag won't be coming only from the global economy, it will be coming from the domestic economy as well.

(Continue reading below the fold.)

The Guardian had more on the IMF report:

And the IMF admitted that it, like many other forecasting organisations, had underestimated the negative impact on growth of steep cuts in public spending. It said: "Staff research suggests that fiscal cutbacks had larger than expected negative short-term multiplier effects on output, which may explain some of the output falls."

The World Bank, which is holding its annual meeting alongside the IMF in Tokyo, added to the gloom with a report that warned of a cuts in growth across the developing world.

It's nice that the IMF is admitting that it underestimated the negative multiplier effects that fiscal cutbacks would have on output. Krugman was warning of it nearly three years ago. But he had foreseen it as far back as 1999. And he's been understandably frustrated that policy-makers haven't been listening. And with President Obama increasingly on board with the understanding that we need more stimulus, we have to hope that the voters now will be listening. Because the alternative would be disastrous. All we have to do is look to Europe.

Back in April, I wrote about the cruel stupidity that is economic austerity, and I highlighted the ongoing European crisis, detailing the rising unemployment, shrinking economic output, political and social upheaval, and devastating human suffering. So besides record unemployment across the entire Eurozone, how has it been going since?

  • Greece is getting worse. Dangerously worse:
    Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party is increasingly assuming the role of law enforcement officers on the streets of the bankrupt country, with mounting evidence that Athenians are being openly directed by police to seek help from the neo-Nazi group, analysts, activists and lawyers say.

    In return, a growing number of Greek crime victims have come to see the party, whose symbol bears an uncanny resemblance to the swastika, as a "protector".

    Golden Dawn is now the third most popular political party in Greece, it is violently suppressing free speech, and the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaris, openly invoked the Weimar Republic while warning that Greek democracy is danger. But the Greek government is itself being criticized for its attacks on the free press.
  • Portugal's conservative government continues to pursue an austerity agenda, which is expected to result in a third consecutive year of recession, and is sparking mass protests.
  • Spain is suffering from record unemployment of over 25 percent, and its conservative government is in denial over the recent IMF forecast that its economy will shrink twice as much next year as had previously been expected. The only unknown at this point is when or whether Spain will request a bailout. Typically, Mitt Romney recently offended the Spanish by saying he doesn't want the U.S. economy to follow its path, even as the conservative economic agenda would do exactly that.
  • Ireland was the first European country to seek a bailout, but austerity continues to undermine any recovery, the unemployment rate remains just barely under the record that was set in June, and in just the past year over 87,000 Irish have emigrated.
  • Italy has its highest unemployment in 13 years, as its recession also is twice as deep as was anticipated. Even perpetual conservative leader Silvio Berlusconi is now blaming austerity.
  • In Holland, even though an austerity backlash brought down its government earlier this year, a new coalition government intends more of the same. With unemployment steadily rising and a possible debt crisis looming, the economic powerhouse faces an increasingly uncertain future.
  • The economic disaster caused by French austerity brought down its conservative government, but new Socialist President Francois Hollande has no easy solutions, and remains hamstrung by the intransigence of Germany's conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel. Meanwhile, the French people continue to suffer as no clear growth strategy has been implemented.
  • In Germany, that Merkel intransigence may finally be put to the test, as unemployment has doubled expectations, less than a year out from national elections. A group of leading German think tanks recently warned that the German economy will grow next year at only half the rate of previous estimates, and may be headed for a recession.
  • The austerity program imposed by Britain's conservative Cameron government wrought a double-dip recession that was even worse than had been predicted, marking the deepest British recession since the 1950s. Cameron's Tories suffered devastating losses in the May council elections, and its coalition partner Liberal Democrats is now only Britain's fourth most popular political party, falling below the fringe anti-immigrant, anti-environment, anti-science, anti-tax UK Independence Party, which has never won a single seat in the House of Commons. In October, Britain finally emerged from the recession, and while the relentlessly mendacious Cameron wants to take credit, the Office of National Statistics told a different story:
    However, the ONS pointed out that GDP growth – the strongest rate since the third quarter of 2007 – had been artificially boosted by two short-term factors: the Olympic Games, which fell in July and August, and the bounce-back from June's extra bank holiday for the Queen's diamond jubilee.
    And unless Cameron can manage to host an Olympics every quarter, the outlook looks less bright.
    Chris Williamson, of the data provider Markit, said: "The government will most likely make the most out of this good news, but unfortunately it is unlikely that the UK will see such a strong performance again for some time. In reality, the danger is that this figure fuels a misguided belief that the economy is on the mend, when in fact there is plenty of evidence to suggest that momentum is being lost again."

    He added: "There is a real risk that a return to contraction might be seen again in the fourth quarter." Treasury officials conceded that the strong 1% growth rate was unlikely to be repeated in future quarters.

  • Not mentioned in my April post, Lithuania also has been suffering under austerity, and last week saw the predictable electoral consequences:
    Lithuanians angry at spending cuts put left-wing opposition parties on the path to power in an election on Sunday that likely spelled the end for a conservative government praised abroad as a model of austerity.

    The Social Democratic Party and the Labour Party, which have promised to raise the minimum wage and shift the tax burden to the better off, were headed for a parliamentary majority in combination with their likely partner, the Paksas Party, according to preliminary results from the second-round vote.

    The Homeland Union of conservative Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, who slashed the budget deficit at the cost of falling wages and rising unemployment, was set to be the second biggest party in parliament but with little chance of a coalition deal.

The record is clear. The economic agenda that Mitt Romney would impose has been tried throughout Europe, and the result has been economic and political turmoil, tremendous human suffering, and a rise in political extremism. The United States under President Obama has suffered from the overall stagnation in the world economy, but has avoided a crisis similar to Europe's by pursuing a different economic path. Should Mitt Romney become president, the economic devastation we Americans see in Europe will come home. The choice is ours.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And to think Repuglicans want to enact (31+ / 0-)

    Yurpeen-style austerity. Need we say Hypocrisy AGAIN???

    I ♥ President Barack Hussein Obama.
    Four more good years.

    by OleHippieChick on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 03:19:45 PM PST

  •  Motley Fool on the Best Presidents for the Economy (13+ / 0-)

    Motley Fool put out a great piece this week about the comparative stats for the last 20 Presidents. Obama is near the top of the charts for many metrics.
    The Best Presidents for the Economy

  •  Raising false hopes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Neither candidate seems to want to tell the American people that in order to get out of this mess there are going to be some very painful things done -- higher taxes and big budget cuts. States and local governments should step up to the plate and provide more locally governed social programs that are paid for by increases in local taxes.

    I hope Obama's second term is more serious than the first one and in the January state of the union he starts to treat Americans like adults and speak the hard truths.

  •  My worry (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldDragon, Gooserock, Noor B, eps62

    Is not directly for the US. I think with continued work from the Obama administration, and hopefully improved response from Congress this time around, recovery will continue. I worry that the rest of the world's problems will indirectly hurt us, and there's really nothing we can do about it. Granted, it'd be better for us to be strong economically as the crisis elsewhere worsens, but there's no way to completely insulate from it. I have a feeling there will be a rebirth of isolationism though, and while that may seem to make sense, we just can't ignore what's going on around us.

    •  5 Words In Your Comment Are Sadly Unrealistic (6+ / 0-)
      hopefully improved response from Congress
      The House will be Republican, and the sole response of conservatives is escalation. There's already been talk of demanding 1:1 program cuts to pay for Hurricane Sandy relief.

      I hope I'm wrong, but I'm not seeing any evidence that suggests they won't take a harder line this term.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 03:56:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you're correct (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Egalitare, BYw

        The President's re-election on Tuesday will drive the crazies who are running the asylum completely over the edge. With the noise machine keeping that element jacked up there's little reason to assume House Republicans will develop a case of warm fuzzies for either compromise or working productively with the White House. They'll already be working on their meme for the 2014 elections before the week is over.

  •  Can Someone help me explain something about the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, shaharazade

    Affordable care act? I was in the grocery store and wore my Obama shirt and a lady working int he meat section said I want to vote Obama but cannot.. I was like why? She said everyone in the store with the exception of the supervisor has had their hours cut to 30 hours to make it so the store does not get fined for not giving everyone health insurance options. Man how do I argue with that? She wants to be full time again....

    "We need a revolution away from the plutocracy that runs Government."

    by hangingchad on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 03:28:57 PM PST

    •  And that's Obama's fault? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BYw, DontTaseMeBro, George Hier

      The bosses of the grocery store are the fucking assholes here not Obama's healthcare plan.  

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 03:54:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What I'd Look Into is What Takes Effect in 2014 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Noor B, dkosdan, BYw

      although that's scant consolation for them for the coming year.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 03:57:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Does the store have fewer than 50 employees? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      All shifts, including evening/overnight stocking and any supervisors?

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 04:07:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Its sweetbays supermarket and I think they have (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dkosdan, BYw

        allot of employees but they apparently told them they are cutting all full time staff to airtime to keep from having to pay a fine due to the affordable care act. I am going to call and complain tomorrow for the sake of those poor employees..

        "We need a revolution away from the plutocracy that runs Government."

        by hangingchad on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 04:10:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sweetbays is a subsidiary of... (5+ / 0-)

          ...the Delhaize Group, which also operates Food Lion and Hannaford. According to wikipedia, Sweetbays has 9000 total employees in 105 stores. Even if each store was considered an individual employer (and it's not) they have well over 50 employees at each location.

          I bet that "informative" supervisor has a full benefit package, and every layer of management above him as well.

          When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

          by Egalitare on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 04:21:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  When will Europe stop the madness? (6+ / 0-)

    That's what I really want to know.  How many months or years of austerity failure will it take for them to admit it isn't working?

    All your vote are belong to us.

    by Harkov311 on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 03:29:08 PM PST

  •  Good diary! (6+ / 0-)

    We must stop Bowles-Simpson and the wealthy corporate and banking donors  supporting the fix it campaign. Their motive is keeping the status quo, lowering the corporate tax rate, their interest rates at zero and more so they can continue feeding at the public trough.

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 03:30:55 PM PST

  •  asdf (8+ / 0-)

    funny how the actual austerity never seems to trickle all the way up.

    terrific diary!

    keep your eyes on the sky. put a dollar in the kitty. don't the moon look pretty. --becker&fagen

    by homo neurotic on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 03:33:29 PM PST

  •  Yup, but...... (5+ / 0-)
    Mitt Romney would pursue an economic path similar to that taken by the conservative European governments
    There's also their long sought after prize and it was shown under the bush and tepub rubber stamping congresses, the government and the treasury of!

    The more they can make the government agencies look incompetent, in congressional hearings, in their spin speak and now with a 24/7 cable outlet etc. to feed their followers same, the quicker they can get to the prize of selling privatization completed, thus the complete in to the treasury, easy to borrow from others if empty, as those doing will also second bill us. We already pay for almost all the infrastructure needs, more then roads and bridges, of the business community, the big business and corporations.

    Like I said it was shown under the bush, both wars, no bid contracts "only ones in the world that can do", creation of a private army of high paid mercs again no bid, off the books till it greatly ballooned the deficit which had already started building Before 9/11!

    If they can once again control it all they then can control whom by and how this country is to be run and under their twisted ideologies with no way any other voices will be heard!!

    Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

    by jimstaro on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 03:36:10 PM PST

  •  We need a stronger beginning point (6+ / 0-)

    for the inevitable budget negotiations. It makes economic and societal sense for the retirement age to be lower, the Social Security and Medicare benefits higher. That should be our starting point.

    Convince us then how it makes sense to keep older workers in the workforce and why it's not a great, permanent stimulus for retired folks to have disposable income instead of facing poverty.

    The Overton Window won't move back to the left where most Americans are really at issue by issue until we jerk it back and own the policies both as humane and economically smart.  

    "extravagant advantage for the few, ultimately depresses the many." FDR

    by Jim R on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 03:37:20 PM PST

  •  You don't even need numbers for this Econ1 lesson (8+ / 0-)

    In times like these, what's the most important thing going to waste?  
    It's the time of unemployed people, who could be doing productive work if they had a job.  If the private sector won't employ them, government ought to put them to work doing something useful.  Yes, in times of full employment the 'invisible hand' of the marketplace for labor would direct them to the work that would add the most to the economy.  But in times of high unemployment, the government can do a lot better than leaving them at home with nothing to do.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 03:39:51 PM PST

    •  Nice Paraphrase of Some FDR Speech Points nt (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smiley7, Noor B, Egalitare

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 03:59:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The "invisible hand" is biased toward... (8+ / 0-)

      ...rentier behavior.

      As long as financial manipulation is deemed "more profitable" than other options - including hiring people and creating goods and services - the Oligarchs and their lobbyists are going to assert that Government is attempting to force them into "inefficient, unproductive economic behavior" or some other focus-group tested phrase that sings the praises of the Galtian Cult.

      We need a strong, robust Public Sector to engage in the "less promising" economic activity any sane society knows it needs to perpetuate, but that our Financial Overlords find "unnecessarily limiting."

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 04:02:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Let's take a page from the New Deal (7+ / 0-)

      The WPA found work for everyone: not just out-of-work famers and assembly-line workers.  It employed writers, artists, directors, skilled workers, and professionals.  it fed children and the poor, and built infrastructure everywhere in the USA.  And by "built" I mean built, built, built, built, and BUILT!

      Nice little article over at Wikipedia about the program:

      Tell me what to write. 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

      by rbird on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 04:13:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The G20 is meeting today in Mexico City (5+ / 0-)

    They have a message for the nations of the world:

    G20 draft communiqué sees elevated risks to global growth

    MEXICO CITY | Sun Nov 4, 2012 12:25pm EST

    (Reuters) - A draft communiqué being prepared for Group of 20 policymakers sees elevated risks to the global economy, including from potential fiscal tightening in the United States and Japan, a source familiar with the draft told Reuters on Sunday.

    "Global growth remains modest and risks remain elevated, including due to possible delays in the complex implementation of recent policy announcements in Europe, a potential sharp fiscal tightening in the United States and Japan, weaker growth in some emerging markets and additional supply shocks in some commodity markets," the draft said, according to the source.

    Because the US will not heed this warning -- regardless of who is elected -- it might be a good idea to prepare.

    A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

    by Pluto on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 03:42:34 PM PST

  •  Murdoch's false equivalence: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nemesis007, Noor B, eps62

    Times of London endorsed President Barack Obama and
    NY Post (sic) endorses Mitt rMoney

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 03:48:38 PM PST

    •  The Times knows which way the wind blows... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli, Noor B, eps62

      The vast majority of Brits [and Europeans] - and that includes, in the UK at least, Conservatives - prefer Obama to Mittman. If The Times was to come out in favour of the Mitt, it would be laughed at, and howled down by, its readers, who are by no means all Conservative anyway.

  •  The Party of Business (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, eps62

    History shows us that the Democratic Party is the better choice for business.

    Better earnings, better for real people.

    Why even bother with the GOP and their failed policies?

    •  No one would except their Sunday morning (0+ / 0-)

      collection plate provides votes that ignore the primal importance of human beings and in so doing muddies the water for the 1 percent to fuck away, raping the public bank.

      Quite the ruse, ain't it?

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 04:18:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And then there's this. (7+ / 0-)

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

    by OllieGarkey on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 04:13:08 PM PST

  •  As much as Romney warns about Greece, he seems (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, RUNDOWN, eps62, George Hier

    hell-bent on trying to follow the same path.  One of the contributing factors to the economic crisis in Greece was its unrealistically low level of taxation.  Using total revenue as a percent of GDP for a level comparison across countries, taxes in Greece were much lower than other members of the EU and closer to the current level of taxation in the US.  Low taxes didn't cause the crisis by themselves but they didn't help when other unfavorable elements appeared.  

    The lower tax rates Romney proposed will either balloon the deficit or they will necessitate budget cuts that will impose a heavy burden on the consumer classes.  This is a recipe for disaster including the downward spiral of austerity and deflation.

    A Greek friend gets indignant when she hears Americans warn that "we don't want to be like Greece."  She says we already are like Greece with a member of the privileged elite running for office and politics handed down from father to son as a family business.  On top of that, tax evasion is rumored to be his favorite hobby. Under his proposed policy everyone will suffer while he and his cronies come out ahead.  My friend says the Romney looks just like a Greek.

    "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

    by leftreborn on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 04:21:57 PM PST

    •  This is false (0+ / 0-)

      Greece raises 40% of GDP in taxes, whereas America raises 20% of GDP in taxes. Furthermore, 15% of Greece's GDP comes from the untaxed shipping sector, so if you backed that out, Greece would collect 50% of GDP in taxes.

      We differentiate too much between high tax evasion of very high taxes and low evasion of very low taxes.

      Is your Greek friend a Greek American or a Greek? Because the vast majority of Greeks I talk to discuss the very high level of taxes which are taken out of paychecks, pensions, and even electricity bills.

      I know there are a ton of articles pointing out that Greece's debt troubles are the result of tax evasion, but even a cursory look at the numbers tell us this is just not true.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 06:27:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  foreign policy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    George Hier

    If you think about it, President Obama's views are almost the same as Mitt Romney's. They both support drone strikes, which kill hundreds of civilians, citizen assassination, wiretapping and increased surveillance.
    Two Candidates, One Foreign Policy

  •  Most people don't understand economics... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, chuck utzman

    and can not understand Krugman and others like him when they write or speak. How many of Kos readers or writers have taken even Eco 101, let alone an Eco 200 or a 300 course? I taught it for HS seniors for 15 years and most of them never took another course again. Get the picture?

    Plato's " The Cave" taught me to question reality.

    by CTDemoFarmer on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 04:45:25 PM PST

  •  It's not all one-sided (5+ / 0-)

    I'm a lifelong Democrat and Obama supporter. I'm also a dual national. I was naturalized as an Irish citizen in 2004 and normally reside there.

    It's easy to forget (or not want to know about) the Obama administration's complicity in European austerity. Ireland, for example, was basically forced by a combination of the ECB, the EU and the US (in the guise of Treasury Sec'y Timothy Geithner) to pay out in full to bondholders in their insolvent banks. This has cost the Irish people some €60 billion, which relative to GDP is something like a bailout on the order of several trillion dollars would be for the US. Neither Geithner nor the ECB would countenance making those who gambled on Irish banks and lost taking the hit: all losses would have to be socialized (narrowly: only the Irish people would pay, not Europeans) because they feared "contagion."

    The resulting austerity in Ireland--which is far greater than anything the US has experienced--is directly related to this insistence that gambling bondholders be made whole. Read this for more.

    I'm not saying that the Obama administration is not a good deal better than a Romney administration would be. As I said, I support Obama. But let's not pretend that Obama is doing a whole lot to avoid austerity in Europe. Quite the contrary.

  •  Austerity is driving Portugese youth (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, divineorder emigrate to Brazil. And East Timor.

    What old colony is a middle-aged white American male going to emigrate to, if we get Romney's "austerity measures?"

    I guess we were first on the moon..

    Back to the garage and the rocket-ship plans..

    Kobol, baby. Gonna invade Kobol.

    Perhaps one day the Fourth Estate will take their jobs seriously. Or not..

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 04:48:04 PM PST

    •  I'm asking the same question, but I think the Pres (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming, George Hier

      will be handily re elected  and I am worried about him doing me:

      What old colony is a middle-aged white American male going to emigrate to, if we get [Obama's]  "austerity measures?"
      I mean when Bernie Sanders keeps pointing to this possibility, I have to listen.

      As digby wrote recently: Obama already instituted Austerity Lite.  

      What gives us any hope that he won't go further now?

        He certainly sounded to me like he would in the debates?

      Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

      by divineorder on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 05:53:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When given a choice (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ..between a bologna sandwich and a shit sandwich I want the processed meat.

        With Grey Poupon, of course. And Miracle Whip.

        A Romney "victory" by hook or by crook would kill what hope I have left. I put up with a lot of shit but I draw the line at being force-fed.

        Perhaps one day the Fourth Estate will take their jobs seriously. Or not..

        by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:26:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yabbut you avoided my question (0+ / 0-)


          Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

          by divineorder on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:38:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't believe I did (0+ / 0-)

            I'm a realist. We have but two choices.

            I disagree with much of Obama's "Centrist" and "Technocratic" policies and solutions. On Afghanistan, and on "the economy"

            I do respect the man. With a vengeance. He's my age, and has earned the presidency and that's a hell of a lot better than my accomplishments to date.

            I'd go with Eugene Debs but wouldn't get elected dog-catcher.

            For all I know he agrees with me on a whole lot of things but is making the "change" that's possible in his arena of choice. Peacefully.

            Willard, on the other hand - is a plutocratic dick tax-dodger with no allegiance to anything but underwear gnome "profit" with a fantastic religion and magic-underwear.

            I think I got seven Obama votes that probably wouldn't have happened otherwise. I don't, and won't regret my efforts.

            Perhaps one day the Fourth Estate will take their jobs seriously. Or not..

            by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:52:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I'd almost believe Romney cared about the debt... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, eps62

    if he wasn't proposing yet another big tax cut for the upper class and a massive increase in the defense budget.

    •  Yeah, that makes it obvious that he (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      I'd almost believe Romney cared about the debt if he wasn't proposing yet another big tax cut for the upper class and a massive increase in the defense budget.

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 04:06:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Our absentee ballots damaged- Help! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, divineorder

    We finally got our absentee ballots after mail delivery resumed after the terrible Sandy damage here. We filled them out, put them in the first envelope, then went to put them in the second envelope. Fail!
    Both of us discovered that the second envelope had been glued shut! There was no evidence of water damage for either ballot except for that. We could try to steam them open, but are afraid they will be challenged. Any ideas? (We live in NJ)
    Please help!

  •  well done. (5+ / 0-)

    I'm glad Barack Obama is our President.

    by TomP on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 04:51:26 PM PST

  •  Once you realize it's not about the deficit... (10+ / 0-)

    It never was about the deficit.
    It never will be about the deficit.

    It's about getting rid of programs that Republicans don't like.

    Remember "Deficits don't matter. Reagan taught us that."

  •  Epic job with this post, LL . Would (2+ / 0-)

    like a link on this though so that can tell whether it is Obama the campaigner or Obama the President...

    And with President Obama increasingly on board with the understanding that we need more stimulus,  

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 04:54:42 PM PST

  •  Austerity (4+ / 0-)

    saves the wealth of the rich at the expense of the working class, at the expense of the small business owner, at the expense of most everybody posting on this thread.

    Billionaires are worried about the debt, because they don't want to have to pay it (though they benefited most from it).

    Their overseas investments would devalue, printing more money and adding liquidity decrease the value of their overseas holdings. These things help the 95%, the 1% hate it, and will stop at nothing to stop it.

    Debt is relative to GDP, not like the average person with a credit card. We are also a sovereign monetary entity - and not bound by Euro like restrictions.

    Reduce the debt by increasing the GDP, which means investment - in ALL of us.

    The Greeks see it, they KNOW who the problem is - they're not buying it - and neither should we.

    If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

    by RUNDOWN on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 04:54:45 PM PST

    •  "Austerity" was tested by Hoover/Mellon. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RUNDOWN, eps62

      The. Great. Depression.

      There was no reason for it, apart from the on-going 1920s/1930s shift of agricultural workers to manufacturing and service.

      The stock market collapse did not cause the Great Depression. "Austerity" by other names had that honor.

  •  The interesting thing here to me... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eps62 that this would be a very powerful Obama re-election appeal: Republicans support the policies that are ruining the EU states. But Obama can't say that, or he feels that he can't, for diplomatic and economic-stability reasons. (It would, as they say, "not be helpful" for the US President or his surrogates to say the EU is doing everything backwards.) But I do think the campaign should have found a way to insinuate this topic into the campaign.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 05:39:52 PM PST

  •  Dr. Richard Koo. (0+ / 0-)

    Read, understand, apply.

    (That's what Obama's team did.)

  •  Not interested in lectures... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RUNDOWN, eps62

    about austerity from a guy building a car elevator.
    Seriously, no.

  •  What we really need for the middle class & poor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is a debt jubilee. Though I have to say at this point I would be worried that TPTB would still structure it in a way that the 001% would again make out like the bandits that they are.

    When we GOTV, then Dems win! "If we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now." ~Rev. William Barber

    by peregrine kate on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 06:11:30 PM PST

  •  What European austerity? (0+ / 0-)

    And what conservative governments?

    Greece? They're broke and living on charity. That's not austerity; it's penury.
    Ireland? Somewhat similar story, but both more honesty about the problem and greater will to get through troubles they brought on themselves.
    Spain? Also in the toilet, and also living on fumes, but hardly the result of any conservative government.
    Italy? Cutting back slightly, but scarcely austere. Rejected their previous, more rightist government for a technocratic administration.
    France? Not much austerity, and just returned the Socialists to power. Government expenditure still climbing steadily.
    The UK? Hybrid government. Same kind of spending as France.
    Portugal? That might actually fit the description, or at least come closer.

    For the entire EU area, government expenditures grew steadily to 2010 and then declined very slightly. To talk about "European" austerity is, at best, a misleading notion.
    Here, the Europeans will explain it all themselves:

    •  try reading my links (0+ / 0-)

      including to my earlier post. every mentioned country cut government spending and embraced austerity. you know- by their own admissions.

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 08:37:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A fairer statement (0+ / 0-)

        would be that outside of Greece, Spain, Ireland and Portugal, governments have modestly slowed rates of budget increase. That's not, IMO, an actual embrace of austerity, much less is it due to, as you claimed, conservative governments. There may yet be such austerity and such governments, but that is not now the case.

        •  actually (0+ / 0-)

          cameron has gone all in for cuts, as did sarkozy, as did italy's technocrat government.

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

          by Laurence Lewis on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 08:47:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  3 things (0+ / 0-)

            1) Cameron is from the Conservative party, but in a coalition government. If there is actual austerity in the UK in any meaningful sense (doubtful), then the Liberals must share equal credit.
            2) Sarkozy was thrown out. Presently, what passes for French austerity (again, extremely mild slowdown in growth of government expenditure) has been administered by the current Socialist government.
            3) Italy, likewise, has instituted fairly mild cutbacks, after having thrown out Berlusconi's right-wing government. Whatever Mario Monti may be, he is not governing as any kind of a conservative, and the simple fact is that Italy's debt problems, compounded by a below-replacement birthrate, tax fraud at every level of income, and government boondoggles to make the eyes spin, have long since made its spending rate impossible.

            •  if you'd read the post (0+ / 0-)

              you'd have noticed that i mentioned that joining cameron has devastated the lib dems. and if you know anything about britain you'd know that the lib dems are not what we would think of as liberal. economically they've always been more libertarian, and their failures a century ago gave rise to labour. but now they're even less popular than ukip.

              and hollande just took office a few months ago- kind of like the economy kept sinking for a few months after obama took office, until the stimulus was passed. but to repeat- the criticism of hollande has been more about political process than ideology. and tell the french that it was extremely mild austerity, considering it was the single biggest issue in hollande defeating sarkozy.

              and while you're in the end apparently trying to rationalize italy's austerity, even berlusconi himself is now questioning it. tell the italians it has been fairly mild.

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

              by Laurence Lewis on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 09:42:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  3 more things (0+ / 0-)

                1) The Liberals in Britain are fully capable of bringing down the government. That they haven't, does not turn them into conservatives, and their party platform was fully committed to social welfare programs. And again, the worst you could say for those programs today is that they are marginally less generous.

                2) Hollande ran successfully on the premise that he would reverse Sarkozy's planned cutbacks. Emphasis is on "planned," as few have been enacted. Oddly enough, though, once in office, Hollande 'discovers' that cutbacks are needed.

                3) My wife is from Italy, I have made perhaps 50 trips there, done business there, speak to friends and relations there constantly, and read the Italian papers almost daily. I think I know whereof I speak when I tell you that cutbacks have been extremely modest. In fact, most of what Monti originally proposed has been whittled way down by parliament. Meantime, GDP is falling and the deficit for 2012 will still be more than 125% of GDP.

                In any case, I'm not looking particularly to rationalize austerity policies. I quarrel with your original statement claiming that Europe was being done in by austerity measures from conservative governments. That claim is, IMO, defective.

                •  the lib dems (0+ / 0-)

                  are a mess. they can't afford to force an election because they'll be devastated.

                  and once again on hollande- he has few options, and he's behaving as a political neophyte. and his party and his country won't back him if he turns on his promises. they are sick of austerity.

                  italy has had riots because of austerity. more than one. the people there don't seem thrilled with it, however minimal you want to pretend it is.

                  and everyone from the imf, the world bank, and the wto (despite their hypocrisy in pushing for more) to london's niesr to krugman and stiglitz to the economist to the chief economist of standard chartered have cited austerity as strangling europe. the wsj, of all sources, cited it for italy's problems. but you and your circle know better. oddly enough, republicans would agree with you.

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

                  by Laurence Lewis on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 01:25:17 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  two words (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    George Hier

    Grand bargain.

    ‎"Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them." --Frederick Douglass

    by Nada Lemming on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 07:49:50 PM PST

  •  Too little, too late (0+ / 0-)

    The irony is the the $4 trillion stimulus of the Chinese was better timed and better proportioned. Sure there was hanky-panky by local administration that set up off-budget corporations and the stock market bubbled, but no teachers were laid off and a whole lot of infrastructure was built. We're talking about a mid-income country here with only a rudimentary monetary system.

  •  OccupySandy - Amazon registry or St. Jacobi Church (0+ / 0-)

    Direct donations are possible - you can know what every dollar you gave was spent on.

    Walls are falling down - both Greenpeace and the National Guard are supporting OccupySandy in the Rockaways.  How is that for European?

    Advice needed for new diarist.  Given that it’s Nov 5th, I assumed my Occupy Sandy donation diary was bumped off the list very quickly.  I’m going to plug it for a while and plan to update it throughout the week. If that is against Daily Kos rules, please tell me and I’ll stop.

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