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Austerity by any other name is still austerity.

Austerity has bound much of Europe in its iron-fisted grasp. The working families of Greece are suffering grievously losing jobs, social benefits, family savings and wealth, but fighting back as best they can in the streets.

When I was in Britain the fear and the talk was all about losing the National Health Service. The Conservative Government has already contracted out some functions to private vendors. 20,000 British workers turned out to protest the closing of ONE local hospital. Spain is facing austerity measures. Much of the demands for austerity come from the conservative leaders of Germany.

Only an NDP (New Democratic Party) victory in Canada will prevent austerity measures in that country. One of the reasons I am so excited about the elections this spring in Canada is that the Canadian people can stop the austerity train rolling around the world.

In the USA we don’t call austerity, austerity. In America, austerity goes by other names. Right now the threat is sequestration, a self-imposed crisis that will force huge indiscriminate cuts across the federal budget if radical rightwing Republicans continue to refuse to bargain with President Obama about a balanced plan that will raise revenues and not force us into a deeper economic crisis. At this point words like recession and depression have lost their meaning for average Americans. Though the economists deny it we still suffer the recession-depression left us by Bush and his buds on Wall St. And that same crowd still demand that average Americans pay for their monumental greed and childish recklessness.

In America we also call it “Fix the Debt,” the growing demand by the 1% and their servants that the government agree to cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

It is awful enough that these potential cuts would be forced on folks who cannot afford them and who have been paying for these benefits all their lives, but hurting our elders in this way, the Democratic Party would surely be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Radical rightwing Republicans have been totally discredited. They have no message and no vision other than attacking Americans Democrats.

Polling dramatically shows how Americans are sick of radical rightwing Republicans. We need to fight like hell against more iron-fisted austerity measures in our country.

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Stewart Acuff is the former organizing Director of the AFL-CIO. Acuff has also written two books: Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, and Getting America Back to Work.
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Originally posted to StewartAcuff on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 06:41 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Austerity, er, "Fix the Debt" lives as much (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    because of the Center as the Right. The Center remains incapable of disowning supply-side economics, which muddies the discourse enough to prevent substantive progress. I've come to conclude that this is because the Center, most of the Center, is too compromised by their personal investment in supply-side economics, through professional ambitions and actual investments, to ever truly want to cage supply-side economics. After all:

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" - Upton Sinclair
    For this reason, no doubt most of the Center considers Sinclair an untethered, unrealistic liberal ... and why we continue to lose the Class War by an ever-more increasing margin each day.

    An infinite number of more and better Democratic legislators will make little substantive difference in the Class and Climate Wars.

    by Words In Action on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 07:57:03 AM PST

  •  Actually, "austerity" is the result of an (0+ / 0-)

    emotional attitude which might best be described as the opposite of generous.
    Sequestration is a strategy which makes this attitude palpable -- i.e. felt by a target population.
    In a sense, it's also a substitution of the intent for the act, a characteristic of the Cons. They are ideologues because they are convinced that all they need is an idea (intent), whether positive encouragement or negative threat, to have a desired effect. Doing anything is not on their agenda. And, this particular case is a good example, because it is the executive who's scheduled to act to implement the sequestration.

    See how that works? Ain't idealism great?

    On the other hand, the only thing new about sequestration is the terminology. Congress, which is tasked with allocating and managing the national currency, has been engaging in bouts of rationing for decades. Rationing to cause deprivation in one population or another is what they alternate with munificence to their cronies (punishments and rewards) for the sole purpose of ensuring their own power and tenure in office. One might think that threats are counter-productive, but threatening deprivation and then not following through is what I call their "prodigal son" mode. Citizens are supposed to be so relieved not to be starved or shipped off to the poor house, they'll reward the Congress critter with their vote.

    (Democrats stepping up and promising not to threaten deprivation is not much of a change. You can see why).

    Why would public officials seek to deprive their constituents of something (money) that is in infinite supply?  Because they are in office for the power, rather than the glory, and power, to be felt (register) has to hurt. The people of the U.S. do not, for some reason, perceive people who do good as powerful. Even doctors were not appreciated until they started ripping people off with outrageous charges. See?

    Synonyms for austerity?  Try:


    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 08:18:57 AM PST

  •  OT but does anyone know why Canada, Britain, (0+ / 0-)

    Cyprus, EU, Japan, et cetera, are all voting in conservatives but the US is voting in liberals?
    I don't think it's due to the economy, because Canada is in a better situation and Japan is in a worse economy. Has the rest of the world gone crazy?

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