By Tom Peters - 1 June 2012
The budget handed down on May 24 by the conservative National Party government of Prime Minister John Key includes a raft of cutbacks that deepen the austerity program that has been imposed on the working class since the 2008 financial crisis...Since New Zealand’s economy first went into recession in 2008, the Key government has slashed public spending on welfare, health and education, increased the regressive goods and services tax (GST) and sacked more than 2,500 public sector workers.
Bad policy begets bad results. Force-fed austerity promises hard times getting nasty.
By Stefan Steinberg - WSWS
In an interview with the British Guardian newspaper published Friday, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, vented her class hatred for the workers of Greece, denouncing them as tax scofflaws and ruling out any respite from the austerity measures that have devastated the country.
In succession, governments in the European Union are kicked out of office for having prescribed to their peoples rigid “savings programs” with the aim of regaining their national creditworthiness. The affected countries seem to be victims of finance capital, which downgrades their ratings, extorts them with unbearable interest rates, or turns their money spigot off completely by denying them new loans and the refinancing of their due debts.
Greece is the canary in the coal mine for what's coming.
By Carl Bronski - 14 May 2012
Canada’s largest banks received $114 billion in liquidity support from the government of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the United States Federal Reserve between 2008 and 2010, reveals a recent report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)...[T]he CCPA report gives the lie to the assertions of the government and the corporate media that the Canadian banking system, unlike that of the United States, weathered the 2008 financial collapse due to its sound and prudent risk management practices.
By Patrick O’Connor - WSWS
The budget brought down yesterday by the Australian Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard has cut real government spending by 4.3 percent, the most significant reduction in the last 25 years...Labor has promised big business and finance capital that it will deliver no more budget deficits, regardless of economic shocks internationally and in Australia. Austerity is now firmly entrenched as the central principle of government economic policy.
By NOAM CHOMSKY - May 08, 2012
For the general population...it’s been pretty harsh — and it could get worse. This could be a period of irreversible decline. For the 1% and even less — the .1% — it’s just fine. They are richer than ever, more powerful than ever, controlling the political system, disregarding the public. And if it can continue, as far as they’re concerned, sure, why not?
Translated from GegenStandpunkt broadcast on Radio Lora, Munich: April 16, 2012
Since capitalism has existed, there's been a lot of discontent with it. Today, for example, the “Occupy” movement and the “indignados” in Europe criticize capitalism because its “excesses” surely scream to the sky. It hasn't gone unnoticed that an ever-growing wealth of a few faces an equally ever-growing poverty of others. Also not unnoticed is the notorious insecurity of existence which for many people means that just one unlucky circumstance...becomes a personal disaster.
By Danny Schechter - 25 April 2012
[Inequality] is distorting the structure of the economy where a new form of serfdom is trapping millions in debts they will never crawl out of...[I]t is changing the contours of the dominant consumer society. Economists used to brag about all the choices it offered, but today it is bifurcating into a world of pricey upscale shops versus the 99 cent stores...That's the real 1 per cent - 99 per cent divide that sustains the inequality.
New research by the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade reveals that in 2011, the Canada Pension Plan had about $1.5 billion worth of shares in 66 international companies supplying Israel with military, police, surveillance and/or prison-related products and services.
By John Braddock - 25 April 2012
The National Party-led government, which was re-elected last November, has intensified its assault on the New Zealand working class. The administration is imposing a sweeping program of privatization, job cuts and attacks on welfare and education that was concealed throughout the election and for which nobody voted...The government is warning that without harsh austerity measures, New Zealand faces the “Greek road” of potential bankruptcy.
Economic growth already is faltering. Lower or declining growth despite larger money infusions shows trouble gets closer to erupting. As long as printing presses roll, day of reckoning is postponed, but that game only works for so long.
By Peter Schwarz - WSWS
Spain now faces the same fate that has befallen Greece. Under pressure from the European Union and the international financial markets, the country is sliding into a downward spiral of austerity and recession...Since the beginning of the year, the conservative government of Mariano Rajoy has adopted budget cuts of €37 billion...For the Spanish population, which is already suffering an unemployment rate of 23 percent and a youth unemployment rate of over 50 percent, this means unbearable hardship.
By Nick Beams - 19 April 2012
Austerity policies aimed at systematically lowering the living standards and social conditions of the working class must be intensified, even as governments continue to hand out hundreds of billions of dollars to the banks. This is the central message contained in two major reports published by the International Monetary Fund this week in advance of the IMF’s spring meeting this weekend.