The Eurozone’s ‘New Austerity Model’ » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.
by Jack Rasmus
In the coming weeks and months, as the Eurozone economy weakens still further, it is likely that debates and splits within the Eurozone capitalist elites will continue to intensify.
The Eurozone economy has never really recovered from the 2008-09 financial crash and recession. Austerity policies—that played a major role in preventing a sustained Eurozone economic recovery for the past five years—are now evolving into still newer forms.
Events in the recent past in Spain, measures approved in just the past week by the newly (Read more…)
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Paul Krugman discusses the U.S.’ multi-decade pattern of income stagnation. David MacDonald and Kayle Hatt study the price we’ve paid to suit the Cons’ political purposes, while Kristin Rushowy reports on two new calls for a genuine child care system. And Andrew Jackson notes that the Cons’ only real end goal has been to hand free money to people who don’t need it: The government forecasts a deficit of $2.9 billion in this fiscal year, (2014-15.) Yet there would almost have been a surplus this year if the (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- Jenny Uechi and Warren Bell expose Canada’s embarrassing place as the only government participating in a climate-denial group pushing for a dirty war against the planet. But despite the Harper Cons’ worst efforts, there’s some good news on the climate front – as the use of solar energy is booming in the U.S., while a new bilateral deal between the U.S. and China is rapidly eliminating the Cons’ traditional excuses for blocking international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
- Kathryn May reports on some of the vital public services (Read more…)
Renzi seeks to avert labour battlefield – English – ANSA.it.
Rome, November 7 – Italian Premier Matteo Renzi on Friday reiterated a warning against letting labour-reform issues become a “terrain of conflict”. “I’ve made this appeal in the last few days and I’ll make it again,” he said at the opening of a Piaggio Aerospace plant at Villanova d’Albenga near the French border. Tension is high between Renzi’s executive and Italy’s biggest trade union confederation, the CGIL – especially its metalworkers’ arm FIOM – over the government’s Jobs Act labour reform. The reform features changes for new hires (Read more…)
Unions incensed after ‘surreal’ meeting – English – ANSA.it.
(ANSA) – Rome, October 27 – The leaders of Italy’s four main labor union federations were incensed Monday after a meeting with government ministers, ostensibly to discuss the government’s proposed 2015 budget, turned out to be what they said was a one-sided exercise. The government sent its labor, economy, and civil service ministers to the table without a mandate to negotiate, respond, or even schedule further meetings, the union leaders said. “They had no mandate to debate anything with us,” said CGIL chief Susanna Camusso. “This government does not intend (Read more…)
CGIL rally: 1 million, plus 1,000 police, and PD MPs – English – ANSA.it.
(ANSA) – Rome, October 24 – As many as one million people, one thousand police officers, and a small number of dissident members of the governing Democratic Party (PD) are expected at a major rally called for Saturday by Italy’s largest trade-union federation CGIL against Premier Matteo Renzi’s Jobs Act. The rally has been planned for several weeks as the country’s most left-wing union takes aim at provisions in the Jobs Act, which is moving through Parliament and would reduce job protections for new employees. (Read more…)
Will The Juncker Commission Continue To Entrench Neoliberal Policies?.
A few days ago, the designated European Commission finally showed its true colours: It wants to make sure that its economic policy recommendations become enforceable. Deregulation of rent setting systems, adjusting the retirement age to account for life expectancy and increased flexibility in wage-setting mechanisms were mere recommendations in 2014. That is supposed to change now. Its instruments are the competitiveness pacts 2.0 and a separate budget for the Euro area, even though there is no legal basis for such a measure. A decision is going to be made at (Read more…)
Mark Blyth: The Return Of Class Politics In The UK.
For David Cameron, cutting spending in a highly unequal society works because it doesn’t affect those who matter to him. This used to be called class politics.
The prime minister’s speech at the lord mayor’s banquet last year was notable in part because its main message, that “we need to do more with less. Not just now, but permanently,” was delivered from a throne bedecked in gold to applause from members of the financial elite. But it’s the other less commented upon aspects of last year’s speech that signal why the (Read more…)
This and that for your Sunday reading.
- Thomas Frank reviews Zephyr Teachout’s Corruption in America, and finds there’s even more reason to worry about gross wealth buying power than we could identify before: We think of all the laws passed over the years to restrict money in politics — and of all the ways the money has flowed under and around those restrictions. And finally, it seems to me, we just gave up out of sheer exhaustion. According to Teachout, however, it’s much worse than this. Our current Supreme Court, in Citizens United, “took that which had been (Read more…)
John Weeks: The EU Recovery That Never Was.
Economic recovery in the Eurozone is not delayed. It is non-existent. The Financial Times for the first day of October carried several articles assessing the European economies, written as if a prize would go to the most pessimistic — stagnation and decline of EU manufacturing, the European Central Bank initiates asset purchases to prevent deflation from sweeping the continent, France and Italy sure to miss their fiscal targets, and the head of the IMF warns of global economic “mediocrity”. And, as the comics say, that’s the good news.
The (Read more…)
Renzi budget has business ‘dreaming’ and unions worried – English – ANSA.it.
CGIL and FIOM metalworkers rally for jobs Redazione ANSA Rome
14 October 2014
(ANSA) – Rome, October 14 – Italy’s employers on Tuesday hailed Premier Matteo Renzi’s forthcoming 2015 budget bill as a dream come true while Italy’s largest CGIL labor federation slammed it as a recessive move that does not do enough for workers. The 30-billion-euro budget featuring 18 billion euros in tax cuts aims to kick-start the Italian economy, which is now its third recession in six years. It goes to the cabinet for ratification (Read more…)
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Alex Hunsberger argues that the Good Jobs Summit reflected a gap between labour strategies aimed merely at trying to take a slightly larger cut of a corporate-owned system, and those which actually propose and fight for something better: The most useful and engaging part of the weekend occurred not in the plenary sessions but during the small group discussions on Saturday, where participants had a chance to talk to one another in more depth about questions related to labour’s strategy to improve conditions for workers…Participants asked questions such as: Why bribe (Read more…)
Germany needs ‘small miracle’ to avoid recession after exports fall by 5.8% | Business | The Guardian.
The fall in exports comes as sanctions between Russia and Europe and a flagging economy in the wider eurozone take their toll on Germany. Photograph: Frank Augstein/AP
German exports suffered the biggest monthly fall in more than five and a half years in August, leaving Europe’s largest economy in need of “a small miracle” to avoid recession in the third quarter.
Exports fell by 5.8% compared with July to €92.6bn (£72.8bn). The decrease is the latest sign of (Read more…)
Five charts that show Germany is heading into recession | Business | theguardian.com.
Germany is on brink of recession Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Germany is on the brink of recession. Recovery in Europe’s powerhouse went into reverse in the second quarter when the economy shrank by 0.2%.
All the evidence suggests the weakness persisted in the third quarter amid tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine and a flagging recovery in the eurozone economy.
Here are five charts underpinning expectations of a fresh German recession.
Germany’s trade position is deteriorating
German exports fell by 5. (Read more…)
Austerity has been an utter disaster for the eurozone | Business | The Guardian.
Austerity has been an utter and unmitigated disaster, which has become increasingly apparent as European Union economies once again face stagnation, if not a triple-dip recession. Photograph: Vladimir Rys/Getty Images
“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the theory,” goes the old adage. But too often it is easier to keep the theory and change the facts – or so German chancellor Angela Merkel and other pro-austerity European leaders appear to believe. Though facts keep staring them in the face, they continue to deny (Read more…)
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- In the context of Scotland’s referendum on independence, Polly Toynbee reminds us why fragmentation can only serve to exacerbate inequality – a lesson worth keeping in mind as the Cons look to devolve responsibility for taxation and public services in Canada: What’s to be done? The answer from all sides is “localism”. Westminster’s monstrous hegemony must be broken up with devolution. If Scotland goes, rump UK will be bereft and depleted. But if Scotland stays, monumental home-rule promises made in the last week’s panic will offer Scotland immense tax, spending and borrowing (Read more…)
Spain prepares for an autumn of discontent by buying €1bn of riot gear | World news | The Guardian.
The Spanish government is readying itself for an autumn of discontent, spending nearly €1bn on riot gear for police units as disparate protest groups prepare a string of demonstrations.
Since June, the interior ministry has tendered four contracts to purchase riot equipment ranging from shields to stab vests. The ministry also finalised its purchase of a new truck-mounted water cannon, an anti-riot measure used during Spain‘s dictatorship and the transition to democracy but little seen in recent years. Despite attempts (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Bryce Covert writes that U.S. workers are receiving a lower share of economic output than at any point since 1950 – and that the decline in wages has nothing to do with the quality or quantity of work: Workers aren’t earning less because they’re slacking off — just the opposite. Their productivity increased 8 percent between 2007 and 2012 while their wages actually fell, a trend that has been going on since at least 1979. And they’ve been speeding up since the recession, increasing their productivity last summer at the fastest pace (Read more…)
This and that for your weekend reading.
- Andrew Jackson writes that public investment is needed as part of a healthy economy, particularly when it’s clear that the private sector isn’t going to put massive accumulated savings to use. Bob McDonald notes that we’d be far better off using public money to fund basic research instead of funnelling it toward the business sector. And Ed Keenan looks to Ontario for examples of how far more money is flowing into questionable corporate handouts than toward basic human needs.
- Meanwhile, Lana Payne exposes the Cons’ efforts to both downplay and reduce (Read more…)
Eurozone fears of stagnation grow as France and Italy suffer | World news | The Observer.
Francois Hollande and Paris’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, at a ceremony on 25 August marking the 70th anniversary of liberation. Photograph: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images
François Hollande removed his government’s leading anti-German, anti-austerity leftwinger last week. By the following day the French president had already co-opted part of the message of the departed disloyal firebrand, Arnaud Montebourg.
As France’s ambassadors from around the world converged on Paris for their annual presidential pep talk, Hollande launched a fresh broadside against Berlin and Brussels. He called for (Read more…)
Why Italy’s stagnation could be the future for the entire eurozone | Riccardo Bellofiore | Comment is free | theguardian.com.
This summer Italy fell into a triple-dip recession. After the 2008/09 collapse, the economy stagnated, heading back into recession during 2011 and never really recovering. The philosophy of Giulio Tremonti, who was the economic minister at the time, was to wait and see, until speculation killed Berlusconi’s government. Prime ministers Mario Monti and Enrico Letta followed Brussels’ self-defeating diktat for fiscal rigour, but even with moderate deficits the public debt/GDP ratio soared.
The situation remained under control only (Read more…)
Assorted content to end your week.
- Ralph Surette suggests that Nova Scotia’s tax and regulatory review pay close attention to the fact that it can do more than simply slash both: Nova Scotia already has relatively low corporate taxes and lower than average taxes for the highest earners. Yet none of this can seem to get into the conversation that has us as high-tax, anti-business and anti-everything. I invite the review committee to pin down where we actually stand on the comparative tax scale.
I also invite it to take note of what’s going on next door. New Brunswick (Read more…)
An austerity revolt has broken the French government. Will the EU follow? | John Palmer | Comment is free | theguardian.com.
If there were any lingering doubts about the seriousness of the crisis hanging over the future of the euro – and potentially of the European Union itself – the shock announcement of the dissolution of the French government should remove them.
The tensions within the French socialist government have been building up for months as the economy has threatened to “double dip”. But it has been public criticism by the French economy minister, Arnaud Montebourg, of Paris’s compliance (Read more…)