The cost of austerity? Just look at the UK economy, it’s a mess.

For some strange reason, the Republicans are no longer bragging about the austerity movement in the UK.

In case you wondered why, check it out for yourself. It’s a colossal failure and it’s getting worse.

Just as many had predicted, austerity during a declining economy doesn’t fix anything. It only makes the problem worse, by cutting off critical finances and services when they’re needed the most. It’s much cheaper for governments to borrow the money and keep money moving during soft economic periods like this.

uk flag

UK flag via Shutterstock

Conservatives laughed off criticism of austerity, but it’s clear they were wrong.

Joe Stiglitz previously compared austerity to “medieval medicine.”

Paul Krugman said it was a recipe for ten more years of a depression.

The IMF reported that it was costing tens of billions in the UK alone. The UK deficit has increased despite claims of the opposite and austerity already triggered a double dip in the UK. Again, outside of the right wing fantasy-land, this was all predicted from the beginning.

The next time any Republican, or center-right Democrat, calls for austerity, wake them up and tell them to read the news beyond their home town or inside the Beltway. The end result of austerity is ugly, especially in these economic times, and we have plenty of examples of how destructive and costly it is. When they’re done looking at the failures in the UK, they can turn to Spain and Greece for more.

The economic update in the UK is not pretty and it just gets worse. What fool would want to inflict this kind of damage in the US?  From the Guardian:

Fitch expressed concern at Osborne’s decision to put back by a year to 2016-17 the date by which Britain’s national debt will start to fall as a proportion of gross domestic product. “In our view, missing the target weakens the credibility of the UK’s fiscal framework, which is one of the factors supporting the [AAA] rating,” the ratings agency said.

Although two years of zero growth will mean that the government’s budget deficit next year will be almost double the £60bn predicted in Osborne’s first budget in June 2010, the chancellor said progress was being made. By including the expected £3.5bn proceeds of the auction of the 4G spectrum he was able to say that the deficit was coming down in each year of the current parliament.

More promises and more failures. Each time the right wing finance minister plays around with the economy, the worse it gets. Growth was talked about, never materialized, and now here come cuts to the social system (sound familiar?). But of course, that’s what all of this was about from the beginning – conservatives forcing budget crises that then force cuts in social programs.

Just as Republicans want to hack the social system to pieces in the US, that’s what the Tories have wanted to do in the UK from the start. In the case of the UK, they are raising taxes on the rich, but they’re also dismembering the social system. There will be a cost to the middle class as well as to the overall economy. The system is there to help people and without it, something has to give.

Once again, it’s an austerity bomb. That’s the point of these policies.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • Kenneth C. Fingeret

    Hello Chris in Paris,

    Since this seems to be a “problem” imposed
    upon the incredibly shrinking middle class and the ever expanding poor
    by the “leadership” of the country doing the bidding of the wealthy the
    future will bring one or more rebellions till one succeeds. The most
    likely result of a successful rebellion will be some variation of the
    Nuremberg Trials (if the military are in charge) or the French
    Revolution (if civilians are in charge). People who have nothing have
    nothing to loose.

  • rhodi

    So we should spend spend spend while the US can’t even afford to pay back the interest rate on our loans. So its Ok for other countries to “own” us outright. Good luck with your ignorance.

  • arcadesproject

    well, yes, the English economy is a wreck and a ruin and the Greek economy has been brought to its knees and Spain has been turned into a hell hole and people in Ireland are suffering terribly. But what difference does it make? Nobody embarked on ‘Austerity’ in order to improve economies. They did it to effect a massive upward redistribution of wealth, which is about to be done, also too, in the US. As long as the 1% (or the 5% or the 10%) get what they want, , these people are not going to concern themselves with the ‘economy.’

  • Outspoken1

    A majority of the Brits voted in this gov’t that is continuing the austerity. Problem is both austerity and the myth that it works and that people don’t get the education why austerity does not work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.perdue.98 Bill Perdue

    Austerity is on the agenda because the rich want it to be.

    They’ll get their way no matter how irrational it seems to us because they own – lock, stock and barrel – the political prostitutes who call the shots in the WH, Congress and at the FED.

    So far their most successful method of imposing austerity has been their strategy of directly attacking unions and industries that are heavily unionized. It began with Carters attack on the CWA, on rail and airline unions and on teamster organized long haul truck drivers.

    It continued under Reagan and Bush1 and involved the massive transfer of union jobs and whole industries to non union nations, creating the Rust Belt and the loss of millions more union jobs with good pay and benefits. It escalated under Clinton with anti-union campaigns that produced s NAFTA and anti-consumer campaigns that resulted in the Clinton/Republican deregulation bills of 1999 and 2000. Bush2 offered federal aid to non union airlines hurt in the aftermath of 9-11 but refused aid to unionized airlines and he continued the export of union jobs. Obama has been the worst union buster of all and any number of rightwing Democrat and Republicans governors have followed his lead.

    Here’s a list of some of Obama’s union busting initiatives:

    Obama appoints another union busters as his chief of staff: In these Times 01 29 12 “Obama’s
    Union-Busting New Chief of Staff? Jacob Lew Helped Destroy Grad Students’ Union at NYU When Obama’s new Chief of Staff was NYU executive vice president, school ceased recognizing the grad students union” http://www.alternet.org/story/153935/obama’s_union-busting_new_chief_of_staff_jacob_lew_helped_destroy_grad_students’_union_at_nyu?page=entire

    Obama attacks airline and rail workers : LABORnotes 02 15 12 “Two years after President Obama and Democrats abandoned labor’s much-anticipated Employee Free Choice Act, they have refused to block Republicans intent on making life miserable for airline and rail workers. A bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, voted up 75-20 in the Senate, changes federal labor law to make
    organizing more difficult for railroad and airline unions. New rules will make it easier to decertify unions and harder to win elections when employers merge.” http://labornotes.org/2012/02/obama-democrats-deal-setback-airline-workers

    Obama attacks the UAW HuffPo 09 03 2010 “The White House is forcefully pushing back on former (Obama) car czar Steve Rattner’s upcoming book about his time in Washington, specifically the allegation that Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel once blurted “Fuck the UAW” when told that tens of thousands of autoworkers’ jobs were at stake in the restructuring of the auto industry.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/24/steven-rattner-interview-_n_737966.html

    Obama attacks federal workers and postal workers LABORNotes 03 06 2012 ” During the Obama
    administration, and especially during its first two years when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, the alliance between unions and their political patrons began to wither. The Employee Free Choice Act, the law that would have eased union organizing drives, was shelved. When the administration bailed out the auto companies, it dictated wage cuts, plant closings, and tens of thousands of layoffs, and stripped workers’ right to strike. The health care bill attacked union-negotiated plans. A green-job transformation for the economy stalled. Then Obama announced in December 2010 that salaries for federal workers, already low compared to those of private-sector workers with similar education and longevity, would be frozen for years into the future. http://labornotes.org/blogs/2012/03/labor-overlooks-bipartisan-attack-federal-workers%20

  • A reader in Colorado

    The Democrats are still arguing for austerity here. Asking to cut the budget, even if coupled with more taxes for the rich, is no less austerity. The language of “fixing the debt” and “serious entitlement cuts” is austerity. Presently the argument is whether or not millionaires or billionaires should pay more taxes, but this does nothing for the middle class or poor unless that money goes to stimulus.

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