Paul Ryan’s “austerity” magic is destroying Spain

Pro-austerity Spain is now being hit with higher debt,  and larger recession.

In other words, the criticism of austerity that a lot of people have been making for year has, yet again, been accurate. Spain’s austerity is making a bad problem worse.

Remember that Spain used to have a budget surplus before the economic crisis, so government spending was never the central problem. But for conservatives, the answer everywhere has been to chop government spending, and somehow that will cure every problem, real or imagined.

While the theory was always questioned by those on the left, conservatives kept saying that the master plan needed more time – just give the cuts a little longer to perform their voodoo magic. Still, even conservatives couldn’t miss the devastating damage austerity has been causing to the failing economy in the UK, and American right wingers even started to abandon the word “austerity,” though not its actual policies.

Republicans would try to spin their version of austerity as somehow “different” than what was tried in Europe. People like Paul Ryan would still push the same failed concepts as European and UK right wingers did before him, but by calling it something else, somehow Ryan and his ilk would magically avoid the painful consequences.

Mel Brown / Shutterstock.com

I once destroyed an economy that was this big! (Mel Brown / Shutterstock.com)

But back to Spain, where things just keep getting worse. The unemployment rate is 26%, and few expect it to improve any time soon. For the youth of Spain, it’s truly becoming a lost generation, with an unemployment rate of 56.5%. (It’s no wonder Paul Ryan doesn’t want to use the word “austerity” these days.)

The right wing government in Spain made the normal promises about how austerity would solve the problem, but like the UK, it’s only making things worse. Cutting government spending is gutting the Spanish economy, and now making borrowing costs even higher because there is no growth. The direct correlation between cuts in government spending and cuts in economic growth are clear.

The problem of austerity is especially important now that President Obama has lost his advantage over the GOP in the polls on the economy. While Obama has never been a strong advocate of using a strong stimulus, he at least had a stimulus.

The irony is that, despite the typical GOP talk about the Obama bringing “European” and foreign ideas to America, it’s the Republicans that keep embracing failed European ideas.

What is abundantly clear from the European example is that austerity does not solve any problems. It just worsens the existing problems, and makes the 99% suffer. Spain, sadly, proves it yet again.


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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  • http://www.facebook.com/marcus.rech.1 Marcus Rech

    Lets look at how this engineered though, if the country becomes dependent and soft by taking money away from the people initially through high taxes for the purposes of spending and making local economies dependent on government money, then the politicians can systematically collapse economies that they want to.

    The sequester is big example, the politicians are making cuts to where it hurts, because it suits their goals. Why are federal judges getting furloughed when the government is actually spending more money than last year…?

  • Arc

    Nope in Spain we don’t have austerity. Government is growing bigger and bigger, increase of taxes, bail-outs (anti austerity fundamentalist usually don’t count bail outs as government spending) … The thing is that we are poorest so it seems the government is austere.

  • Badgerite

    How much more proof do those people need that they are wrong? Or doesn’t it matter to them?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Indeed. He’s so scrawny and tough even a cannibal would spit him out.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    a neo-liberal virus.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    With some qualifiers the next decade in America will look similar to Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union. It won’t be pretty. There will be no violent opposition, just years of suffering and die off. The 1% will entrench neo-feudalism.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    We don’t deserve it Lynchie. We have been paying attention and shouting bloody hell since LIL Bushie’s criminal run. It Just didn’t occur to us that Democracy was dismantled during the Clinton era and there’s not a thing we can do about it now. Congress doesn’t represent us. There is not one ethical or untainted member of congress who gives a good god damn what we think or how we suffer. Once they get to the beltway and see that incredible pile of money they are bought.

  • Indigo

    Of course, but I’m not convinced that Paul Ryan qualifies as a force of nature.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    It’s intentional. You can’t have a progressive democratic society without a viable middle class. Pushing everyone down into or to the brink of poverty is merely a means to repress and oppress the masses, because people who have no idea how they’re going to come up with the next rent payment or put a meal on the table wont be lobbying for health care or a decent retirement pension.

    Austerity protects and enhances the wealth of the top 1%, of which our ruling political elite are card-carrying members. It also contributes to the creation of a new corporatist plutocratic neo-feudal society.

  • ComradeRutherford

    It’s not a ‘bug’, it’s a feature! Republican policies have only ever led to one outcome: impoverishment o the middle class and the return of slavery.

    The wealthy are always engaged in class warfare, politicians jobs are to protect the wealthy’s class war from pushback by The People.

    Ryan and the GOP WANT millions of impoverished, homeless and starving Americans. That is the sole purpose of Conservatism.

  • nicho

    Well, we keep talking about cancer, floods, asteroids plummeting toward earth, and a host of other things that are potentially harmful and dangerous to us. It doesn’t mean we like them or approve of them, but we ignore them at our peril.

  • Indigo

    That’s exactly what I thought. And yet even we keep on talking about him. Why is that, I wonder. Maybe he’s the Devil?

  • nicho

    It’s only bad if you didn’t want it to happen. The outcome in Spain is exactly what the engineers of austerity wanted. The goal is to destroy the middle class and turn people into serfs.

  • Naja pallida

    Just someone that everyone keeps taking seriously, when he has built a career and a personal image on showing all the ways why nobody should be.

  • Indigo

    Who is Paul Ryan?

  • lynchie

    Our President and Congress haven’t mentioned unemployment in a long time. Either to address it in its broadest sense or what they are doing to combat it. In fact they haven’t done anything in a long time. Can’t get a gun control bill out, of course they had to take a couple of breaks. Couldn’t agree or even deal with the sequestration. I wish before i pass that i can find a job where i can make almost $200K a year with the best healthcare, retirement and benefits and have to do nothing on a weekly, monthly basis. If I don’t do my work every day I will be laid off. Wish we could lay off 15% of Congress to go along with the cuts in all government departments, airport closures, etc. We deserve this when we pay no attention to what the 1% are doing.

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