With the victory of the Socialist candidate Francois Hollande over French President Nicholas Sarkozy, it signals the beginning of the end of right wing-imposed economic austerity programs around the world. Germany’s Angela Merkel, as head of the strongest economy in Europe, has been leading this austere assault on the not-so-strong economies of countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland in return for loans with which to pay their bills.
Problem is, the poor and middle class don’t like essential services getting cut, and certainly don’t like having to pay higher taxes to get their countries back in the black while those who caused the flow of all that red ink get tax breaks and bonuses while shoveling all their cash into hidden offshore tax havens.
Like all economic conservatives, Merkel and her ilk believe the only in austerity for the poor and not themselves. Someone name one government perk Merkel has eschewed as Chancellor of Germany. OK, time’s up and you couldn’t anyway. Same goes for every member of the legislative bodies throughout Europe and the United States. With them, it’s do as I say because I don’t have to.
Throughout economic history, austerity has never worked to balance budgets because, despite the lies told by those heads of state, and the Republican Party here, cutting spending to social programs never balances the budget—never. Anyone who tries to balance their household checkbook knows that when expenses exceed income you must do two things: cut discretionary spending (spending on luxury and fun items), and bring in more money.
On a national level, the discretionary spending on fun and luxury items are the tax breaks for the rich and the corporations, subsidies on things like oil and corn, and defense. The savings from doing just those few things would not only balance the budget but to a long ways toward paying down the deficit. In a time of depression, which the US is currently in, common sense and historical precedent shows you INCREASE spending on essentials like repairing infrastructure, job training and creation, and social services. You put spending money in the pockets of the poor—you don’t take it away. You spend money on preventive health care which is much cheaper than paying to treat illness. You spend money on regulatory agencies because it’s much cheaper to prevent a coal mine or an offshore oil rig from blowing up than it is to bury the dead and clean up the mess.
And the thing is, regular people don’t like to have to do without while the rich guys do as they please. John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Paul Ryan most likely dress in $2500 Armani business suits bought with taxpayer dollars, fly first class with airfare paid for with taxpayer dollars, and eat in the finest restaurants and stay in 5-star hotels, all paid for my taxpayer dollars; well, except for the times when lobbyists pick up the tab, so maybe not as many taxpayer dollars are being spent as we think.
Globally, people have had it with this austerity crap. They’ve rioted in Greece and London, and the Occupy movement has taken hold worldwide as well. People are finally asking for their piece of the pie instead of looking through the window at the rich eating all of theirs.
The election of a Socialist leader in France might just presage the conservatives being tossed out every else where there are truly free elections. It could also happen here in the United States.
It’s the New World Order, all right. It’s just not the new world the political conservatives had in mind.