Sunday, March 3, 2013
Republicans force austerity on the nation
The Republican Party used its majority in the House of Representatives (Congress) to force a budget sequester. This month sequester is the strategy to impose austerity.
In economics austerity is the policy of reducing government spending by cutting social services such as health care, education, food assistance, and other welfare assistance. At the federal level, Republicans and some Democrats seek austerity by cutting social Security and Medicare. This week the Republicans insisted on massive budget cuts known as the sequester. By any name, these cuts are bad. In the current economic crisis, the governments of Ireland, Greece, Italy, the UK, Spain and Portugal have implemented austerity programs and cut their budgets creating more unemployment and making the recessions in these countries worse.
Austerity policies can be counter-productive because reduced government spending increases unemployment and thus cost more money for unemployment insurance and food assistance. These cut backs make the recession worse and last longer.
While unemployment remains high and economic growth slow, government policy should not impose austerity measures which reduce essential public safety programs for the middle and working classes and that shred the social safety net for the most vulnerable. Rather, government policy should prioritize public investments in job creation, public education and healthcare reform, while raising essential revenues by taxing the large corporations and the wealthiest citizens who can afford to pay.