Michael Hiltzik’s L.A. Times column nails it on the GOP myth that austerity somehow improves a bad economy. Au contraire, mes chers Repubs:
Voters in France and Greece are a lot smarter than economic policymakers in the United States. [...] The eurovoters weren’t reacting only to the inconvenience and harshness of austerity; they were also driven by evidence that it doesn’t work. [...]
Here’s how that applies to the policy debate in the U.S. If you’re cutting Social Security benefits for the working class to preserve tax rates favoring the rich, that’s unequal austerity. When interest rates on student loans are doubled and government aid for graduate students is eliminated, that’s unequal austerity. When public school teachers and librarians are laid off, that’s unequal austerity.
When you propose to alter Medicare so its costs to seniors rise sharply over time because the U.S. supposedly can’t afford to cover its elders, that’s unequal austerity. (This is the Medicare “fix” of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican.) [...]
Over the last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private employment has risen by about 2 million workers. But government payrolls have fallen by more than 215,000 — with more than half the collapse coming from local government, especially in local schools, which shed 99,000 teachers and other employees. Ain’t we smart?
The stimulus “spurred consumer spending, created jobs and raised gross domestic product beyond what it would have been otherwise.” How hard is this?
Unless, of course, you’re a Republican obstructionist whose sole mission is to make President Obama a one termer at all costs: