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June 26, 2010 | By Maria De Cristofaro and Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
Tens of thousands of Italians took to the streets Friday to protest public spending cuts that are part of a tide of government austerity washing over Europe. Demonstrators demanded that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi modify his plan to freeze public-sector salaries and slash local government funding, a tough retrenchment that he says is necessary to bring down Italy's budget deficit and bolster confidence in the battered euro. The protest came a day after hundreds of thousands of demonstrators turned out in France to denounce a move to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. Germany, Portugal, Spain and Greece are all grappling with rising discontent over tough new public spending regimes.
May 11, 2011 | By Anthee Carassava, Los Angeles Times
Ancient Greeks coined the word "austerity. " Modern Greeks are resenting it. Waving red flags and toting colorful placards, thousands of workers walked off the job Wednesday, pouring onto the streets of Athens and other Greek cities to challenge a new rash of proposed reforms and cost-cutting measures designed to save the cash-strapped country $33 billion through 2015. In Athens, about 30,000 protesters marched outside the nation's parliament building, jeering lawmakers and calling them "thieves" and "robbers.
July 1, 2011 | By Anthee Carassava, Los Angeles Times
Greece's Parliament on Thursday passed crucial legislation implementing unpopular austerity measures demanded by international creditors to unbolt rescue funds and ease fears of Europe's first sovereign default. The legislation, enabling swift implementation of $40 billion in budget cuts, plus a $72-billion sell-off of state assets, was backed by 155 lawmakers of the 300-member Parliament. Five abstained, four were absent and 136 lawmakers, mainly opposition conservatives, voted against the bill, the second and final piece of austerity legislation put to the test this week.
January 26, 2011
Addressing a Congress remade by Democratic losses in the November election, President Obama on Tuesday offered a credible prescription for economic growth and a reduction in federal spending. For much of his State of the Union speech, Obama preached austerity. He called for a five-year freeze in domestic spending, but acknowledged that significant deficit reduction would require even more painful measures, such as reining in the costs of Medicare and Medicaid. It wasn't clear that austerity would extend to Social Security benefits.
May 8, 2012 | Michael Hiltzik
The European elections have concluded and the results are clear: Voters in France and Greece are a lot smarter than economic policymakers in the United States. Or at least they're a lot more attuned to the folly of relying on austerity as a tool of economic growth. If you've missed the weekend's headlines, French voters elected their first Socialist president since Francois Mitterand left office in 1995. The new president, Francois Hollande, won after promising to loosen the reins of economic austerity and impose more sacrifices on the rich.
February 24, 2011 | By Anthee Carassava, Los Angeles Times
Wielding wooden batons, rocks and gas bombs, protesters clashed with police Wednesday in demonstrations across Greece against austerity measures. The clashes erupted out of a massive march in central Athens that drew tens of thousands of workers balking at belt-tightening measures prescribed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund for the country's broken economy. The protest reflected the still high level of volatility in countries making large cuts in services through austerity programs.
May 8, 2012
Political upheaval in Europe reached a new apex over the weekend when French voters threw out their incumbent president and Greeks gave the heave-ho to the ruling parliamentary coalition. The results suggest that a new consensus is emerging in Europe in favor of more economic stimulus, but they also call into question the continent's ability to agree on a plan to keep its fiscal problems from spreading uncontrollably. European leaders had agreed to a series of pacts that would rescue Greece and other defaulting countries in exchange for steep reductions in their red ink, while also requiring every country that relies on the euro to shrink their debts and curb deficit spending.
October 21, 2011 | By Anthee Carassava, Los Angeles Times
Defying raging protests that left one man dead, Greece's Parliament on Thursday approved additional austerity measures to secure desperately needed financial aid and stave off the country's imminent default. The beleaguered government eked out 154 votes in favor, just three more than it needed to approve the legislation, which included tax hikes, wage and pension cuts, and the termination of 30,000 jobs in the costly public sector. Two lawmakers were absent and 144, mainly conservative deputies, voted against the bill, the second and final vote on the unpopular austerity measures in two days.
March 3, 2010 | By Henry Chu
The outside world applauded last December when Ireland unveiled its harshest budget in a generation. Stinging cuts and higher taxes were needed to tame a runaway public deficit and give the limping Celtic Tiger some of its roar back, officials said. Three months later, Ireland has become something of a poster boy for good behavior in bad times, held up as an example to Europe's other debt-laden economies, particularly Greece. Analysts say that by biting the bullet, the Irish government has managed to hang on to a degree of investor confidence and lay the foundation for an eventual return to economic growth.
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