June 26, 2010 |
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.
September 11, 2011 |
Under intense pressure from international lenders, Greece on Sunday announced a new set of austerity measures to meet deficit reduction targets and stamp out speculation that it would be forced out of the European single-currency zone. The measures, which include a two-year property tax, are intended to make up for revenue shortfalls that come to about $3 billion this year alone. Though designed to target mainly high earners, the new tariff could further anger the crisis-weary middle class and pose political risks for the socialist government, which repeatedly has pledged to protect Greek households from being hurt by further austerity measures.
May 11, 2011 |
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.
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 |
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.
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.
May 3, 2012 |
Bill Clinton has some advice for Europe's leaders: Focus on stimulus, not cost cutting. The former president told a capacity crowd inside the Beverly Hilton's grand ballroom that the continent cannot rely on austerity measures to bail itself out of the debt crisis. Instead, it needs to focus on multiyear plans to boost its nations' economies. "The prescription of austerity has continued to be pushed in the face of all the evidence that it won't work," Clinton said at the Milken Institute's 2012 Global Conference.