Many countries in Europe are suffering through what can only be called economic conditions equivalent to the Great Depression of the 1930s. The so-called PIGS – Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain – suffer from high levels of unemployment, increasing poverty and decreasing access to public services. In order to pay for government debt incurred for suspect reasons (these countries spend less on average than other countries on the so-called welfare state), under orders from the European financial authorities, pensions and salaries have been slashed along with cuts to public spending on health, education and welfare, while public assets like water, hospitals, hydro are sold off to for-profit enterprises.
Robert Chernomas's blog
The United States fiscal cliff – if they fall off it is because they are cutting taxes and spending on the wrong things.
When I hear the word austerity, I think of something else: class warfare.
It is not really about budget deficits or government debt; it is about cutting workers’ wages, taxes, social programs, and environmental regulations. And, last but not least, it is about selling off the commons – our public goods like hydro, hospitals, schools and roads, often in the form of public-private partnerships.