April 9, 2010
When the International Monetary Fund or World Bank offer to lend money to a struggling third-world country (or “emerging market”), they demand “austerity measures“.
As Wikipedia describes it:
In economics, austerity is when a national government reduces its spending in order to pay back creditors. Austerity is usually required when a government’s fiscal deficit spending is felt to be unsustainable.
Development projects, welfare programs and other social spending are common areas of spending for cuts. In many countries, austerity measures have been associated with short-term standard of living declines until economic conditions improved once fiscal balance was achieved (such as in the United Kingdom under Margaret Thatcher, Canada under Jean Chrétien, and Spain under González).
Private banks, or institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), may require that a country pursues an ‘austerity policy’ if it wants to re-finance loans that are about to come due. The government may be asked to stop issuing subsidies or to otherwise reduce public spending. When the IMF requires such a policy, the terms are known as ‘IMF conditionalities’.
Wikipedia goes on to point out:
Austerity programs are frequently controversial, as they impact the poorest segments of the population and often lead to a wider separation between the rich and poor. In many situations, austerity programs are imposed on countries that were previously under dictatorial regimes, leading to criticism that populations are forced to repay the debts of their oppressors.
The IMF has already performed a complete audit of the whole US financial system, something which they have only previously done to broke third world nations.
Al Martin – former contributor to the Presidential Council of Economic Advisors and retired naval intelligence officer – observed in an April 2005 newsletter that the ratio of total U.S. debt to gross domestic product (GDP) rose from 78 percent in 2000 to 308 percent in April 2005. The International Monetary Fund considers a nation-state with a total debt-to-GDP ratio of 200 percent or more to be a “de-constructed Third World nation-state.”
What “de-constructed” actually means is that a political regime in that country, or series of political regimes, have, through a long period of fraud, abuse, graft, corruption and mismanagement, effectively collapsed the economy of that country.
Given that experts on third world banana republics from the IMF and the Federal Reserve have said the U.S. has become a third world banana republic (and see this and this), maybe the process of turning first world into the third world is already complete.
But raising taxes and paring social services are necessary to dig us out of the debt hole, right? And we needed to spend that money to stabilize the economy, right?
And as I wrote last month:
House majority leader Steny Hoyer – a close ally to President Obama – says the U.S. needs to raise taxes and cut spending .
As Agence France-Presse reports:
The United States must embrace a blend of tax increases and spending cuts to rein in its deficit or face a potentially crippling debt crisis like the one in Greece, a top US lawmaker warned Monday.
“It is enough to look across the Atlantic at Greece’s extreme economic crisis and understand: It can happen here. If we don’t change course, it will happen here,” said Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer…
“It seems to me that the only solution that can win the support of both parties is a balanced approach: one that cuts some spending and raises some revenue while avoiding extremes in either direction,” he said.
Of course, many others have warned of the massive debt overhang in the U.S. as well.
But why aren’t our government “leaders” talking about slashing the military-industrial complex, which is ruining our economy with unnecessary imperial adventures?
And why aren’t they taking away the power to create credit from the private banking giants – which is costing our economy trillions of dollars (and is leading to a decrease in loans to the little guy) – and give it back to the states?
If we did these things, we wouldn’t have to raise taxes or cut core services to the American people.
And if there’s any shortfall, all we have to do is claw back the ill-gotten gains from the fraudsters working for the too big to fails whose unlawful actions got us into this mess in the first place. See this, this, this, this and this.
This article was posted: Friday, April 9, 2010 at 4:35 am