Saturday, June 02, 2012

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Paul Krugman highlights the anti-social austerity agenda at work in the U.K. and U.S.:
(T)he austerity drive in Britain isn’t really about debt and deficits at all; it’s about using deficit panic as an excuse to dismantle social programs. And this is, of course, exactly the same thing that has been happening in America.
In fairness to Britain’s conservatives, they aren’t quite as crude as their American counterparts. They don’t rail against the evils of deficits in one breath, then demand huge tax cuts for the wealthy in the next (although the Cameron government has, in fact, significantly cut the top tax rate). And, in general, they seem less determined than America’s right to aid the rich and punish the poor. Still, the direction of policy is the same — and so is the fundamental insincerity of the calls for austerity.
The big question here is whether the evident failure of austerity to produce an economic recovery will lead to a “Plan B.” Maybe. But my guess is that even if such a plan is announced, it won’t amount to much. For economic recovery was never the point; the drive for austerity was about using the crisis, not solving it. And it still is. 
- Meanwhile, Les Whittington identifies the Cons' attacks on fair wages as an example of the same in Canada. And Gerald Caplan points out that even as they demand nothing but sacrifice from the general public, the Cons are more than generous in handing out money to anybody who passes a partisan loyalty test.

- I've regularly criticized commentators in the past for using their own ignorance as a basis to claim the NDP somehow didn't exist on the political scene. And let's leave no doubt that the claim is equally asinine when applied to the Libs.

- Finally, Susan Delacourt nicely documents how the Cons have gone out of their way to tailor public images to political narratives which have nothing at all to do with reality. And I have to figure there's a delightful story to be written out of Scott Feschuk's description of David Wilks as "a brick in the toilet tank of democracy".

- Update: Before it's too late, I'll also point out rabble's list of budget protest events across Canada today - with a particular emphasis on the fact that they're reaching well beyond the largest urban centres.

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