Austerity Hastens Economic Decline
Force-fed austerity crushes ordinary people.
by Stephen Lendman
Obama and other Western leaders face Depression conditions. Roosevelt addressed them in the 1930s. Imagine how austerity then would have imposed greater hardships.
Instead Americans got Social Security, homeowners loan refinancing, and moratoriums on foreclosures. Small farmers were helped unlike current subsidies earmarked for agribusiness.
Farm credit provided refinancing help. Doing so let many stay solvent and survive.
Unemployment insurance was established in partnership with states. Jobless workers got help. Now they're being told go find a job. We won't help you. More on that below.
FDR's alphabet soup of programs created jobs. Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers built public infrastructure and worked on other projects.
Civilian Works Administration (CWA), National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), Public Works Administration (PWA), Works Progress Administration (WPA), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and other federal initiatives put millions back to work.
Despite hard times, people got help. So did America. Accomplishments were impressive.
They included building or renovating 700,000 miles of roads, 7,800 bridges, 45,000 schools, 2,500 hospitals, 13,000 parks and playgrounds, 1,000 airfields, and other infrastructure projects.
Much of Chicago's lakefront was built. Unemployment dropped from 25% in May 1933 to 11% in 1937. It then spiked when victory was declared too early. War production revived economic growth. Full employment followed. Mirror opposite conditions exist today.
Over three years after the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) declared America's recession over in June 2009, unemployment, based on how calculated in the 1980s, approaches 23%.
Poverty is at Depression levels and rising. Stimulus and job creation programs are absent. Austerity is policy. So is directing America's resources for militarism, wars, banker bailouts, and other corporate handouts.
Growing public needs go begging. Instead of New Deal help, anti-New Dealism is policy. Increasingly people are on their own sink or swim.