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Iceland, Greece, Portugal, Spain and then the United States? Are these financial crises real? They are all strikingly similar, a worldwide economic collapse and strangely, the answer seems, uniformly, to squeeze the people, real hard. Governments must move toward austerity measures it is said, to enable repayment to international banks.

It prompts the question, who is calling the shots here? Speculators circle the wounded, betting in favor of default driving up interest rates and deepening the crisis. So is the crisis real or man made? The Greek Prime Minister Papandreou addressed it this way, "There is only one dilemma: Will we let the country go bankrupt or will we react? Will we let the speculators strangle us, or will we take our fate in our own hands?"

The immediate problem is an under performing world economy. So why the rush towards austerity? When Herbert Hoover tried that policy during the last Great Depression it only made matters worse.

The 3 percent solution,

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In all of these nation's financial travails the bankers insist on reducing each nation's budget deficits to no more than 3 percent of GDP. This may or may not be the correct answer, but to impose these drastic budget cuts will guarantee that the innocent will suffer. In the case of Ireland, the bankers want the state to reduce debt from 32 percent of GDP to 3 percent in just four years.

In 2008 Ireland began austerity measures that amounted to 9 percent of GDP. This next proposed round of cuts will be even more severe then the last, six billion Euros next year alone. Then another fifteen billion Euros by 2014, as labor leaders argue, that the cuts will strangle any chance at growth. This isn't a sick economy, this is a relatively strong economy. After a disastrous 2009, the Irish economy grew at 2.2 percent in 2010.

Ireland's corporations are making profits, is this another jobless recovery? Will the additional budget cuts crush economic consumption and make a bad situation worse? Ireland isn't broken, its suffering from a down turn in the world economy. It has a strong export sector but is being dogged by economic wolves.

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Unemployment is a 13 percent and two thirds of all the Ireland's home mortgages are adjustable rate mortgages. Five percent of those mortgages are 90 days past due now, what will these budget cuts do to that number? Damned if you do and damned if you don't, without the new loans from the international bankers interest rates would rise and sink the economy. If we look at Ireland in the context of Europe, Ireland's growth is greater than France or the Great Britain it is one of the more vibrant economies in Europe, so why the rush? Why potentially hobble an economy so likely to rebound?

All across Europe we see the same scenario, draconian budget cuts in the name of continued financing from international banks. If Weimar Germany teaches us anything, it is that extorting vast sums out of a struggling economy will likely end badly. These aren't unhealthy economies in good times. They are unhealthy economies in a time of economic plague. So what's the hurry? Why not implement modest budget reform and try to assist the spending side of the equation to stimulate growth as Roosevelt did in the 1930's?

The United States is a different story entirely, Free Trade, exorbitant military spending and massive tax cuts have created a huge hole in the budget. Because wage growth is flat, for the majority of Americans, their ability to consume, pay taxes and grow the economy out of the crisis is limited. The United States exports commodities and imports finished goods, a lose-lose proposition. High volume, low profit items such as, grain, coal and timber yield export dollars but few jobs and little room for growth.

The flip side are products such as nuclear power, defense products and commercial aviation which yield huge profits on low volumes. The much heralded Boeing "Dreamliner" is made up of 60 percent foreign components. It won't be so much, built in the United States as assembled in the United States. Meanwhile in China, they push ahead with C-919 the first Chinese civil airliner designed for export. After years of building components for Boeing and Airbus the China Aircraft Corporation is preparing to jump into the world market fray along with its American partner General Electric.

Still the question haunts us, what's the hurry? Why impose permanent draconian solutions and stifle growth and prolong an otherwise temporary situation?

As John Prine wrote, "there's a hole in Daddy's arm where all the money goes." There is a hole in Daddy's world where all the money goes.

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World economic growth is at  - 0.7 percent. European Union countries are all in negative numbers save for Germany. The EU, including Germany is at - 4.1 percent and the United States is at -2.63. Now, put yourself in the place of an international banker looking forward towards next year's six figure bonus check. What's a banker to do? Invest in some first world country stilted with negative growth numbers or move on to greener pastures?

Peoples Republic of China  9.096 percent growth, India 7.4 percent growth. Vietnam 5.3 percent, Laos 7.59 or Indonesia 4.546 percent growth.

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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that I (more...)
 

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