Austerity 101

Prime Minster David Cameron has announced a tough program of austerity in order to reduce England’s debts and move toward ending high budget deficits. He has been investigating what Sweden did during the 1990s when it faced a similar budget crisis. The Swedish government made clear to the Swedish people difficult times required decisions such as reducing the number of government employees and 500,000 were discharged. How does a nation handle austerity? Conservatives argue it is necessary to fire, fire, reduce, reduce workers in government positions. The Cameron cuts would result in 600,000 losing their jobs, and due to the large number of females in public employment this would mean most fired would be women. Are there other approaches to this dilemma of lack of money?

1. Sharing the burden. For example, if teachers have to be fired in a school district or firemen in fire houses, why not ask all in the profession to accept a 10% reduction in wages and thus save jobs?

2. Cameron is perfectly correct in enforcing a 10% reduction in the size of armed forces. Let’s be realistic, there is no need for so many fighter planes in the UK or the American air force. Other such reductions could be implemented without impairing the effectiveness of armies.

3. Raise taxes. Yes, RAISE taxes on the wealthy. Raising taxes will not impact the economy. The western world has to redistribute the wealth by establishing limits on how much the wealthy can keep. In America, the top 1% now control about 23% of the country’s wealth. This is simply too much and historically it is beyond previous numbers.

4. Use money obtained from taxes on the wealthy to be employed in backing new ideas for new industries. We need to unleash the creative thoughts of entrepreneurs who are the ones to develop the economy and create jobs.

5. End pork barrel projects that do not produce jobs. Use money to rebuild the infrastructure of America or England. Such projects create jobs.

6. Above all, speak honestly with the American and English population so all know what will be done. Cease rhetoric about “reducing waste in government.” Unless, of course, someone can specifically cite which waste should be eliminated.

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