6/14/11

Public sector cuts -- trimming the fat or cutting the bone?

Over the weekend the Globe and Mail ran a story basically depicting the public sector cuts in Greece as a rather humorous exercise in cutting ludicrous public sector perks.  


In reality, the cuts are all about imposing a sharp reduction in the living standards of Greek working people -- an obvious fact that is not missed by establishment news sources in their calmer moments.


Indeed, for a rather different take on the situation in Greece, read this business columnist from the national British newspaper, the Guardian.  


... fresh evidence was emerging of the impact of the savage cuts Athens has already imposed on its increasingly restive citizens.  The number of people unemployed has shot up by 40% over the past 12 months; the jobless rate now stands above 16%. Among young people it's a devastating 42%, representing extraordinary human and social cost. Yet the government's latest plans envisage another four years of slash and burn, taking the deficit from 7.5% of GDP this year to 1% by 2015. It's extreme fiscal masochism, and it isn't going to work. ....
The past year of pain has had very little to do with putting Greece's finances on a sustainable footing, and everything to do with papering over the catastrophic losses of the eurozone banks that indulged in an irresponsible lending spree in the run-up to the credit crunch.
All of this is relevant to Ontario, as we gird for parties of business that will (try to) cut public services in the period after the elections in Ontario and Canada.

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