Now that Obama appears to be moving closer to letting the Republicans continue shredding the safety net he was elected to protect by adopting the very same austerity agenda that continues to fail so miserably across Europe, perhaps it's time to consider more of the consequences of that agenda. We already know what the sequestration bill Boehner shoved through Congress will do to hurt normal working families economically and about how it is likely to deprive as many as 750,000 workers of their jobs. That's what austerity is designed to do. By cutting back on social assistance to seniors and to the poor, the idea is that the wealthy-- who, after all, control the vast majority of the politicians-- will have to pay lower taxes. That is, and always has been, the basis for conservative politics.
Matthew O'Brien covers business and economics for The Atlantic and he assures us that the United States will "never, ever turn into Greece." He points out that there's no evidence that the U.S. is facing bankruptcy, insolvency or even a debt tipping point. Countries that borrow in a currency they control-- like the U.S., but not like Greece (nor like the "typical budget-conscious family" simple-minded Republican politicians are always urging the government to behave like)-- play under a different set of rules. They can never run out of money to pay back what they owe, since they can always print what they need as a last resort. That's not to say they actually do or should turn to the printing-press to finance themselves... [and] after all, inflation is a lot less bad than default for creditors... [C]ountries that don't have their own central bank, like euro members, can fall victim to self-fulfilling panics that push them into bankruptcy. In other words, markets force up interest rates because they fear default-- which then pushes them into default. It's a bank-run on a country."
Over in the U.K., the austerity party, the Conservatives, just felt the sting of what it means to back horribly unpopular cuts to the safety net. They came in 4th in a by-election in a by-election in Eastleigh last week, a constituency they have acknowledged they must win. David Cameron's government isfoundering following the Paul Ryan roadmap. And the beneficiaries aren't so much the mealy-mouthed Labour Party as it is the neo-fascist, racist UKIP. Greece is experiencing a renaissance in overt fascist politics right now. It's another bi-product of the austerity agenda. Golden Dawn is like a mashup of the German Nazi Party of the 1930s (and very much anti-Semitic, of course) and today's American Tea Party. Watch the video.
Golden Dawn, the extreme right-wing party in Greece, won 18 seats in the country's last election. Since then support for the party has doubled as it pushes tough new anti-immigrant laws, including banning non-ethnic Greeks from the military and police.
The message, which you can hear precisely in the film above, is clear and unambiguous-- and directly tied to the austerity agenda that has devastated Greece, articulated by a Golden Dawn political leader.
"The financial crisis will be resolved once we get rid of 3 million immigrants. These parasites drink our water, eat our food and breathe our Greek air. And they kill us! Once they leave we will have money to increase wages and eliminate unemployment. They are primitive. They are a miasma: subhuman; we don't care about their existence. We are ready to open the ovens! We will turn them into soap, but we may get a rash. So we'll only use it to wash our cars and pavements... We will make lamps from their skin... Gold teeth will belong to the state."
Can't happen here? Tea Party Republicans like Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Trey Radel (R-FL), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Paul Broun (R-GA) and dozens more, make no pretense about military weapons being for protecting their families or hunting big game. They claim the Second Amendment allows all weapons so that they can fight the government-- our government.
Are they fascists? Damn straight they are! And they are happy to bring about an economic collapse and a right-wing insurrection, a violent one. Greece will look like a tea party compared to what the Tea Party would like to make happen here. Can you guess how many Members of the House have zero Progressive Punch scores so far in the 113th Congress-- not just even on important bills, but on all roll calls. 50! That's 50 Republicans in the House who just vote NO on everything. And they have plans for this country.