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AltAusterity Digest #52 June 14-20, 2018

This week in Austerity News:

Jun 24, 2018

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), a UK-based research institute, has reported that an independent Scotland would face an extra 10 years of austerity. Analyzing the proposed economic strategy of the Scottish National Party (SNP), the IFS claimed that Scottish independence implied cuts in spending and benefits equal to 4% of GDP over a 10-year period. However, the conclusions of the IFS were contested by an SNP spokesperson, who doubled-down on the party’s intention for real-terms growth in spending.

The U.S. House Republicans released a proposal on Tuesday that aims to balance the budget in nine years. This budget proposal follows the GOP’s earlier tax cuts, which analysts say will add at least $1 trillion to the debt. The proposed budget, entitled “A Brighter American Future,” will aim to partially privatize traditional Medicare, and intends to reduce payments to the program by $537 billion over the next decade. Medicaid, the Federal health program for the poor, will also be targeted by limiting per-capita payments, among other reforms. The cuts to Medicaid are intended to generate $1.5 trillion in savings. Finally, the budget aims to increase work requirements for food stamps, and welfare payments, as well as requiring federal employees to contribute more to their retirement plans.

The incoming administration of Doug Ford has ordered a government-wide freeze on hiring and spending in Ontario. This directive follows Ford’s promise to save $6 billion in unidentified spending inefficiencies. Exempt from the hiring freeze are “essential front-line services staff” in jails, policing, fire and developmental services. While Ford promised that no public-sector workers will lose their jobs, the New Democrats and the Liberals have warned that the proposed cuts will lead to fewer services in health and education.

As the economic crisis in Greece reaches almost a decade, Al-Jazeera examines the fallout for the country’s poor. Despite the election of the left-wing Syriza party in January 2015, it’s promises to abandon the bailout programmes and negotiate a new deal with creditors never came to fruition. Despite a majority rejection (61%) of further austerity measures from the Greek population, the Syriza-led government has overseen measures including tax increased, capital controls, home auctions, and expanding privatization. The failure of Syriza has led to calls from Greek social movements for “breaking from the eurozone.”

That's it for this week's Digest! Check back next Friday morning for another edition, or subscribe to our newsletter for a weekly roundup. We'll also Tweet each time we add new content, so you can keep up with our work @AltAusterity and join the #altausterity conversation!