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AltAusterity Digest #54 June 28-July 4, 2018

This week in Austerity News:

Jul 06, 2018

In Puerto Rico, the oversight board tasked with managing the island’s financial crisis has announced a new range of austerity measures. The worsening fiscal and humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico will now see an elimination of a $25 million scholarship fund for the island’s largest public university, as well as scrapping a $50 million annual fund used to rebuild infrastructure following the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Additionally, the board is expecting to change labour laws to allow “at-will employment,” which means employers are able to dismiss workers at any time without just cause.

A New York Times piece examines Denmark’s assimilationist policies for immigrant children. According to the article, “ghetto children” who live in low-income immigrant neighbourhoods are separated from their families for at least 25 hours a week, starting at the age of 1, and are given mandatory instruction in “Danish values.” Noncompliance with these “education” programs could result in a stoppage of welfare payments. Furthermore, the Danish government is aiming to expand these types of policies and pass them into law, with some proposals entailing a two-tiered justice system (one for Danes and another for those of “non-Western background”) or imposing four-year prison sentences on parents who force their children to make extended visits to their country of origin.

Over the past five years, US cities and states have given big tech companies $9.3 billion in subsidies. Much of these transfers have come from the cities and states with failing infrastructure, struggling schools and broken budgets. Analysis by watchdog group Good Jobs First figures that the handouts are also likely to increase over the next few years. As Amazon looks to establish its second headquarters (HQ2), regions have been offering massive incentives to attract the tech giant – including a tax break and infrastructure improvement package from Montgomery County in Maryland worth as estimated $8.5 billion. Good Jobs First has calculated that the average price of a job created by a “megadeal” ($50 million and up) costs taxpayers $658,000.

UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has criticized Theresa May’s plans to increase the National Health Service (NHS) budget by £20bn a year in real-terms funding over the next five years. The Labour leader has criticized prime minister May, claiming the funding increase would not be sufficient to deal with the current shortfalls the NHS is suffering from, and has promised to inject “5% more in the first year to deal with the immediate crisis.” The debate has emerged as the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday this month.

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