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AltAusterity Digest #69 October 11 - 17, 2018

This week in Austerity News:

Oct 19, 2018

For The Guardian, Will Hutton looks at how policymakers’ faith in the free market has undermined the social fabric in Britain. Hutton cites a recent study by Thiemo Fetzer, which has shown how the geography of spending cuts between 2010 and 2016 in turn were related to the growth of the United Kingdom Independence Part and the Leave vote in the Brexit referendum. Hutton also describes how the structure of austerity in Britain has almost exclusively entailed spending cuts – by 2020 nearly 25% per capita – rather than raising taxes. These cuts have disproportionately affected people are regions already on the cusp of deprivation.

On Tuesday, Greece’s largest public sector union issued a statement that it would be conducting a 24-hour walkout to demand hirings, wage and pension increases, and tax cuts. The ADEDY labour union is calling for the strike to be held in November 14th, representing the first major strike since Greece exited its bailout programme in August. Despite exiting the programme, Greece is still subject to a strict post-bailout surveillance plan with the EU and IMF. Greece’s first budget under this surveillance plan will be submitted this month for creditor approval.

The Trump Republicans have increased the federal deficit by 17% from last year. According to the Treasury Department, the $779 billion deficit for 2018 is the largest since 2012 when the country was still injecting massive amounts of money to stimulate the economy. One of the biggest drivers behind the massive deficit was the loss of $76 billion in corporate taxes. The 22% shortfall in corporate tax revenues over last year is due in large part to the massive corporate tax cuts passed by the Republicans. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a think tank concerned with rising debt levels, has warned that the deficit could reach $1 trillion as soon as next year.

Research from The London School of Economics and Political Science by Mia Gray and Anna Barford looks at the uneven development of austerity across the UK. Using spatial analysis and local authority budgets, the researchers show how the relationship between central and local governments have shifted, as well as the diminished capacities of local levels of government. The study found that variation between localities – in terms of funding, local tax-base fiscal resources, assets, service-need and demographics – led to variations in spending cuts. The researchers’ findings demonstrate how areas with the highest need for social services were also those most impacted by the cuts.  

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!