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AltAusterity Digest #84 January 31 - February 6, 2019

This week in Austerity News:

Feb 08, 2019

During a meeting of anti-poverty charities in Glasgow, Jeremy Corbyn has called for a snap general election. Corbyn claimed that those who have been “bearing the brunt” of austerity over the last nine years cannot afford to wait any longer for a change in political leadership. According to statistics from the End Child Poverty coalition, a third of children in south-west Glasgow live in poverty and life expectancy for adults in the area is also markedly lower. Statistics also show that foodbank use in Scotland is at record levels, with an increase of 17% in the last year alone. Despite Corbyn’s calls for a snap election, recent attempts to push a no confidence vote have failed.

The French national auditor has stoked fears in the business community that President Emmanuel Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vest protests will expose France to future crises. One of the primary policy implementations of concern is the government’s 11 billion-euro ($12.5 billion) package to boost low incomes, which is expected to raise the 2019 deficit to 3.2% from the previous projection of 2.8%. The Cour des Comptes (Court of Audit) has forecasted that France will need to obtain a growth rate of 1.7% to meet budget targets. In response, the Finance Ministry has said that this year’s increased deficit is “limited and exceptional.”

As Super Bowl LIII was played last Sunday in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Jacobin examines how the facility was funded by a $700 taxpayer investment and how the NFL consistently transfers wealth from public to private hands. The new stadium of the Atlanta Falcons cost $1.6 billion to build, with almost half the cost being transferred form the public, despite the Falcon’s owner – Arthur Blank – having an estimated net worth of $4.7 billion. Since 1997, nearly $7 billion in public money has been used for building and maintaining NFL stadiums despite the stadiums being used as few as twenty times per year, proving jobs that are primarily low wage and part-time and contributing very little to local economic growth.

In Ontario an unnamed bureaucrat has transferred government documents to the opposition NDP party detailing the Progressive Conservatives plans for healthcare restructuring. The NDP has accused the Tories of working to privatize parts of the health system, while Health Minister Christine Elliot has said the government is committed to strengthening the public health system. Part of the draft bill calls for dissolving Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN) and creating a “super agency” with centralized powers. The Health System Efficiency Act would give the health minister the ability to force mergers or closures of any institutions providing health services as well as transfer services to a different location.

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!