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AltAusterity Digest #95 April 8-24, 2019

This week in Austerity News:

Apr 26, 2019

Discourse around healthcare cuts in Ontario are becoming polarized. Toronto Councillor Joe Cressy, who chairs the city’s board of health, stated that provincial cuts will cost Toronto $1 billion over 10 years and lead to deaths. A spokesperson for Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott disputed this figure as the reported cuts to Toronto’s health budget are just under $450 million over 10 years. Toronto Public Health funds provide services including student nutrition programs, vaccination programs and food safety inspections. It also played a leading role in preventing the infectious disease outbreaks of SARS and H1N1.

Government borrowing in the UK has fallen to its lowest annual level in 17 years. Borrowing for the 2018-19 financial year was £24.7bn, representing a £17.2bn drop from the previous financial year. This reduction in borrowing may mean a relaxation on spending as the deficit fell to 1.2%. Britain’s debt agency said it was planning on selling an extra £3.7 billion government bonds, bringing the total to £117.8 for the 2019-20 financial year. As Brexit looms, finance minister Philip Hammond has put forward the prospect of additional spending or further tax cuts should a deal on withdrawal from the EU be reached.

The nationalist Law and Justice party (PiS) government of Poland has announced legislation that will allow exams to be held despite an ongoing teachers’ strike. The Polish teachers’ strike has shut down thousands of schools for more than two weeks as they protest pay and working conditions. According to a poll by the Rzeczpospolita newspaper, teachers earn 1,750-2,800 zloty a month after taxes, while the average net salary in the private sector is around 3,700 zloty. The emergency legislation is likely to pass in the lower house of parliament given the PiS’s majority of 237 seats out of 460.

Jacobin interviews Lindsay Koshgarian, who is the program director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. Koshgarian discusses the most recent Trump budget, especially as it relates to yet another round of massive increases in military spending paired with severe cuts to core government services. Military spending will increase by $750 billion while domestic spending is set to be cut by $2.7 trillion over the next 10 years, including slashing budgets for Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, student loans, and EPA funding. Critical of the military-industrial complex, Koshgarian advocates for alternative spending on areas that can expand ‘good jobs’ such as renewable energy programs, healthcare and education.

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.