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AltAusterity Digest #111 September 12-18, 2019

This week in Austerity News:

Sep 20, 2019

David Cameron is facing backlash after stating in his memoir that it might have been beneficial for the UK to make post-crisis austerity cuts deeper and faster. The former-PM doubled down on his legacy of austerity in the UK by stating he should have “ripped the plaster off” in the years immediately following the crisis. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has condemned the remarks, pointing out that Cameron has “no idea the scale of human suffering his austerity cuts inflicted on our communities.”

In August 2018, the Ontario Conservative government released figures that projected a $15 billion deficit. Official figures show that the deficit was actually $7.4 billion for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The figure has been continually revised downward with each fiscal report, with the spring report still projecting a deficit of $11.7 billion. The difference from projections to reality is allegedly due to higher revenues and lower than anticipated spending. The Conservatives have been accused of inflating the deficit in order to pursue an estimated $2.3 billion in cuts to public services.

The former Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Douglas Hotlz-Eakin, told Yahoo Finance that the federal debt is the greatest risk facing the U.S. over the long term. Earlier this year, the CBO reported that the U.S. federal debt could reach 92% of GDP by 2030. This fiscal year, the top areas of expenditure were social security ($956 billion), national defense ($632 billion) and Medicare ($625 billion). The top revenue sources were individual income taxes ($1.535 trillion), social insurance and retirement ($1.139 trillion) and in distant third corporate taxes ($170 billion). Trumps decisions to cut corporate taxes and increase defense spending have been the prime drivers of the current $1.067 trillion deficit. 

According to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week, Medicare for All would reduce poverty in the US by about 20%. These figures are based on the fact that 8 million of the nation’s 42.5 million poor are put below the poverty line by having to pay medical out-of-pocket expenses like deductibles, co-pay, coinsurance and self-payments. According to the data, medical out-of-pocket expenses are responsible for eating into 22% of the income for those living in poverty. For households with earnings 400% above the poverty line, the comparable figure is 4.6%. According to Jacobin, these figures mean Medicare for All is also the most important anti-poverty strategy proposed so far in the 2020 U.S. presidential race.

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.