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AltAusterity Digest #27 December 14-20, 2017

This week in Austerity News:

Dec 22, 2017

The Republican tax bill has passed in Congress and the Senate. The most significant tax reforms since 1986 were pushed through both houses although 52% of adults opposed the tax plan according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. Only 27% of adults polled supported the bill. The greatest beneficiaries will be the super-wealthy, corporations and the commercial property industry. The tax cuts within the bill with shift the tax burden towards lower-income persons, add $1.5 tn to the debt over the next 10 years, and will have profound implications for Obamacare and medical coverage.

In an opinion piece for The Guardian, Larry Elliot historicizes the current age of austerity, and the failure of modern Left parties to engage in class politics. Elliot, citing William Mitchell and Thomas Fazi (Reclaiming the State) claims that the left has given up on the politics of class and turned towards identify politics. Additionally, Elliot highlights the tension between the roles of national governments and supra-national organizations in regulating capitalism.

In an interview with Jacobin¸ Podemos’ Secretary General Pablo Iglesias discusses the Catalan crisis, the challenges to Spain’s Left, and the quest to win state power. Although Podemos’ has debated whether to focus more on their social movement origins (from the 15M occupy movement) Iglesias claims that electoral success is also necessary. According to Iglesias, social movements and institutional engagement do not have to be oppositional, but can be mutually constitutive.

On Tuesday, Greek lawmakers approved the country’s 2018 budget, making it the final bailout budget that has restrained Greece for the past eight years. With a projected growth rate of 2.5% for 2018, the government is expecting to generate a surplus (minus debt servicing) of 3.82% of GDP. The fiscal targets – which will require cuts to further spending, reducing pensions, public-sector “efficiency” drives, the privatization of power stations, and the tightening of unions’ strike mandates – have been approved by both the EU and the IMF. 

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!