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AltAusterity Digest #45 April 26-May 2, 2018

This week in Austerity News:

May 04, 2018

Writing for The Intercept, David Dayen discusses the political and economic climate surrounding the promise of a job guarantee in America. While a central talking point in the debate over job guarantees is the cost, Dayen points out that hundreds of billions of dollars are already being given towards the purpose – though currently they are in the form of tax breaks and subsidies for corporations. While various estimates have put job guarantee costs between $260 and $543 billion, the recent Republican tax cuts are estimated to cost $1.34 trillion over the next ten years, undermining the argument that such a program would be fiscally impossible if the tax cuts could be reversed.

Arizona teachers are the most recent in the US education strike wave to fight for fully funded, quality public schools. Arizona teacher’s Red for Ed movement takes place in the state where school privatization has gone furthest, with over 180,000 charter school students. The proliferation of charter schools has largely been driven by the lobbying efforts of the Koch Brothers and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), as private schools now cost the state over $1 billion a year. While the striking teachers are focused specifically on school privatizations and public funding, their experiences have made them hostile to privatization in general.

In 2017, workers in OECD countries paid just over a quarter of their gross wages in tax. The study Taxing Wages 2018 found that the “net personal average tax rate” was 25.5%. In 20 of the 35 countries, increases in average personal tax rates were due to wage increases that impact tax-free credits. Average tax rates also fell in 13 countries. The report also examines how tax rates are impacted for households with children. On average, a one-earner married couple on an average wage with two children pays 14% on gross wages. The highest tax rates for single workers with no children were in Belgium (40.5%), Germany (39.9%) and Denmark (35.8%), while the lowest were in Chile (7%), Mexico (11.2%) and Korea (14.5%).

The Globe and Mail article surveys May Day protests, rallies and marches around the world. In Paris, mostly peaceful protests erupted into sporadic violence and vandalism as people protested President Macron’s economic policies. Across Russia, May Day demonstrations occurred with a focus on the Kremlin’s ban on the popular messaging app Telegram. In Turkey, dozens of people were detained for marching in defiance of a ban on Taksim Square – the city’s symbolic center. In Greece, thousands of people marched through Athens as city transport ground to a halt. German protests saw unrest as Berlin police called in 5,300 officers from across the country to the capital to maintain the crowds. Danish labour organizations and associated activists gathered in parks across the country and gave speeches often criticizing the center-right government. In Spain, more than 70 cities held marches calling for gender equality, higher salaries and pensions. Marches and demonstrations also occurred in Puerto Rico Macedonia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, South Korea, Indonesia and Cambodia.

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!