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AltAusterity Digest #58 July 26-August 1, 2018

This week in Austerity News:

Aug 03, 2018

While Greece’s exit from almost a decade’s worth of international bailouts has been celebrated by some European policymakers, the IMF has released a report warning Greece that they are not out of the danger zone yet. While the IMF celebrated Greece’s eventual creation of a surplus, the reduction of the size of the public sector, and the curtailing of collective bargaining rights to make wages “more competitive,” creditors are expecting reforms to go further. The issue of debt sustainability tops the creditor’s list, the issues of unemployment, heavy tax burdens, and pensions cuts follow closely behind.

The labour reform drafted by Italy’s Five Star party has been criticized by both business groups and trade unions. The reforms are intended to crack down on short-term contracts and reduce job insecurity. While the business lobby Confidustria felt that these reforms would create more uncertainty, and therefore limit investment and growth, trade unions felt that the reforms did not go far enough to tackle precariousness. The Five Star party is currently a coalition partner with the anti-immigration party the League.

According to independent analysis, the Trump administration’s plans to cut federal taxes on investment income would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest 1%. Analysis conducted earlier this year by the Penn Wharton Budget Model found that the cuts would reduce tax revenue by more than $100 billion over 10 years, and that 63% of that money would flow to the top 0.1% of income earners. In total, 86.1% of the tax cut would be captured by the top 1% of earners, or those with annual gross incomes over $1.48 million.

A new study from the Mercatus Center has found that while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare for All” bill will cost an estimated $32.6 trillion, it will also lower overall health costs and boost wages.  Despite the report coming out of a Koch-brother-funded research center, it finds that the Sanders’s plan would save a total of $2 trillion in overall health care expenditures between 2022 and 2031 when compared to current spending. While the figures in the report have been debated, the conclusions remain that more people would be covered, there would be an increase in the quality of coverage, and less would be spent on health care.

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!