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AltAusterity Digest #59 August 2-8, 2018

This week in Austerity News:

Aug 10, 2018

On July 20, an international solidarity summit was held by The Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) in the UK to protest the Tory track record on disability policy, and to protest attacks on disabled peoples around the world. In 2016, the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) found that the Theresa May government was guilty of violating international agreements into which it had entered. Most notable among these violations was the Work Capacity Assessment, which has been used to deny benefits to disabled people living in poverty. The summit was attended by activists from Bolivia, Greece, Malaysia, Uganda, and the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP).

Portugal’s prime minister António Costa has told teachers’ unions that “we don’t have the money,” to pay for salary increases after nine years of frozen pay. While Costa has gained popularity by mitigating and reversing some of the harshest austerity measures, critics are saying the path will be difficult to maintain. While Portugal is benefitting from export and tourism booms, signs of slowing growth may put increased stress on the government. Furthermore, given the Costa government’s commitment to “disciplined” fiscal policy, a fall in revenues may indeed result in the rollback of some anti-austerity policies.

In an interview for The Guardian, author Naomi Klein discusses her latest book The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on Disaster Capitalism. Klein discusses the “structural adjustment programs” and the imposition of austerity following economic crises or natural disasters. With more than 5000 now dead in Puerto Rico, it has been found that the major cause of death was not the initial impact of the storm, but rather the collapse of infrastructure for electricity, water sanitation, food security and flood relief. The total disregard for Puerto Ricans, Klein argues is a pattern in American politics where austerity, race, and disaster capitalism all intersect.

According to a recent paper by economists at the IMF, last years U.S. corporate tax cuts are likely to have a ripple effect on other country’s tax revenues. According to estimates, the revenues collected from multinational corporations in countries outside the U.S. will decline from by an average of 1.6% to 13.5%. With the U.S. lowering its corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, other countries will have to make similar, if less drastic, concessions to multinational corporations to hold on to businesses and investment. According to the analysis, countries that have close economic ties to the U.S. will be the biggest losers, with Mexico, Japan and the U.K. topping the list.

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