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AltAusterity Digest #66 September 20-26 2018

This week in Austerity News:

Sep 28, 2018

Protests were planned in the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires this week, followed the next day by a nationwide 24-hour general strike. The protests come as President Macri announced Monday that Argentina will be receiving the largest bailout in IMF history. In exchange for the $50bn package, it is widely expected that Macri will implement severe austerity measures. The public is already suffering from 34% inflation since last year without any wage increases, and a 30% devaluation of the peso against the dollar. The General Confederation of Labour (CGT), whose membership accounts for almost 20 percent of Argentina's workforce has said that if Marci goes ahead with the expected austerity measures that they will use escalating tactics, including indefinite strikes, to force the government to negotiate with workers.

Italy’s new economy minister, Giovanni Tria, has pledged Wednesday that austerity measures will not be implemented in the first budget. Tria is unaffiliated with either of the governing parties and has insisted that while the budget will follow eurozone guidelines, it will incorporate a mix of taxing and spending to fund campaign promises. The 5-Star Movement campaigned on delivering a basic income for poor Italians, while the League has called for a flat tax to be introduced. Both parties have agreed to staying a VAT tax hike, and instead are looking for new ways to finance their projects including a tax amnesty, a spending review, and changes to tax breaks.

Business lobbyists in Ontario are pushing for the Ford Conservative government to take away sick days, equity protections, and minimum wage hikes that were granted by the previous Liberal government. Both the Retail Council of Canada and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce have been pressuring Labour Minister Laurie Scott to scale back some of the advantages given to workers. Scott said Wednesday that she would be reviewing the changes and expects to make a decision in the fall. She also confirmed that the Ford government will not increase the minimum wage to $15 starting January 1st.

In an article for the New York Times Patrick Kingsley examines how children have been impacted by austerity in Britain. The number of children living in poverty over the past six years has risen sharply, in part impacted by reductions in welfare benefits. The effects of childhood poverty in Britain also have long-term consequences besides health outcomes. British teenagers from lower-income backgrounds are less likely than their non-disadvantaged peers to go to university and those who do make it are less likely to get a better-paid job within six months of graduating. Those who do go to university and make it into high-income professions still earn on average 16% less than their privileged peers. While tangible progress was being made on childhood poverty in the years leading up the financial crisis, since 2012 about 600,000 children have fallen back into “relative poverty.” The Institute for Fiscal Studies has estimated that roughly 35% of all children will be in this category by 2021.

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!