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AltAusterity Digest #75 November 22-28, 2018

This week in Austerity News:

Nov 30, 2018

After weeks of pressure from the European Union, Italian officials may be willing to revise their 2019 target budget deficit downwards in order to bring it closer in line with EU rules. For EU officials, any deficit target over 2% was considered too high, as an Italian target deficit of 2.4% was initially rejected.  The Italian coalition government is still maintaining its commitment to increase benefit spending, cut taxes and a lower retirement age.

In a piece for The Intercept, Naomi Klein discusses the recent history of U.S. climate change policy and the pathway that has led to recent calls for a Green New Deal. The plan advanced by Democratic Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is now backed by more than 14 representatives. Modeled after the most famous economic stimulus in U.S. history, the Green New Deal proposal aims to have a “detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan” for January 2020 dealing with the policy areas of energy, transportation, housing and construction, healthcare and a jobs guarantee, among others.

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced in his fall economic update that the Liberals will be rolling out $16 billion in tax breaks for business. The U.S. corporate tax cuts have resulted in pressures on Ottawa to follow suit. Instead of direct tax cuts, the Trudeau Liberals have opted to allow for new tax writeoffs expected to total about $14 billion over the next five years. The Liberals have also planned to spend approximately $1.1 billion in efforts to open new markets for Canadian exporters, as well as an $800 investment in improving transportation infrastructure. The Federal government is planning fiscal deficits in the medium term until 2023-2024, but is confident that increased spending will help the economy to grow enough to lower the debt-to-GDP ratio.

Jacobin discusses the strategy of Podemos with its co-founder Íñigo Errejón. Podemos helped to remove the conservative government in June, and with the center-left Socialist (PSOE) party formed a minority government. A new progressive budget that included a 23% minimum wage hike, rent controls, and a 3% tax on large tech companies was in the works before the deal lost its majority when the Catalan nationalist withdrew support following the jailing of their leaders last year. In the interview Íñigo Errejón discusses the need for a new “national-popular” strategy, working with a center-left party and its limits, the progressive and reactionary potentials of populism, and operating outside of an established party.

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!