This article originally appeared in Portland Occupier. Story and photos by Pete Shaw. The Oregon Business Association (OBA) held its annual Statesman Dinner on October 17 to honor the Statesman of the Year. The event was fraught with anomalies, not least of which was the fact that the award went to Sue Levin, the Executive Director of Stand for Children Oregon. According […]
This article is co-published with Occupy.com. On June 20, Oregon’s Portland City Council unanimously voted to approve a budget that had been one of the most grassroots-contested examples of austerity in recent memory. Weeks earlier, in a vote to approve the framework of this budget on May 29, the City Council’s long-maintained show of consensus […]
With Detroit’s finances looking increasingly dire, the city’s creditors are beginning to face off with one another, each trying to minimize their losses. The city’s pension fund, which supports retired city workers, has found itself in direct conflict with a formidable opponent, the bondholders, individuals and institutions that gave the city money in order to […]
This article is co-published with Occupy.com Between sequestration, with its damaging impact on workers and the entire economy, and the billions of dollars in cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other necessary social programs that President Obama is pushing, it is evident that the economic policies of both major parties are not intended to promote […]
This article is co-published with Occupy.com. On April 11 over 400 people packed the third public Portland Budget Hearing, which was organized by the City of Portland and which left many spilling out beyond the room where the hearing took place. More importantly, for the City Council there was an unexpected critical outpouring from the vast […]
Before Social Security and Medicare existed, the elderly were either completely dependent on their children or were left to beg in the streets. These programs thus remain sacred to the vast majority of Americans. They allow the elderly dignity and independence instead of poverty and insecurity. Attacking these programs has always been political suicide for the […]
This article is co-published with Occupy.com. Fresh from shoving his “Right to Work for Less” legislation down the throats of Michigan’s workers, Governor Rick Snyder has grown bolder in pursuing a corporate agenda. He has now appointed Kevyn Orr of Jones Day law firm to act as an Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) of Detroit. As […]
This article is co-published with Occupy.com. It’s no secret that most cities, counties, states and school districts in the U.S. are facing big deficits. What is less understood is the extent to which austerity cuts have become politicians’ bi-partisan response to the situation. The dramatic measures being implemented in Portland, Oregon are no exception. By “austerity” […]
U.S. politicians have cried wolf over austerity long enough for the public to ignore them. A perfect time, then, for politicians to actually unleash the wolves. Barring an unlikely last minute deal, here’s a short list of some of the massive, national bi-partisan-created austerity cuts, according to the New York Times 600,000 food stamp recipients will be […]
In a political era of corporate dominance it was inevitable that doublespeak would become the official language of Washington, DC. Now “cuts” to social programs are referred to as “savings,” while the destruction of these programs is “reform.” This is the essence of President Obama’s doublespeakish “Race to the Top” public education “reform,” as well as his […]
The Great Recession has quietly devastated public services on a state-by-state basis, with Republican and Democratic governors taking turns leading the charge. Public education has been decimated, as well as health care, welfare, and the wages and benefits of public sector workers. The public sector itself is being smashed. Since the recession began, states have […]
Whether we are left with the Fiscal Cliff or a Grand Bargain, workers in the U.S. face massive cuts to programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment insurance, Food Stamp assistance and other needed social safety nets. This is an example of “austerity” which has largely been pursued in the U.S. until now, on […]
It’s difficult to build a pre-election protest with so many labor and community groups busy campaigning for Democrats. Nevertheless, over 1,000 people marched the streets in Portland, Oregon against austerity cuts to education and other public services and the consequent debt accumulated by students.
On November 3rd Portland community and labor groups will declare “enough is enough” by organizing a first for the U.S. — a large demonstration against government austerity cuts.
The coast is clear, the media tells us; economic disaster has been averted. The Euro Zone is finally stable and the U.S. economy is recovering. Whew!
The options available to states to respond to budget crises are limited since states are not allowed to run deficits; they must solve their budget problems immediately. Nearly every state government is reacting to the crisis in essentially the same way: by cutting essential services and raising “secondary” taxes (alcohol, cigarettes, gas, etc). In reality, after spending their reserve funds, states have only two viable options: cutting spending and raising taxes.