The Market Has Spoken: Austerity Is Bad for Business
by Ellen Brown
August 6, 2011
It used to be that when the Fed Chairman spoke, the market listened; but the Chairman has lost his mystique. Now when the market speaks, politicians listen. Hopefully they heard what the market just said: government cutbacks are bad for business. The government needs to spend more, not less. Fortunately, there are viable ways to do this while still balancing the budget.
On Thursday, August 4, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 512 points, the biggest stock market drop since the collapse of September 2008.
Why? Weren’t the markets supposed to rebound after the debt ceiling agreement was reached on Monday, avoiding U.S. default and a downgrade of U.S. debt?
So we were told, but the market apparently understands what politicians don’t: the debt deal is a death deal for the economy.
Reducing government spending by $2.2 trillion over a decade, as Congress just agreed to do, will kill any hopes of economic recovery. We’re looking at a double-dip recession.
The figure is actually more than $2.2 trillion. As Jack Rasmus pointed out on Truthout on August 4th:
Economists estimate the “multiplier” from government spending at about 1.5. That means for every $1 cut in government spending, about $1.5 dollars are taken out of the economy. The first year of cuts are therefore $375 billion to $400 billion in terms of their economic effect. Ironically, that’s about equal to the spending increase from Obama’s 2009 initial stimulus package. In other words, we are about to extract from the economy – now showing multiple signs of weakening badly – the original spending stimulus of 2009!
As others have pointed out, that magnitude of spending contraction will result in 1.5 million to 2 million more jobs lost. That’s also about all the jobs created since the trough of the recession in June 2009. In other words, the job market will be thrown back two years as well.
We’re not moving forward. We’re moving backward. The hand-wringing is all about the “debt crisis,” but the national debt is not what has stalled the economy, and the crisis was not created by Social Security or Medicare, which are being set up to take the fall. It was created by Wall Street, which has squeezed trillions in bailout money from the government and the taxpayers; and by the military, which has squeezed trillions more for an amorphous and unending “War on Terror.” But the hits are slated to fall on the so-called “entitlements” – a social safety net that we the people are actually entitled to, because we paid for them with taxes.
The Problem Is Not Debt But a Shrinking Money Supply