Saturday, November 30, 2013

GOP Austerity = 23% Unemployment in Greece! Youth rate even higher!

Austerity Report from Greece
 November 30, 2013

Today I set foot on Greece for the first time. During a tour of the famous Parthenon which sits on an Acropolis overlooking the famous City of Athens, I was reminded that it was from Greece that the world got democracy. Back then it was “direct democracy” meaning that the people voted for or against actions – instead of having a “representative democracy” as we do in the USA where our elected representatives cast the votes for or against.

I asked a local Greek about the Rush Limbaugh radio statement that “Greeks were self-injecting themselves with HIV virus so they could claim benefits.” He said that was the most absurd thing he had ever heard.  Yes, their economy is a mess, but Greeks like living as much as the next person and don’t have to do weird things to get benefits. Chalk up another false story to the masters of deceit on talk radio. What is true is that unemployment here is 27.3%! It's so bad garbage isn't picked up.

I heard a story at the Parthenon that very much applies to the USA today. Apparently the great buildings of Greece had been destroyed, by the Persians I believe. A man named Pericles called upon the people to rebuild, which would be a great expense. He said that doing so would create not only jobs, but high paying jobs. The people heard the arguments for and against and decided to approve Pericles plan. Workmen were paid one drachma a day – enough to buy a sheep or a goat for a day’s pay. Architects were paid two drachmas a day. The result was a huge success.

Today, the United States faces a similar situation. We have tens of thousands of rusting bridges that need repair or replacement. The GOP has been the biggest job killer of modern times, refusing to invest in rebuilding our infrastructure. They have rejected jobs bills and transportation bills that were normally bipartisan in the past and would create high paying jobs. The GOP has been the opposite of Pericles – a do nothing, invest in nothing Congress. They failed to pass a farm bill. Lately they can’t even pass a defense bill. Millions of people are paying the price for this lack of leadership. There are now 73 million jobless young people around the world due to ‘austerity economics.’

I am reminded of the Proverb: “Where There is No Vision, the People Perish.” America is losing its high-tech edge. It is losing its education lead – in fact we trail dozens of nations in science and math. We have GOP leaders in Texas who literally believe that the Earth is only 5,000 years old! Their economic policies are as out of date as their knowledge of science. Texas has done well only because we are blessed with oil and gas. We lead in minimum wage jobs – but our workers lack high tech skills needed for the 21st century. They need training and that means investing in education. Our corporations are getting tax breaks to ship jobs overseas. In Greece, many don’t pay their taxes and having a retirement age of 52 was not realistic.

Europe is in a world of hurt primarily because of its economic policy of austerity – the same policy that the GOP has pushed on America at great cost and pain to the public. A whole generation of young Europeans are facing 40% to 50% unemployment (Spain’s youth unemployment is close to 50%.)  That’s even tougher when gasoline costs $10 a gallon in Europe (as we’ve seen in Italy and Greece).

I wrote an economic plan for prosperity in my book called “Agenda for American Greatness.” It describes how we got into this mess and how we get out of it and back to No. 1 in the world. I have made it FREE for your review at my book website….just click on the “Agenda for USA Greatness” link.

Don’t let Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck fill your head with false facts. The GOP has been consistent in laying waste to our economy since “supply side economics” under Ronald Reagan ballooned deficits. Under Bill Clinton we regained a $300 billion surplus. George W. Bush turned that surplus into a $1.3 Trillion deficit with the unpaid tax cuts that Senator John Cornyn voted for. They then added two unpaid for wars and handed President Obama the worst economy in 70 years.

It’s time to vote for a change – and invest in rebuilding America to create the good jobs needed to rebuild America.  Sign up for updates at I will be posting further blog updates on this “austerity tour” of Europe to show why it is an economic disaster.

We should follow Pericles wise counsel. For the next two days the “austerity tour” will cover condition in Turkey – the county that splits Europe from the Middle East and Asia. It will be my first time there.

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Michael Fjetland

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