If you’re looking for a living, breathing example of the consequences of imposing austerity in the middle of a recession, look no further.
Europe, who for some inexplicable reason embraced the sweaty palm of austerity over the past two years, is currently experiencing the highest level of unemployment in over a decade.
The Eurozone’s unemployment rate has hit 10.7 percent, according to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, as several countries have adopted austerity measures that are choking economic growth. This is the highest level of unemployment since the Euro was adopted in 1999. As Bloomberg News noted yesterday, Greek austerity measures are “driving the economy deeper into a recession,” while economist Kenneth Thomas noted that “the four [European] countries that have had the most severe budget cuts have the highest unemployment rates.”
If the Republicans had their way, this is what we would be experiencing right now. Except America does not have a safety net as robust as Europe does, so for us the consequences would be far, far worse.
Fortunately President Obama has minimized the impact of the Republican’s austerity fetish and has offset and offloaded as much of the burden of their 2010 electoral victory, and American’s 2010 electoral malfeasance, for as long as possible.