France, Greece Reject Austerity In Elections
The biggest slap in the face of the austerity philosophy occured in France, where Socialist candidate Francois Hollande defeated incumbent French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy was the face of the austerity movement in France, working with Germany’s Angela Merkel to push programs favored by many of the big banks that caused the international crisis.
In comments after his victory, Hollande said “Austerity can no longer be inevitable!”
Austerity was also rebuked in Greece where fringe parties on both the left and right made gains against the mainstream left and right parties who had agreed to austerity programs in exchange for a bailout. The anti-austerity vote means trouble for the fragile coalition that has led the country.
Many blame austerity measures for the recent double-dip of the United Kingdom economy, as well as the downgrade of the Spanish economy.
In contrast to Europe, the American stimulus program passed by President Obama and congressional Democrats leaned more towards growth than austerity — resulting in growth in America’s GDP. Many believe austerity measures — cutting government jobs, is slowing down American recovery.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has promoted austerity measures similar to those that have failed to rescue economies in the Euro zone.
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