Austerity measures enacted by the government against the poor at the behest of the banks are another example of how the nation state works as a welfare system for the rich, while regular people endure the ravages of the free market. Writes Robert Reich:
Wall Street and the other biggest global banks, meanwhile, are making
piles of money betting against government debt all over the world.
These were the same banks and financiers, remember, that were bailed out
by government not long ago. But now they're demanding fiscal austerity,
and politicians are once again doing their bidding - cutting deficits
in every rich economy that should now be doing the reverse.
The people who are suffering the most from the failure of public
officials and the greed of large bankers are the least able to endure
it. Unemployment among people with four-year college degrees is barely
over 5 percent; among high-school dropouts it's over 25 percent. Those
who have been jobless the longest or who have left the labor force
altogether are men over fifty who are least likely to get back in.
Families most in need are losing the services - state-supported
Medicaid, child dental care, after-school programs for the kids, public
transit - they most depend on.