"The elections in the Netherlands, Greece and France show that Europeans have figured this out from bitter experience, even if their leaders haven’t.

France, Great Britain, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy – practitioners of austerity all -- are either experiencing a second recession, or they are well on their way toward one. As for creating jobs? Fuhgeddaboutit. In Spain, unemployment reached more than 24%; in Portugal and Ireland it stands at 15%; in Italy, it is nearly 10%"
Until the austerity mongers gained control, the private sector had been producing jobs at a pretty good clip – about 4.25 million since the trough of the Bush recession in 2009 – but the public sector has been losing jobs.

Most of that job loss is happening at the state and local level,

>>>> with a disproportionate share of the losses coming from states controlled by the Republican Party. <<<<

Many of the jobs being cut are in critical areas like education and infrastructure investments, both of which are key to future job growth.

And now, as the austerity peddlers’ policies take effect, even the private sector job growth is slowing down."

But the austerity lemmings are intent on causing a much larger march of folly. For the last thirty years, starting with Ronald “government is the problem” Reagan, Republicans have been the arsonists posing as firemen.

The latest rise in oil prices is a case in point.

As Matt Taibbi points out, beginning in 2005, a series of semi-secret exemptions allowed an influx of capital from non-market players like Goldman Sachs into futures trading.

When markets were composed primarily of parties within the field, there was a balance of interests that worked to keep prices relatively stable.

Outside players exert no such balance. In fact, large financial institutions make money on bubbles by going long on the upside, and going short on the downside. As we saw with the housing crisis they can and do take advantage of bubbles, often at the expense of the country in general and the middle class in particular.

So here’s the deal. In 2005, Republicans played arsonist by weakening government controls on futures markets, unleashing a speculative bubble in oil prices that collapsed in Great Recession of 2008. In 2012, when the economy was recovering, a vague threat about the Straits of Hormuz became the pretext for the next inevitable speculative bubble in oil prices and Republicans ditched their matches and gas-soaked rags, donned their fire hats, and blamed Obama, the federal government, and government regulations for the price increases their policies caused.

Talk about audacity. Create the problem by weakening regulations, then use the problem as a justification for further weakening government regulations.
Austerity serves as a pretext for an overall assault on government: Starving the SEC and the CFTC to give their fat cat sponsors free reign; assuring that financial “reform” didn’t really reform by failing to restore Glass-Steagall and leaving too-big-to-fail banks intact… on and on it goes.

The above from Joh Atcheson on commondreams.org