Spending Cuts and Trickle Down (On) – DO NOT WORK

Austerity is the wrong medicine for Connecticut

More than nine years after the start of the 2007-09 Great Recession, the U.S. economy is not working for most Americans. The recovery in terms of GDP and job growth has been weak and uneven across the country.

According to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a major reason for the slow recovery is austerity, a series of economic policies that rely primarily on spending cuts and reducing the taxes of wealthy Americans and corporations to reduce deficits.

Connecticut’s political leaders must resist calls for austerity measures to deal with our current revenue crisis. Slashing government spending and tax cuts for those who least need them will not make things better; austerity will only make things worse. What Connecticut needs is a more progressive tax system to solve its revenue crisis.

Here in Connecticut, the recovery from the Great Recession has been anemic. The state is projected to have a more than $5 billion revenue shortfall over the next two years. This year’s legislative session ended without a budget deal because lawmakers could not agree on how to respond to the state’s revenue crisis and where to make major cuts.

There is mounting evidence that austerity does not work. Following the worldwide economic decline during the late 2000s, many European countries implemented austerity measures. For the last seven years, the British people have been living under an austerity-obsessed government. Things have not gotten better: the social safety net is under attack; public and private debt has increased; the unemployment rate is higher; inequality has grown.

Bilal Dabir Sekou is an associate professor of political science at the University of Hartford.

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