Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I realise there are few details in the diary about the austerity measures that spread misery. So here is one example, based on an article in Népszabadság: going after the disabled.

The Orbán government's main method of selling austerity measures is to vilify their victims. In this case, the disablement benefits scheme had to be overhauled because of supposedly rampant cheating by fake disabled people. But the real government intent of cost reductions on the back of the needy was made clear by setting a target for reductions: 190 billion Forints (€620 million) from mid-2011 until the end of this year. However, so far only 17 billion Ft was saved, because most people reviewed kept their benefits, 'only' about one in seventy lost his or her. But many of those aren't fakers, either, but victims of arbitrary new rules. For example, receiving disablement benefit is linked to a certain number of days worked in the five years prior to turning disabled – long-term unemployed or young people who just found a new job are left out in the cold. Now, what is the government's reaction? They are displeased about the failure to achieve the envisioned savings – and now want to turn the screw again.

According neo-liberal conventional wisdom, those receiving disablement benefits, unemployment benefits or pensions are all classes of dependable people whose numbers have to be reduced or else the economy dies due to shrinking workforce. But where are those jobs for people kicked off benefits or not allowed to retire supposed to come from? In Hungary's example, while the Orbán government went after everyone on benefits and continued to implement the previous government's plan to raise retirement ages, even official unemployment is growing. In February, about 20% more people were looking for a job than 12 months earlier.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Mar 22nd, 2013 at 03:57:27 PM EST
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