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The cost of austerity

by IdiotSavant Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 07:39:29 PM EST

In May last year, Portugal reached a deal for a bailout from the IMF and European Central Bank.  The bailout of course came with conditions: cuts, austerity, and privatisation.  Now the cost of those cuts is becoming apparent: dead people.  

There is a chart on the wall beside a machine that accepts credit cards. It shows the charges for seeing a doctor in one of western Europe's poorest countries, where opposition politicians blame budget cuts for a thousand extra deaths in February, 20% more than usual.

"They hiked the fees in January," said the receptionist, pointing to the new charges for everything from jabs and ear washes to having stitches removed. "Now a visit to the emergency room costs €20 instead of €9. A consultant costs €7.50. People are angry."

The health service is just one victim of sweeping cuts and increased charges for public services across Portugal.

Its a similar story in Greece, where German-imposed austerity has seen a resurgance in HIV and malaria (because needle-exchange programmes and hospitals were cut), and is expected to lead to a significant rise in infant mortality.  Which is what happens when you cut healthcare and price it out of the reach of ordinary people.

It will take years before we have the proper numbers on this from an excess death study.  But there's little doubt that these cuts will lead to tens of thousands of deaths in each country.  And every one of those deaths can be laid at the feet of the foreign bankers demanding their pound of flesh.  What they are doing to Greece and Portugal constitutes mass-murder on a vast scale. And they need to be held to account for it.

In the UK it's being measured in suicides of disabled people

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 10:00:47 PM EST
In Portugal the current option has been voted in by the people, after the troika agreement. Furthermore, current polls still show a right wing majority (though falling like a brick).

I propose that in the Portuguese case (at least) the responsibility falls also on the people. I also add the the current genocidals in power are doing MORE than requested by the troika.

Shock doctrine, double time. But voted in. With legitimacy.

...And I am willing to bet that soon enough the same people will be very willing to back a populist dictator, probably of the hard-right variety.

Note that I am not trying to excuse others of their responsibility on this. But this people is weak...

by cagatacos on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 09:05:43 AM EST
This is a BBC story on a humanitarian mission to one of Athens' poorest neighborhoods

People there apparently do not have the bus ride fare to take their children to the hospital, never mind covering any hospital expenses...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 08:11:12 PM EST

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