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March 12, 2013
Who would have predicted that a comedian-turned-political activist, Beppe Grillo, and the anti-austerity Five Star Movement would win the Italian election? What caused this massive rejection of Prime Minister Mario Monti’s austerity policies?
U.S President Obama, German chancellor Merkel, and other European leaders who backed Mario Monti must be puzzling over these questions. The recent Italian elections support a trend I have been describing for several years: a global awakening in consciousness. Voters in Italy resoundingly rejected the two parties that had dominated, both of which advocated austerity and other measures that favor the 1% at the expense of the 99%. The electorate propelled to power the practically unheard of the Five Star Party.
President Obama is well advised to listen carefully to the voices from Italy. Here are just a few of the many interesting anti-austerity ideas recommended by the Five Star Party that we in the US should adopt:
• Legislation to tighten laws against corporate and political corruption
• Laws that outlaw corporate influence in politics
• Rules that end “revolving doors” between business and government
• Incentives and regulations to clean up the environment
• Plans to expand and broaden the internet
• Development of sustainable energy and transportation
• Improvements in roads, bridges, water, sewer, and other infrastructure
• Reforms in banking laws – get private ownership (the Fed) out of the central bank
• Incentives for local businesses
Economic slow-downs require investment, not austerity. Our leaders – whether they are in Italy or the US – must lead us into a new type of economy, one that is based on cleaning up our polluted planet rather than polluting it even more, feeding starving people, and taking care of war victims rather than declaring more wars. There is much to be done and doing it will spur economic growth.
The stock market recently soared to new peaks but it cannot sustain them if the austerity programs remain in effect. In fact, the market will plummet once again. Obeying the howl of the austerity advocates will propel our nation into greater calamity. Democrats and Republicans alike must discard the “economics of austerity” mentality and listen to that old adage that “you’ve got to spend money to make money.” Spend it wisely, yes, and know that right now there is a multitude of wise investments potentials.
The Italians sent a strong message to their leaders. Hopefully, it was a message heard around the world and especially in Washington.
April 8-10, 2013:
LEWIS & CLARK COLLEGE SYMPOSIUM
Counsel Chambers, Templeton Building
0615 SW Palatine Hill Road
Portland, OR 97219
April 20, 2013:
GREEN FESTIVAL, New York City
Javits Convention Center, New York City
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