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May 04

Billings Gazette features fake photos of Greek “austerity”

The Billings Gazette delivers a steady stream of pro-government content.

Today, May 4, 2017, the Gazette featured a typical smattering of pro-government news commentary, local business stories and feature stories.

But at the bottom of the Gazette’s webpage there appeared a photo feature entitled: “Here’s what seven years of Greek austerity looks like.” See here.

“Austerity” means cuts in government spending and benefits. The Gazette’s photo feature showed scenes of homeless people sleeping on sidewalks, soup lines, and Greek families struggling in poverty.

While the pictures may show real homelessness and poverty in Greece, they do not depict, realistically, the effects of “austerity.” There hasn’t been any to speak of.

The Greek government spent much of the past few generations doing precisely what the editors and reporters of the Billings Gazette promote: growing government, creating new government agencies, and establishing government welfare and entitlement programs. When Greek officials became unable to pay the government’s debts, they turned to begging, complaining and protesting against more solvent creditor nations.

The Wikipedia page “Greek government-debt crisis countermeasures” provides details of the actual reforms made by Greek governors in recent years: such things as selling government-owned companies, limiting the growth of government salaries, raising VAT (value added taxes) from 5% to 5.5%, from 10% to 11% and from 21% to 23%, mild cuts to public employee benefits, and tax increases.

Although the word “austerity” appears frequently as a curse word among government trusters, it exists almost nowhere in the western world–no matter how badly it is needed.
–Roger Roots