The path of austerity leads to sickness and death
New research shows government spending cuts have dire health effects. Welcome to malaria outbreaks and a rise in HIV infections.
While some believe that austerity measures will help their government return to health, researchers say the spending cutbacks have a seriously bad effect on people, leading to spikes in sickness and death.
The researchers, Oxford University political economist David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, an assistant professor of medicine and an epidemiologist at Stanford University, put forward their findings in a book called "The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills," which will be published next month.
The pair claim that "many countries have turned their recessions into veritable epidemics, ruining or extinguishing thousands of lives in a misguided attempt to balance budgets and shore up financial markets," according to the book's publisher, Perseus Books' Basic Books.
"Our politicians need to take into account the serious -- and in some cases profound -- health consequences of economic choices," Stuckler said, according to Reuters.
The negative consequences of cutbacks include a jump in Greece's HIV infection, which has more than tripled since 2011 after prevention budgets were cut, according to the U.K.'s Telegraph. And after Athens reduced its budget for mosquito-spraying, the country witnessed its first malaria outbreak in decades.
Meanwhile, more than 10,000 suicides and up to a million cases of depression have been diagnosed since countries imposed austerity measures following the Great Recession, the book says.
The researchers' findings are likely to spur debate about the efficacy of austerity plans, especially as they come after the debunking of an influential academic paper that supported cutbacks.
As I reported earlier this month, a much-cited 2010 study from Harvard professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff was found to have serious problems by economists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, including a spreadsheet flub that mistakenly excluded data from five countries.
While Reinhart and Rogoff asserted that economies shrank in debt-laden countries, the new findings concluded that those countries actually saw growth.
In the U.S., budget-slicing has led to reduced food for seniors. The Meals on Wheels program says cutbacks will mean a loss of 19 million meals for the elderly, according to the Huffington Post. One Virginia official said his office had reduced the number of people receiving daily meals to 600 from 650, leading to a waiting list -- a first for the organization.
"Ultimately what we show is that worsening health is not an inevitable consequence of economic recessions. It's a political choice," co-author Basu said in a statement.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
Staight from the mouth of intelligencia, aka socialists/communists. If politicians weren't so overwhelmingly focused on getting re-elected, they could enact cuts to things like bloated gov't programs that only exist to give someone cushy job. Cut the waste in the travel, entertainment personal staff budgets of elected officials. They could cut the retirement benefit/pensions that were never earned, they were just given to gov't employees, for political support. Should police and firemen retire with benefits, for life, that are calulated by the average of the last three years worked? And by the way, it's commonplace for these public servants to work as much overtime as they can during the last three years before retirement, so their retirement amount is larger. If they retire at 50-55 yrs of age, which is also common, the taxpayer is paying that public "servant" $150,000 -$200,000/year for life, which could be 30 years or more. Oh, and then they have to pay the new employee who replaced the retiree. Gov't employees, teachers and education administrators get the same benefit, without the overtime loophole, thank God.
Austerity doesn't have to lead to any diminished health, politicians design the cuts that way so the public will cry foul. No one will care if Nancy Pelosi has to fly on a commercial carrier instead of a private jet, but she still flies on private jets at taxpayer expense. Michelle didn't need to take all of the trips she has taken in the last 4.5 years, and bring along an extensive personal staff with her. The CBO reported her trip to India cost taxpayers $400,000. No one will care if she doesn't go on these trips, or just leave some of her personal staff at home.
No austerity must cut necessary medical programs first. Makes a lot of sense.
Austerity = Somebody is getting screwed.
This time it is the people's medical care.
Are you for austerity?
That depends on who is getting austered.
If the gov't is austering you, I am OK with that.
I don't care to be austered. No thanks.
No question if you slice toan extent that health care is out of reach of the common man you will see added sickness and deaths.Right now I am spending $20,000.00 a year on COBRA.At least another $20,000.00 on Px,s.You can go so long.
DUNDERIFIC:Too bad you didn`t read the article.Why don`t you go read Obamacare
and stop bothering us.
I love austerity....
I love AusteritEEEE!
FOR YOU, but NOT
The road to perdition is paved with good intentions.
The path to austerity leads to sickness and death.
"Any economy that needs government spending to survive is already festering and it deserves to die."
Well, that need pretty much describes the American economy. But as for your conclusion: You and al-Qaeda can take it with you to the dustbin and breathe deep.
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