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Dutch Government On Verge of Collapse Over Austerity

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Reported earlier in the Washington Times, that the Dutch Government is on the verge of collapse after disagreeing on austerity measures. The minority government was in discussion but Geert Wilders who is anti-EU was dead set against the cuts. This is a major embarrassment for the Dutch as they pushed for austerity in Greece knowing how harsh it was on the Greek people and knowing how damaging it was to the Greek economy.

 

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The ruling Dutch minority government was on the brink of collapse Saturday after anti-EU lawmaker Geert Wilders torpedoed seven weeks of austerity talks, saying he would not cave in to budget demands from “dictators in Brussels.”

New national elections that will be a referendum on the Netherlands’ relationship with Europe and its ailing single currency are now all-but-certain.

But before Prime Minister can tender his resignation — possibly as early as Monday — he must consult with allies and opposition parties on how to run a caretaker government that will have to make important economic decisions in the coming weeks and months.

“Elections are the logical next step,” Rutte said.

Opposition leader Diederik Sansom of the Labor Party joined others across the political spectrum in calling for new elections as soon as possible.

Austerity talks began in early March after the Dutch economy sank into recession and forecasts showed the 2012 budget deficit will reach 4.6 percent — well above the 3 percent limit mandated by European rules. Dutch politicians have strongly demanded that Greece and other countries meet that target.

Rutte leads the free-market Liberal Party in a minority coalition with the center-right Christian Democrats with outside support from Wilders’ Freedom Party. The outspoken Wilders is widely known for his anti-Islam and anti-EU opinions, including calls for Greece to return to the drachma and the Netherlands to leave the euro.

Rutte said negotiations had been rounded off Friday to deliver a “balanced package” of cuts, but Wilders walked out after discussing the package with his Freedom Party.

Will their credit rating take a hit from this? Already it’s under pressure.

The collapse of talks could endanger the Netherlands’ coveted AAA credit rating and drive up its borrowing costs.

The Netherlands is one of only four nations using the euro that has the top rating, though it already is under review by rating agencies. Central Bank President Klaas Knot said last week borrowing rates would rise by 1 percent if the Netherlands’ ratings are cut.

Once considered one of Europe’s strongest economies, the Netherlands is suffering from high levels of personal debt, mostly mortgage related.

 

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US Corporations Find Source Of Cheap Labour

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At a time when it gets harder to maintain profits as sales dwindle, one way to cut costs is to lower your labour expenditure through firing, wage cuts or hiring in cheap staff. What better way to do this than to use slave labour. More and more US Corporations are turning to the private prison system who have an endless supply of workers that they barely have to pay. The good thing for the corporations is the prisioners have no worker rights and can easily be laid off when required

This is worse than serfdom, and how private prisons are allowed to get away with it is disgraceful. Any corporation found to engage in this practice needs to be boycotted.

Getting Paid 93 Cents a Day in America? Corporations Bring Back the 19th Century

Nearly a million prisoners are working in call centers, working in slaughterhouses, or manufacturing textiles while getting paid somewhere between 93 cents and $4.73.
Sweatshop labor is back with a vengeance. It can be found across broad stretches of the American economy and around the world.  Penitentiaries have become a niche market for such work.  The privatization of prisons in recent years has meant the creation of a small army of workers too coerced and right-less to complain.

Prisoners, whose ranks increasingly consist of those for whom the legitimate economy has found no use, now make up a virtual brigade within the reserve army of the unemployed whose ranks have ballooned along with the U.S. incarceration rate.  The Corrections Corporation of America and G4S (formerly Wackenhut), two prison privatizers, sell inmate labor at subminimum wages to Fortune 500 corporations like Chevron, Bank of America, AT&T, and IBM.

These companies can, in most states, lease factories in prisons or prisoners to work on the outside.  All told, nearly a million prisoners are now making office furniture, working in call centers, fabricating body armor, taking hotel reservations, working in slaughterhouses, or manufacturing textiles, shoes, and clothing, while getting paid somewhere between 93 cents and $4.73 per day.

Rarely can you find workers so pliable, easy to control, stripped of political rights, and subject to martial discipline at the first sign of recalcitrance — unless, that is, you traveled back to the nineteenth century when convict labor was commonplace nationwide.  Indeed, a sentence of “confinement at hard labor” was then the essence of the American penal system.  More than that, it was one vital way the United States became a modern industrial capitalist economy — at a moment, eerily like our own, when the mechanisms of capital accumulation were in crisis.

 

Source: alternet.org

Related: The US Finds Solution to Competiveness

 

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