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Austerity 

I am writing this from Vienna in mid December. It is a week or so after the student riots in England, brought on by tuition hikes at the Universities. The Greeks are in full civil union strike mode, shutting down most of their country — the union’s reaction to additional budget cuts. A dry comment was, ‘Come to Greece, enjoy European prices and African wages.’ (The Greek economy contracted by 4% in both 2008 and 2009 and is expected to have contracted by 5% in 2010.) Russian police are rounding up thousands of young people who are protesting against Muslims. The President of Kosovo has just been accused of heading a criminal gang that, among other things, sold the organs of Serbian prisoners for cash. The rest of socialistic, mismanaged, debt laden Europe is about to meet in Brussels to see who needs the next bailout — Ireland, Greece, Portugal, and then Spain? The leaders of these mismanaged countries are telling the French and Germans not to be arrogant in setting the terms for their bailouts. As the Brits say – that’s a bit cheeky.

There are a number of groups that are organizing strikes and civil disruptions, unions in the public sector, students, and the elderly. Many of these uprisings have turned violent — the authorities are facing shoving matches and rocks being thrown at them, with the entire scene illuminated by the occasional Molotov cocktail.

Europe and her politicians have bought votes from the public for decades through promises of ever-greater government largess, paid for with debt that would one day have to be repaid. That day is here. The lies of the politicians have been revealed.

The dreams and expectations of the younger middle class have been burst, and they are furious. Stable and safe Europe is going to be anything but that for some time to come. When traveling, beware of countries implementing austerity measures.

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