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Great Depression: Volunteers of America soup kitchen (Wikipedia Commons)

A somewhat abridged version of this post first appeared in The Toronto Star here


Governments here and elsewhere are increasingly preoccupied with cutting even as evidence piles up of its harmful consequences on people and the economy. Austerity is not even delivering the balanced budgets its advocates promise. Even the IMF is now preaching balance rather than a single-minded focus on cuts. Yet, austerity’s adherents hold fast, deny the evidence or double down. Why is that?

Of course a few at the top benefit from austerity, at least in the short term, and though few, they exert considerable influence. And some pundits are so invested in this agenda that they would have to swallow themselves to alter course. But the imperviousness to evidence is about more than that.

What makes a theory “scientific” is that it’s falsifiable – if contrary evidence is found, the theory is modified or thrown out. …

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