Austerity Failing in Portugal Just as it Failed in Greece:
“Portugal’s public deficit is expected to reach 6.7 to 7.1 percent of output for the first half of this year, far off the government’s target of 4.5 percent, experts commissioned by parliament said. ‘If this forecast is confirmed, the expected budgetary consolidation measures will not be sufficient to meet the budget deficit target’ of 4.5 percent of GDP for year end, the report sent to Portuguese parliamentarians said.”
And if one suspects that the first half of the year might be balanced out by a better performance in the second half, the same expert unit warned: “o perfil histórico do défice que tradicionalmente sofre um grande agravamento no último trimestre do ano.” Translation: the expert unit warns that “the historic trend of the deficit traditionally suffers a major deterioration in the final three months of the year.”
In Portugal, the cuts to social services, wages, and benefits failed to achieve their objective of balancing the public deficit, just as they failed before in Greece. Even if the measures worked in tackling the deficit, it wouldn’t justify the enormous social cost of unemployment and poverty. It’s time to break with austerity before it breaks us.