Constantly, and often horribly.
That’s an inconvenient truth that congressional Republicans refuse to recognize. Led by House Speaker Paul Ryan (in his current role and in previous legislative incarnations), they have promoted the worst sort of austerity economics (tax breaks for billionaires in combination with proposals to undermine Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and unemployment benefits) and the worst sort of austerity thinking (the cruel fantasy that says redistributing wealth upward will somehow help those at the bottom).
Yet the folly of austerity is confirmed each day—in states governed by Republican governors who seek to balance budgets by assaulting public employees, public education, and public services, and in countries around the world where delusional politicians have tried to cut their way to prosperity.
Crowds are in the streets, marching in the United States and abroad, against austerity policies and in favor of a pivot toward strategies that revive economies by investing in job creation, community development, and sustainable approaches to growth.
They are marching for “$15 and a Union” in Peoria, and for labor rights in Paris.
And they are marching in San Juan for survival.
While Washington fiddles, Puerto Rico’s economy is crashing and burning. A debt crisis—with roots in a severe economic downturn—has, in the words of Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, “already harmed the health, safety and welfare of the 3.5 million Americans living in Puerto Rico.” Yet, instead of responding with an eye toward renewing and strengthening the economy of the commonwealth, Ryan and congressional Republicans keep coming up with convoluted schemes to punish Puerto Ricans.