– Italy Is The New Greece, As Strikes Shift From Syntagma Square To Rome (ZeroHedge, Aug 14, 2011):
Remember when on Friday, following the summary of the proposed Italian austerity measures, we said that “within a few weeks we expect the strike (and riot)-cam to be planted firmly in the Piazza Navona and across the streets ot the Trastevere in capturing the latest round of European indignation” and some assumed this was yet more sarcasm? Nope. As the AP reports, “the leader of Italy’s largest union is threatening a general strike against an austerity package that Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s government hastily pushed through to balance the budget by 2013 and avoid financial collapse. The threat came amid mounting criticism Sunday of the euro45.5 billion ($64.8 billion) package passed Friday in response to demands by the European Central Bank.” Incidentally, $64.8 billion in cuts… out of $1.8 trillion in debt….that makes even the farcical $2.1 trillion deficit cut plan passed by the muppets in DC appear gargantuan in context. What happens when S&P tells Italy it has to increase the cuts fivefold to avoid more downgrades? At that point the strikes in Italy will be 24/7/365. And what happens when S&P wakes up and realizes that the same is applicable for France, and that any realistic cuts will force French GDP, which on Friday came at a very disappointing 0.0%, to turn wildly negative, as strikes next shift from Rome to Paris… Just how stable will that vaunted AAA rating of France be at that point? But of course, nobody will have been able to see it coming.
From the AP:
Critics say the package — a mix of spending cuts, job cuts and tax increases, including a “solidarity tax” for high-earners — will strangle Italy’s stagnant economy, which is now expected to grow by only about 1 percent this year.
Other critics, including nine members of Berlusconi’s own coalition, say it unfairly targets the middle class and fails to tackle Italy’s massive tax evasion problem.