Brussels: Austerity is for the little people
Exploiting the democratic deficit means turning a rubber stamp into a genuine bludgeon to impoverish society. Nowhere is this more apparent than in that most detached of anti-democratic institutions – the EU – where the political class are locked in a consistently pointless “something must be done” spiral, creating endless edicts, red tape, and spending which almost, but not quite, entirely fails to sustainably help anybody or anything.
When it comes to absurdly mismanaged institutions, the EU is a perfect storm of incompetence colliding with the defiantly ill-conceived zeitgeist of a swaggeringly arrogant caste who believe they can better spend other people’s money than the overtaxed citizens themselves. This train crash of fiscal mismanagement on a broad European canvas has resulted in the EU racking up unpaid bills of 23.4 billion euros ($29 billion). Even as recently as 2010, the EU only owed five billion euros! To be clear, this isn’t borrowing. That is the mega-curse of spendthrift national governments after decades of indulging in unsustainable spending programs. Rather, this is just unpaid bills – you know, for multiple presidents and their motorcades or private jets – not to mention subsidizing nebulous projects across the EU and indeed beyond (half a billion on puppet theaters and agitprop in Ukraine in recent years, for instance).
Oddly enough, the EU’s own auditors remain spectacularly unimpressed by the lack of sound financial controls. They have to date failed to sign off any EU accounts for the past 19 years (out of 19 audits...at least Brussels is somehow consistent). The whole issue underpins not merely the sheer fecklessness of the dysfunctional EU apparatus, but this rampant incompetence clearly sews the seeds for the pompous “union’s” upcoming demise.
After months of wrangling and demands by national government leaders that the EU budget must be clipped to reflect the straitened times, European politicians have just reached an agreement on a new budget for 2015 which neatly demonstrates the remoteness of the Brussels bubble from the reality of life stranded in Europe’s lost decade amongst the continent’s unemployed millions. The blob wins again – and in true EU fashion, the MEPs will rubber stamp the deal next week when the EuroParliament spends another wasteful week in Strasbourg.
National leaders have been played for fools by the EU’s massed kleptocrats, as they willfully divert the hard-earned wages of the few Europeans still actually in work despite the EU’s war on enterprise to complete nebulous social programs and subsidies to maintain low productivity, while decimating enterprise with endless red tape which keeps multinational firms eagerly complicit in the EU’s corporate socialist racket.
The budget numbers make for frankly sickening reading, delivering a rich seam of evidence that big, interventionist government ends up as a sick, incompetent, and apparently downright corrupt undertaking. For those who dispute the idea that the EU is a functional entity, let’s take exhibit A as the euro (still teetering on the brink of oblivion due to crazed political hubris in its flawed construction). Exhibit B is the rank and manifest disaster masquerading as the overall European economy. The youth of the Mediterranean are faring even worse than their elders, with unemployment at outrageous levels, while several countries continue to teeter on the brink of being unable to repay the debt hangover from decades of national spendthrift behavior. This unhappy canvas is played out against a backdrop of the Euroblob being unable to coherently manage its own finances.
Thus we reach the demented impasse where the EU believes it is relevant, useful, and actually worth its budget! In a time when national governments (pretty much all of them bar Estonia) are overwhelmed with massive debt and thus seeking to reduce spending, the EU has just ratcheted up its fetidly incompetent blob of sinecures and subsidies by another five billion. Given that in 2013 the European Court of Auditors suggested that some 90 percent of EU spending was “affected by material error,” it is difficult to swallow the notion that further bloating the Brussels blob can remotely benefit Europeans.
Last week, MEPs were arguing about the inclusion of foie gras on the heavily subsidized Christmas menus in the Brussels Parliament. Of course it was a question of animal welfare which was raised. The EU is so removed from its citizens, that questioning the gravy train in Brussels is viewed with utter incomprehension.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.