Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Morning Brief: Election Day in the U.S.; general strike, protests in Greece; industrial output slumps in the U.K.

Today is Election Day in the U.S., the day some people go out to exercise their right to vote, others don't bother, and others work really hard to make sure their fellow citizens are disenfranchised. What a country.

Twitter photo - Anthony Verias @VeriasA
In Greece, meanwhile, huge protests are expected as a 48-hour general strike has been called to protest new proposed austerity measures to be voted on by Parliament. It appears, however, that the demonstrations today will be small as strikers appear more interested in taking the day off than actually protesting.

The Guardian has a live blog running this morning (afternoon in Europe, of course), which is running under its "Eurozone crisis" title.

I suppose it shouldn't necessary to say this after all this time, but if you haven't been paying attention due to the U.S. election, the whole debate in Europe is over austerity in a recession – the idea that weakening economic conditions that nations in the Eurozone should tighten their belts in order to balance their books.

The results have been consistent: austerity is leading to a deepening recession. Today the Office for National Statistics in the U.K. said industrial output declined 1.7 percent in September.

"U.K. factory output barely rose in September and energy production slumped, adding to evidence that the country risks sliding back into another downturn after the temporary growth surge enjoyed in the summer," said Chris Williamson of Markit.

Nonetheless, proponents of austerity continue to move forward, as sure that they are right as they are of the coming apocalypse. It IS s religion, after all.

Did I mention that today was Election Day in the U.S.? Go vote, what are you doing here?