According to hirszerzo.hu (Hungarian news portal) the prime minister (Mr. Viktor Orbán) said that many might wish him to go to hell, then added there would not be any austerity measures. I cannot judge the justness of the first part of his statement but as to his statement regarding austerity measures, he is obviously wrong. It is undue to use future tense: there were and there are austerity measures and certainly we can add there will be austerity measures in the future.
Fiscal austerity in itself is not good or bad politics, it is awkward, difficult and full of conflicts but still it is necessary and unavoidable, hence, from a political point of view, it may even be good. There can be a situation when a government does not have any other choice than to inroduce austerity measures.
Whether austerity measures may or may not be politically supported depends on two things. First, what the reasons for the austerity measures are. For instance there is an economic crisis or there is a natural disaster in the country which ruins it and its budget, then there is no other option then to introduce austerity measures. The situtation in Hungary is totally different now. Today’s fiscal austerity pressure is dominantly due to last year’s wrong decision to reduce taxes by Mr. Orbán. On top of it all, this tax cut benefited the wealthy, and deprived the poor.
On the other hand, one needs to examine the structure of the austerity measures, how it distributes burdens among the various groups of the society. Mr. Orbán’s policy making is contraditory in this case, too. The government’s actions to date only hit those in more difficult position, the ones on lower income, unemployed, unhealthy and the list could go on. This is the issue with Mr. Orbán’s austerity measures.
All in all I do not suggest to go against austerity measures because it would be irresponsible thinking. However, one has the right and must criticize the austerity measures introduced by Mr. Orbán. This is because it is socially unjust, therefore unacceptable, hence one needs to reject them.
Ferenc Gyurcsány, Facebook, May 2. 2011.
Last Updated on Thursday, 12 May 2011 10:46