Posts Tagged ‘austerity’

Openly Socialist Hollande And Obama Share SAME Major Policies – So Obama Isn’t A Socialist WHY, Exactly???

May 8, 2012

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” – Karl Marx

I have frequently on this very blog demanded liberals to explain in detail just how exactly Barack Obama isn’t for the same thing (i.e., the major economic element of communism).  But let’s start with the French and get to Obama later.

Planet France is a place where fools have pretty much run things ever since 1789.  Two words that define France today are “socialism” and “surrender.”

Who did Planet France just elect?  And just what is this particular cheese-eating socialist surrender-monkey saying he’s going to do?

Hollande defeats Sarkozy in French presidency vote
Updated 04:05 p.m., Sunday, May 6, 2012

PARIS (AP) — Socialist Francois Hollande defeated conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday to become France’s next president, heralding a change in how Europe tackles its debt crisis and how France flexes its military and diplomatic muscle around the world.

Exuberant, diverse crowds filled the Place de la Bastille, the iconic plaza of the French Revolution, to fete Hollande’s victory, waving French, European and labor union flags and climbing the column that rises at its center. Leftists are overjoyed to have one of their own in power for the first time since Socialist Francois Mitterrand was president from 1981 to 1995.

“Austerity can no longer be inevitable!” Hollande declared in his victory speech Sunday night after a surprising campaign that saw him transform from an unremarkable, mild figure to an increasingly statesmanlike one.

Sarkozy is the latest victim of a wave of voter anger at government spending cuts around Europe that have tossed out governments and leaders over the past couple of years.

In Greece, a parliamentary vote Sunday is seen as critical to the country’s prospects for pulling out of a deep financial crisis felt in world markets. A state election in Germany and local elections in Italy were seen as tests of support for the national government’s policies.

Hollande promised help for France’s downtrodden after years under the Sarkozy, a man many voters saw as too friendly with the rich and blamed for economic troubles.

Hollande said European partners should be relieved and not frightened by his presidency.

“I am proud to have been capable of giving people hope again,” Hollande told huge crowds of supporters in his electoral fiefdom of Tulle in central France. “We will succeed!”

Hollande inherits an economy that’s a driver of the European Union but is deep in debt. He wants more government stimulus, and more government spending in general, despite concerns in the markets that France needs to urgently trim its huge debt.

Sarkozy conceded defeat minutes after the polls closed, saying he had called Hollande to wish him “good luck” as the country’s new leader.

Sarkozy, widely disliked for budget cuts and his handling of the economy during recent crises, said he did his best to win a second term, despite widespread anger at his handling of the economy.

“I bear responsibility … for the defeat,” he said. “I committed myself totally, fully, but I didn’t succeed in convincing a majority of French. … I didn’t succeed in making the values we share win.”

With 75 percent of the vote counted, official results showed Hollande with 51.1 percent of the vote compared with Sarkozy’s 48.9 percent, the Interior Ministry said. The CSA, TNS-Sofres and Ipsos polling agencies all predicted a Hollande win as well.

Hollande has virtually no foreign policy experience but he will face his first tests right after his inauguration, which must happen no later than May 16.

Among his first trips will be to the United States later this month for summits of NATO — where he will announce he is pulling French troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the year — and the Group of Eight leading world economies.

Hollande’s first challenge will be dealing with Germany: He wants to re-negotiate a hard-won European treaty on budget cuts that Germany’s Angela Merkel and Sarkozy had championed. He promises to make his first foreign trip to Berlin to work on a relationship that has been at the heart of Europe’s postwar unity.

Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, congratulated Hollande on Sunday night and said both countries will keep on cooperating closely in driving the European Union’s policies and be “a stabilizing factor and a motor for the European Union.”

At home, Hollande intends to modify one of Sarkozy’s key reforms, over the retirement age, to allow some people to retire at 60 instead of 62. He also plans to increase spending in a range of sectors and wants to ease France off its dependence on nuclear energy. He favors legalizing euthanasia and gay marriage.

Sarkozy supporters call those proposals misguided.

“We’re going to call France the new Greece,” said Laetitia Barone, 19. “Hollande is now very dangerous.”

Sarkozy had said he would quit politics if he lost, but was vague about his plans Sunday night.

“You can count on me to defend these ideas, convictions,” he said, “but my place cannot be the same.”

His political allies turned their attention to parliamentary elections next month.

People of all ages and different ethnicities celebrated Hollande’s victory at the Bastille. Ghylaine Lambrecht, 60, who celebrated the 1981 victory of Mitterrand at the Bastille, was among them.

“I’m so happy. We had to put up with Sarko for 10 years,” she said referring to Sarkozy’s time as interior and finance minister and five years as president. “In the last few years the rich have been getting richer. Now long live France, an open democratic France.”

“It’s magic!” said Violaine Chenais, 19. “I think Francois Hollande is not perfect, but it’s clear France thinks its time to give the left a chance. This means real hope for France. We’re going to celebrate with drink and hopefully some dancing.”

Planet France is a place where liberalism lives forever.  Planet France is a place where foolishness is wisdom, where night is day and where evil is good.

The markets already plunged on the fear that Hollande could win; now he’s won.  And the finance markets aren’t happy with “we will spend other people’s money until there is no more of other people’s money left to spend” policies:

Euro falls to three and a half year low amid market jitters at French and Greek elections
The Euro hit a three and a half year low against the pound as financial markets reacted to the election of Francois Hollande as France’s first Socialist president for 17 years and the new threat to a eurozone break-up posed by the post-election turmoil in Greece.
By Roland Gribben, Henry Samuel and Bruno Waterfield
11:24AM BST 07 May 2012

The Paris stock exchange CAC 40 index dropped 1.52pc in early trading with investors nervous about the growing pressure for a eurozone economic policy switch from austerity to growth, reflected in the French and Greek election results and President Hollande’s priorities.
 
The euro fell heavily across the board on Monday. Traders said the euro’s losses, which saw it hit a three-month low against the dollar, its lowest in 3 and a half years against the British pound and a 2 and half month trough versus the yen, were likely to be extended in coming days.
 
Stocks in Italy fell 2.2pc, the main Madrid index slipped 1.76pc while a 2.02pc drop in the DAX index of leading German shares was blamed on a local election setback for Chancellor Angela Merkel.
 
Political stalemate in Greece after the failure of any party to gain a majority saw shares on the Athens market slump 7.6pc.
 
The strength of the opposition to the Greek bail-out programme has raised fresh questions about continued eurozone membership.

Alexis Tsipras leader of the Syriza party, a coalition of the radical left which emerged as the second biggest after winning 16pc of the Greek vote, immediately drew the battle lines declaring: “The people of Europe can no longer be reconciled with the bailouts of barbarism.”
 
The euro fell its lowest level for almost four months to $1.2954 before showing signs of a rally to $1.301 while the interest rate on France’s benchmark ten year bonds rose.
 
Traders said there was no panic but the rising yield is increasing concerns about a run on French debt and a threat to the French deficit reduction programme. A widening in the spread between French and German bonds was seen as a ‘flight to safety.’
 
Germany’s 10-year yield fell to as low as 1.552pc, the second record in consecutive trading days.
 
Ratings agency Standard and Poor’s said President Hollande’s victory would have no immediate effect on its French rating.
 
The agency infuriated former President Sarkozy when it stripped France of its top triple-A rating in January.
 
A number of analysts felt markets had already taken account of a Hollande victory while others argued that a combination of the French and Greek results would increase pressure on eurozone debt.
 
World stock markets hit as France votes for first Socialist president in 20 years and Greece chooses a parliament with a majority of MPs from anti-bailout parties.

Some say that the market has already taken a Hollande win – i.e. a win for socialism, a win for liberalism, into account.  These are pretty much saying that Hollande will govern far more pragmatically than his liberal rhetoric suggests.  They’re saying that the world financial markets will prevent true socialism from emerging in France, and that Hollande will have to face reality given that he’s simply boxed-in by simple reality.   But even those people are saying, “We are quite pessimistic about the euro area in the short-term. We think that the GDP contraction will amplify in the second quarter. So, things will get worse in the coming weeks.”

I think that’s hogwash.  I think that Hollande will now believe he’s got a mandate to export his brand of socialist-liberal belief in unicorns and fairy dust to Germany and to the world financial markets.  His win was by about the same margin that Obama won by, interestingly, and both Obama and Democrats sure as hell thought THEY had a mandate which they foolishly exploited until the voters gave them a historic ass-kicking in 2010.  I also think that Hollande’s “Our way out of our massive debt is for our government to pretend we’re not in debt and quadruple down on our reckless, insane spending” mantra is the way to ruin.  And that ruin will surely ensue.  And, lastly, I think that the Eurozone’s complete and utter collapse is all but guaranteed now.

I said “quadruple down on our reckless, insane spending” in honor of our own socialist fool: Barack Hussein Obama.  Because Obama has spent FOUR TIMES AS MUCH AS BUSH DID:

“Austerity can no longer be inevitable!”

Our socialist fools in the Democrat Party in America are as determined to ignore reality as the sociliast fools on Planet France.

Compare and contrast openly socialist Hollande’s major policies to Obama’s: both want huge government stimulus programs; both oppose any constraints on government spending; both demand that we tax the rich; and both want a special tax on banks.  That’s because Barack Obama is a damn SOCIALIST!!!

The French election previews the U.S. November election contest between incumbent Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney in the following four ways:

1). Both Obama and Hollande offer almost identical leftist platforms (details on this below).

2) The bland challengers (Hollande and Romney) ignite electoral passions less than their more colorful opponents (playboy Sarkozy with his celebrity wife and Obama, the first black president).

3) The sorry state of the economy gives both challengers a hefty leg-up.

4) The French and American elections are foreshadowed by electoral disasters for the incumbent party in off-year races in 2010 and 2011. In both, the incumbent party lost long-held majorities in one house of Congress or parliament.

Read more…

And it’s no surprise that America under Obama is looking more and more like Europe and having the same long-term problems that Europe has had:

EDITORIAL: Obama’s euro-style unemployment
Welfare-state mentality fosters permanent joblessness
By THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It’s no secret that President Obama wants America to look more like Europe. He desires expanded powers for labor unions, higher gas prices for commuters and a diminished role on the world stage. So far, he’s been effective in fostering the conditions for European-style unemployment on these shores. […]

As we speak the unemployment rate just went down.  Why?  Because 115,000 jobs were created – nowhere near enough to even keep pace with population growth, mind you – and 342,000 gave up trying to find a job in complete despair.  We live in our own version of planet France when nobody could have a job and our president could boast of a 0% unemployment rate.

George Will pointed out a couple of facts as to just how terrible Obama is managing our economy this week on ABC’s “This Week”:

JAKE TAPPER: George, the president kicked off his campaign yesterday. Thoughts?

WILL: He kicked it off a day after we saw the emblematic achievement of the Obama administration, which is to make a decline in the unemployment rate bad news. It ticked down from 8.2 percent to 8.1 percent because 342,000 of Americans succumbed to discouragement with the Obama economy and left the economy.
 
Male participation rate in the economy today is lower than it has been at any time since we began keeping this statistic in 1948. Indeed, if the workforce participation rate were the same today as it was when Mr. Obama was inaugurated, the real unemployment rate would be measured at about 11 percent. That’s no record to run on.

Barry Hussein has been a jobs holocaust.

Bay Buchannon later made a statement about the planet France-like FOOLS who were instrumental to Obama’s 2008 victory: college students.

People who are graduating from college, 53 percent, do not get jobs when they graduate. We are going to lose that whole generation because, you know, when the jobs do come back, they’re going to hire college graduates just coming out.

Those idiot socialist fools deserve to suffer; it’s too dang bad the rest of the nation has to suffer along with them because of their vote for Obama four years ago.

I point out how simply godawful Obama has been for America.  Two years ago, due to Obama’s wildly failed policies, the labor participation rate measuring how many working-age Americans are actually WORKING was at a 25-year low.  Last year that participation rate had decreased to a 27-year low.  This year it decreased to a 31-year low.  Millions and millions of jobs have simply been vaporized under Obama and there is no sign that they will be coming back.

If you vote for Obama’s version of planet France, I can guarantee you that that rate measuring how many working-age Americans have any chance whatsoever of getting a job will continue to plunge.

P.S. The funniest damn thing of all is what I read after I got through writing this article but before I published it: that Obama is advising Hollande NOT to raise taxes and increase spending for the sake of the European economyWHILE OBAMA HIMSELF IS CAMPAIGNING ON DOING THE VERY THINGS HE’S TELLING HIS FELLOW SOCIALIST NOT TO DO.

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What Leftists Are Best At: Socialist Obama Blames Bush For All His Problems; Socialist Greece Blames Germany For All Its Problems

February 16, 2012

Barack Obama is entering the fourth year of his presidency blaming George Bush.  Think about that; the man has never once during his entire presidency taken personal responsibility.  Not ONCE.

But that’s really par for this golf course; it’s just what socialists do.

Greece thinks all of its insane spending and refusal to see the cliff rushing up on them while they stupidly continued acting like Democrats in America is all Germany’s fault.  Because, you see, Germany won’t give them more stupid money so they can keep being stupid.  The Germans have money; and of course you know the script: the rich are ALWAYS to blame.  Even if they’re in a whole other country:

Greece and Germany’s he said/she said over debt crisis
Berlin sees Athens as not living up to its end of the bailout bargain; Greece perceives a campaign of punishment by the Germans on its already-reeling economy.
By Henry Chu and Anthee Carassava, Los Angeles Times
February 14, 2012, 7:47 p.m.

Reporting from Berlin and Athens— To hear many Germans tell it, Greece is a land blessed with sunshine but cursed with a lying, cheating government that routinely breaks its promises and expects others to pick up the pieces.

The rest of Europe has doled out billions of dollars in emergency loans to keep Greece afloat, but Athens, the Germans say, has consistently failed to deliver on pledges to slash its bloated bureaucracy, sell off state enterprises, go after tax evaders and overhaul its uncompetitive economy.

Yet ask Greeks what’s happening to their country, and many respond with yowls of pain and anger — directed in large part toward Germany. Berlin, they fume, is a tyrannical taskmaster whose only motivation now seems to be to inflict as much punishment as possible on a country whose economy has already been pushed into free fall.

“What more do they want from us?” said Sophia Sigri, a 70-year-old pensioner in Athens. “This crisis has gone way beyond numbers, fiscal policies and austerity measures. Our national dignity now is at stake. Do they want to rob us of that, too?”

The divergent views have become the backdrop against which Europe’s long-running debt crisis, now in its third year, is playing out. And the fact that such attitudes appear to be hardening in Berlin and Athens, with animosity and distrust deepening on both sides, is complicating the search for a solution.

Finance ministers of the 17 Eurozone nations are scheduled to consult Wednesday in a conference call that investors hope will result in the provisional approval of a second bailout for Greece, worth about $170 billion. Without the rescue package, the country could slide into default by mid-March, with potentially disastrous consequences for the global economy.

But many in Athens believe that present conditions aren’t much better.

Though acknowledging that their government has missed some of the tough financial targets set by international lenders, they say the repeated rounds of stiff austerity cuts have resulted in a spiraling recession during which homelessness, hunger and suicide rates have all gone up.

Public outrage boiled over this week into some of Athens’ worst rioting since the start of the crisis in 2009, with dozens of buildings set afire and trashed by rock-throwing youths alongside a peaceful demonstration by thousands. Greek lawmakers swallowed hard and bowed anyway to the demands of their European partners, approving drastic cuts in wages and pensions and the elimination of 15,000 public-sector jobs this year alone, at a time when the unemployment rate already tops 20%.

German and other European officials welcomed the measures. But they warned that they are not enough for them to approve a second bailout Wednesday, insisting that Greece identify $430 million more in spending cuts and seal a deal with private investors on taking a loss on their holdings of Greek debt.

To those Germans who regard Greeks as mendacious, cavalier shirkers of duty, critics point to figures like those released Tuesday showing that, in the last quarter of 2011, Greece’s economy contracted by a whopping 7% compared with the same period a year earlier.

Many Greeks have already made heavy sacrifices as the result of one governmental austerity measure after another. The citizens of any other developed country, they say, would surely erupt in anger as well if confronted with the same calamitous drop in their standard of living.

Anti-German rhetoric and images are now a staple in Greece, where politicians mutter darkly of German jackboots and protesters call Chancellor Angela Merkel a Nazi.

“You’d think they would show some compassion for the fact that we went gentle on them after World War II. But no, they want to punish us now,” declared Fotis Stathatos, 56, an unemployed construction worker.

Germans bristle at such statements, even as they speak of the need to get even tougher on Greece. Athens is no longer a trustworthy partner but rather a huge sinkhole, many Germans say. They complain that Greek officials have happily accepted outside help while shrugging off solemn promises to lay off thousands of civil servants, privatize state assets and strengthen tax collection.

The lack of follow-through has prompted suggestions from Germany — unwelcome in Greece — that a European Union commissioner be given power over Athens’ budget and that a separate escrow account be set up to earmark government funds for repaying debt and not for frivolous spending elsewhere.

“The only thing we require is that Greece stick to its commitments,” Michael Georg Link, Germany’s deputy foreign minister, said in an interview in his Berlin office. “Nobody was forced into the European Union, and we will force nobody out of the European Union or the Eurozone. But once you’re in, you have to stick to the rules.”

Link said that Italy, Spain and Portugal have also made commitments to difficult reforms.

[…]

In Athens, residents stretched to the breaking point have grown tired of being repeatedly told to do more to atone for their financial sins. Further rage of the kind that broke out this week could await a country already teetering on the brink of economic ruin, some analysts warn.

“Greeks feel like they are being spanked for behaving badly. They’re still feeling the pain of that,” said Dimitris Mavros of the MRB polling company. “But once that beating stops or subsides … then they may strike back.”

Damn rich Germans who won’t keep pouring their hard-earned money down a sink-hole to fund liberals in their moral and mental insanity.

Of course, liberals call Republicans horrible stuff too, like “terrorists” and “demons.”  Because if you try to stop a Democrat from spending other peoples’ money, they get real nasty the way crack addicts get nasty when somebody is standing in the way of their crack.

But of course it’s even easier for Greeks to call Germans who won’t give Greece more of Germany’s money “Nazis.”

When you see all the rioting and burning and violence, you know that it’s just around the corner here as “Occupy” fascists plot the same kind of crap the Greek fascists are plotting now.

For the left, violence has ALWAYS followed the demonizing.

Let me tell you something: Greece didn’t have to come to this.  The problem was they kept seeing warning signs and kept on ignoring them.  Just as the Democrat Party and Barack Obama are doing right now in America.

If Greece had taken responsibility a few years ago and made relatively small and simple changes, they could have averted all of this terrible pain now.  But liberals in Greece demonized such modest reforms, just as liberals in America have been doing.  And as a result nothing got changed and then all of a sudden it was too late.  The same way that one day real soon it’s going to be too late here in America.

We either get these liberal vermin out of office, or we’ll be in the sad way that Greece is because IT didn’t bother to get rid of its liberals until it was way, WAAAAAAY to late.

Consider Social Security and Medicare: America’s actual debt is over $211 TRILLION.  There is no way in a thousand hells we can possibly ever pay that back.  Democrats cursed us with this mess; conservatives tried to warn them.  If you go back to the 1930s when FDR was ramming his political boondoggle ponzi scheme through Congress, you’ll discover that even DEMOCRATS warned it would ultimately be a disaster. Meanwhile, Medicare – the socialist takeover of health care began in the 1960s that Obama wants to now replace with his even BIGGER socialist takeover of health care – WILL go bankrupt no later than 2017 and cause catastrophic death in the population of seniors who depend on it.

Republicans have tried to propose fixes that would save both programs, but this is the thanks they get:

Democrats demonize Republicans – I mean LITERALLY demonize, given the whole “demons” thing – whenever we try to do the right thing.  They call us “terrorists” for trying to slow down the insane rush to spending.  I mean, how DARE we block the “progress” they’re trying to make.

They count on the American people with pathetically stupid brain-dead zombies with no intelligence and no memories so we won’t remember what Democrats were like when Bush was in power and he was trying to push through much-needed reforms:

The Left now acts as if this never happened. For instance, in a recent television appearance, liberal commentator Bill Press argued that–rather than noisy disagreement–”Americans want discussion” on health-care reform. Who could disagree with that sentiment–except, perhaps, the Obama administration, which pushed Congress to rush through legislation by early August? This timeline was clearly aimed at preempting discussion and presenting the public with a “done deal” on health reform. As one protester put it, the president spent more time choosing a dog than he did discussing health-care reform.

Likewise, Mr. Press complained that opponents hadn’t put their own reform plans on the table. “The people who are there to protest–what are they for? Are they for the status quo? The Republicans haven’t put any other plan on the table.” But did congressional Democrats offer their own alternative to President Bush’s 2005 Social Security plan? When a fellow Democrat asked Rep. Nancy Pelosi when their party would offer its own Social Security plan, her answer was “Never. Is that soon enough for you?” Democrats would not even negotiate until personal retirement accounts were taken off the table. Why should Republicans act differently today, regarding the “public option”?

Did you know that George Bush tried SEVENTEEN TIMES in one year to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?  You know, when reforms and regulations of the out-of-control GSEs would have actually prevented the implosion we had in 2008 that Republicans and conservatives had repeatedly warned us about???

We’re going to be Greece soon for the same reason that Greece is Greece now.  Because we’re just too damn stupid and depraved to get rid of our liberals.

When America Goes To Hell, Rest Assured It Will Be Leftists Resorting To Violence, Too

May 7, 2010

Let’s see.  Union workers, students, anarchists.  Liberals, liberals, liberals.  Check, check, check.

You should seriously pay attention to what’s happening in Greece, because it’s coming here next.  And the same leftists that are rioting there will be rioting here.  Because that’s just the kind of vermin that leftists are, quite frankly.

The only difference is that there will be no EU to bail us out.  When Obama’s massive debts implode us, there will be no one to save us.

MAY 5, 2010
Europe Crisis Deepens as Chaos Grips Greece
By SEBASTIAN MOFFETT And ALKMAN GRANITSAS

Demonstrators smashed shop windows, overturned garbage bins and set fire to at least two businesses.

ATHENS—Greece’s fiscal crisis took a new turn to violence Wednesday when three people died in a firebomb attack amid a paralyzing national strike, while governments from Spain to the U.S. took steps to prevent the widening financial damage from hitting their own economies.

U.S. Treasury officials have been quietly urging their European and International Monetary Fund counterparts to put together a Greek rescue plan more quickly to contain the damage, it emerged Wednesday, as U.S. policy makers worry the continent’s problems could undermine a U.S. recovery much as U.S. housing woes hammered Europe in 2008.

In Spain, rival political leaders came together Wednesday with an agreement that aims to shore up shaky savings banks by the end of next month. Banks in France and Germany, which are among Greece’s top creditors, pledged to support a Greek bailout by continuing to lend to the country. Investors, meanwhile, are pouring money into bonds of countries seen as less exposed to the crisis, from Russia to Egypt.

Anxiety over the euro-zone economies sent the euro down to about 1.29 to the dollar, its lowest level in more than a year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell for the second straight day, losing 58.65 points, or 0.54%, to close at 10868.12.

Greece’s 24-hour nationwide general strike brought much of the country to a standstill, closing government offices and halting flights, trains and ferries.

At the same time, tens of thousands of protesters marched through Athens in the largest and most violent protests since the country’s budget crisis began last fall. Angry youths rampaged through the center of Athens, torching several businesses and vehicles and smashing shop windows. Protesters and police clashed in front of parliament and fought running street battles around the city.

Witnesses said hooded protesters smashed the front window of Marfin Bank in central Athens and hurled a Molotov cocktail inside. The three victims died from asphyxiation from smoke inhalation, the Athens coroner’s office said. Four others were seriously injured there, fire department officials said.
Europe’s Debt Crisis

A police spokesman said eight fires in Athens office buildings and bank buildings had been brought under control.

Later Wednesday, black smoke billowed from fires on one of Athens’s main shopping streets. Glass shards and smoldering garbage littered the sidewalks.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou condemned the violence. “Everyone has the right to protest,” he said in a statement to parliament. “But no one has the right to violence and especially violence that leads to the death of our compatriots.”

Wednesday’s protests were sparked by Greece’s weekend agreement to adopt austerity measures in exchange for a €110 billion ($143 billion) bailout loan from the European Union and the IMF. Unions challenged Greece’s parliament, which could consider the measures as soon as Thursday, to vote them down.

The general strike marks the broadest challenge to date to the government of Mr. Papandreou, which is pressed to pass the austerity legislation to unlock bailout funds to meet a debt payment later this month that it otherwise couldn’t meet.

The protests also brought out many Greeks who were resigned to belt-tightening. Their unhappiness at the cuts was matched with rancor toward a generation of politicians who they say spurred the crisis with decades of corruption, kickbacks and accounting legerdemain aimed at obscuring to the EU the true level of Greece’s annual deficits.

“For 30 years the Greek people have been held hostage,” said Periandros Athanassakis, 48, a garbage collector in Piraeus, the port near Athens. “Those who stole the money should pay.”

Some officials saw in Wednesday’s protests the seeds of broader discontent. “We may have an uprising in the making,” one senior Greek official said.

Greeks generally don’t blame Mr. Papandreou for the country’s problems, however, saying he inherited them from predecessors. It was his administration, elected in October, that announced the government’s budget deficit for 2009 would be equivalent around 13% of gross domestic product, compared with the 6% claimed by the previous administration.

Mr. Papandreou’s approval ratings are higher than those of the leader of the main opposition party.

Analysts also said the shock of Wednesday’s deaths could nudge Greece’s fractious political parties toward closer cooperation in dealing with the crisis and making it easier to pass reforms.

“This changes the political scene,” said George Sefertzis, an independent political commentator with the Athens consultancy Evresis. “There is no doubt that the deaths ease some of the political pressure.”

Under terms of the bailout deal, Greece’s government has announced a €30 billion package that will slash public-sector wages, cut pensions, freeze public- and private-sector pay, liberalize Greece’s labor laws and raise some taxes.

In Berlin on Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel called on parliament to approve Germany’s contribution of €22.4 billion in loans to Greece. German public opinion opposes a Greek bailout but Ms. Merkel said it was essential. “Europe stands at a crossroad,” she said. “With us, with Germany, there can and will be a decision which lives up to the political, historical situation.”

In Greece’s northern city of Thessaloniki, there were reports of violence as police clashed with demonstrators who were attacking shop fronts amid a rally that drew at least 20,000 protesters to the streets.

Police officials estimated there were 20,000 protesters in Athens. Union officials said union-affiliated protesters alone totaled more than 60,000. Others put the number higher still. “This rally was double the size of the largest rally that has ever been held in Greece,” said Spyros Papaspyros, president of Adedy, a civil-service umbrella union. “If the government doesn’t listen, there will be more strike action next week.”

The day’s general strike, the year’s third, shut ministries and public offices. State hospitals and public utilities operated with skeleton staff. Shopkeepers joined the strike at midday, while journalists, bank workers, teachers, court workers, lawyers and doctors also walked off the job.

Many Greeks taking part in the demonstration saw little alternative than to accept the government measures and brace for a long, deep recession.

“I don’t expect the measures to be withdrawn,” said Pericles Papapetrou, 61, an architect and engineer who used to be mayor of the town of Elefsina. But, he said, the measures “could lead to extreme situations, such as an increase in crime, and also to an explosion of young people with no future.”

Artemis Batzak Panayou, a cleaning lady working for a local government, saw her €1,200 monthly salary, on which she supports three children, cut by €250 at the beginning of the year. She believes it will fall further. “There is no way to survive on the daily wages in the public sector,” she said, adding: “Greece won’t be fixed until all the crooks are removed from government.”
—Costas Paris and Nick Skrekas contributed to this article.

Right now, as we speak, we’ve got union firefighters are quite likely burning down a rash of buildings to “protest” that they aren’t getting more benefits than the outrageous benefits they’re already getting.

We’ve certainly already seen outright violence erupting at anti-Arizona law protest events.  And the Arizona law isn’t even in effect yet.

You watch.  The actual violence has nearly always come from the left in this country.  And it will surely be the case again.

The other thing that was interesting today is that the primary reason for our massive stock slide (and the double-digit slide on six of the last seven trading days) is Greece.  And Greece is crashing because it is a liberal socialist economy that imploded due to the same policies Obama is trying to bring to our shores now.

Which is to say that what will happen soon in America is that America will fail due to liberalism, and then liberals will violently riot in the streets.