Entries in Budget Cuts (6)


Greece Passes Austerity Measures to Get $170 Billion Bailout

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATHENS, Greece) -- Greek demonstrators ran amuck through Athens on Sunday after Parliament passed unprecedented austerity measures to keep the country's government from default.

By a vote of 199-74, the members voted in favor of the plan that frees up $170 billion in bailout money from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Sunday's vote followed Prime Minister Lucas Papademos exhorting lawmakers to look at both sides of the issue and make the tough decision to avoid bankruptcy, or otherwise send the world economy into another recession since nearly all the money Greece has operated on for decades has came from foreign sources.

With the new austerity, Papademos also acknowledged the pain of the Greek people and the plan that "calls for sacrifices from a broad range of citizens who have already made sacrifices."

As lawmakers made their tough choice, Athens burned with thousands taking to the street to vandalize or loot stores and businesses.  Many feel that life as they have known it will change forever as half the workers are employed by the government, receiving a pension of 95 percent of their salary upon retirement.

The trio of foreign lenders is also making huge sacrifices to keep Greece propped up, writing off 70 percent of what Greece owes European banks in exchange for the government imposing higher taxes and deep cuts in social services.

Among the reductions Greeks can expect is the minimum wage slashed from 750 Euros to 500 Euros a month.  Unemployment, currently at 20 percent, can expect to rise with planned layoffs in the civil servants sector.

If Greece defaults on its debts, which are owned by European banks, it would cause a recession, making it far more difficult to get loans.  It would also limit U.S. exports, which would also affect the American economy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Queen Taking Pay Freeze Amid UK Austerity Measures

John Stillwell - Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- In a sign of dire economic times across the pond, Buckingham Palace is now doing some budget busting, with the queen herself due for a pay freeze and Prince Charles set to foot the bill for some major expenses.

Queen Elizabeth II will see six consecutive years of frozen pay, as new austerity measures in the U.K. have cut funding for the royal household.

Taxpayer funding for royal travel and royal palaces has also been put on the chopping block, so British taxpayers will no longer foot the bill for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s travels and security.  The tab for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s expenses will now be picked up by Prince Charles.  The new measures also will lead to fewer royal parties and events, and no repairs for the royal palaces.

The queen has even approved renting out fancy rooms at St. James’s Palace as party venues during the 2012 London Olympics.  Companies that hold royal warrants -- those that have longstanding ties to the royal family -- will be given the opportunity to rent the spaces.

Under the new agreement, the queen will see 15 percent of the profits every two years from the Crown Estate, whose portfolio includes Regent Street, Windsor Great Park and more than half the country’s shoreline, the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

The move is the latest by Parliament to cut the U.K.’s major deficit problem. The country’s new coalition government, led by conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, introduced a series of major austerity cuts when it took power in 2010, slashing a number of programs.

Parliament does, however, recognize the huge draw that the royal family brings to the country, ushering in $785 million to Great Britain every year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Clashes Erupt in Greece as Workers Begin Two-Day Strike

LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images(ATHENS, Greece) -- Clashes between police and demonstrators erupted in Greece again Wednesday as workers there began a two-day general strike in protest of new austerity measures being proposed by the government.

The BBC reports protesters in Athens have been throwing stones and smoke bombs at authorities, who have been firing back with tear gas.

The protesters, who numbered in the tens of thousands, are angry about a parliamentary vote expected later this week: the Greek government is looking to make more budget cuts in order to receive bailout packages from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, and avoid defaulting on its debt.

As the 48-hour strike kicked off on Wednesday, flights were grounded, public means of transportation were halted, and schools and local businesses were closed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Greek Parliament Approves Austerity Measures

ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images(ATHENS, Greece) -- Amid protests, the Greek Parliament voted Wednesday in favor of budget cuts that will grant the country the bailout loans it needs to help get itself out of massive debt.

The vote -- imposing $40 billion worth of austerity measures, primarily in wage cuts and tax hikes -- passed 155 to 138, paving the way for Europe and the International Monetary Fund to release $17 billion worth of bailout money that Greece needs to avoid defaulting on its debt.

Leading up to the approval, protesters gathered in the streets of Athens, clashing with riot police for hours.  Demonstrators were seen throwing large chunks of marble -- broken off of pavement and stairs -- at police, who fired back with rounds of  tear gas and stun grenades.

A day earlier, workers began a 48-hour general strike opposing the austerity measures.

Lawmakers are scheduled to hold another vote Thursday regarding the implementation of the measures.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Greek Workers Begin 48-Hour Strike as Parliament Vote Looms

ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images(ATHENS, Greece) -- Greece has come to a halt Tuesday as workers across the country take part in a 48-hour general strike, while lawmakers debate on another round of budget cuts to help ease the country's massive debt.

Unions are protesting a vote in Parliament that would impose $40 billion worth of austerity measures, primarily in wage cuts and tax hikes.  If it doesnt pass, Greece won't get $17 billion in bailout money, leading to a default that would have global consequences.

The vote is set to take place on Wednesday, but thousands -- ranging from civil servants to transportation workers -- have already gathered to show their discontent in Syntagma Square, outside of Greece's Parliament.

Protesters are chanting, whistling and carrying flags as they march through Athens.  Some have thrown rocks, prompting authorities to fire back with tear gas.

Riot police are standing by in case of a repeat of violence seen earlier in the month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Clinton Praises Iran Protests, Raises Alarm Over Budget Cuts

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton applauded news from Iran that thousands of protesters demonstrated there Monday, demanding change, and compared the situation to Egypt, where Hosni Mubarak was thrown out of power last week after more than 30 years.

"We support the universal human rights of the Iranian people," Clinton said. "They deserve to have the same rights that they saw being played out in Egypt and that are part of their own birthright, and…we think that there needs to be a commitment to open up the political system in Iran, to hear the voices of the opposition in civil society." Clinton said she wanted to "very clearly and directly support the aspirations of the people who are in the streets." She maintained that the U.S. is against violence and that the demonstrations there are a testament to the courage of the Iranian people and an indictment on the Iranian regime.

As for Egypt itself, where protesters last week forced President Hosni Mubarak out of office, resulting in the military taking control of the country, Clinton said the U.S. will help the military in any way it can.

She said that the steps that the Egyptian military has taken since taking control are "reassuring" and that the U.S. is ready to assist them.

"The ongoing dialogue between our defense and military leadership with theirs has been very fruitful and I expect it to continue," Clinton said.

Clinton spoke with reporters after meeting with House Speaker John Boehner about funding for the State Department. The secretary said she told Boehner about her "deep concerns" over the budget cuts her department will face, in the near-term in the House GOP's proposal to fund the government through September, and it's call for further cuts in the next full fiscal year. She called the scope of the cuts "massive" and "detrimental to America's national security."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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