It's been a very bad week for the merchants of austerity. In Europe, the just-released statistics on first quarter performance show EU nations sliding deeper into recession. In Spain and Greece, unemployment rates are approaching a staggering 30 percent. In Britain, the Tory government took as good news the fact that the UK managed to eke out 0.3 percent growth. Even Germany, the prime sponsor of these policies, is on the edge of recession. You don't promote growth by slashing demand. Supposedly, fiscal tightening improves business confidence. But if some entrepreneur somewhere decided to break ground for a new factory because the president and Congress at last cut the budget, nobody could find such a person. Even the Washington Post editorial page, which has long been promoting a budget bargain built on more cuts, warned in its lead Sunday editorial, that austerity is pinching too hard -- in Europe, that is. How about at home?
School Closure Personal For The Obamas? The Chicago Sun-Times is out with a list of 193 schools that could potentially be closed under Chicago Public Schools' effort to save money by shuttering "underutilized buildings." Among them is Bouchet Academy -- and as Alexander Russo notes, that's the elementary school Michelle Obama attended. (It was called Bryn Mawr Elementary School when she studied there.)