Let them eat cake

Not a whole lot of empathy here (italics added):

The protesters, frustrated about a sharp increase in fuel and gas prices, were led by a hodgepodge of activists that included the largely secular Hirak youth movement, the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, and various nationalist and left-wing groups. Jordan is plagued by poverty, unemployment, and high inflation.

‘‘I already can barely feed my 4 children with my monthly wage of $500, how can I afford this price increase?’’ asked Thaer Mashaqbeh, 47, a civil servant protesting in central Amman, as the crowd chanted: ‘‘The people want to topple the regime,’’ and ‘‘Abdullah, you either reform or you go.’’

The government has defended the price increases, saying they were necessary to reduce a massive budget deficit and foreign debt — part of Jordan’s efforts to secure a badly needed $2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to shore up the kingdom’s shaky finances.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the fuel price hikes are needed to address Jordan’s fiscal woes and the terms of its IMF accord. ‘‘There is always some pain that comes with these things,’’ she told reporters. ‘‘But it’s a necessary pain in this case.’’

It’s also not especially smart. Austerity has been tried in Europe and it doesn’t work because it depresses the economy. Of course the IMF is not known for helping people.

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