Great Britain

Austerity By the Numbers

We are told that austerity in Europe has failed. The elections in France and Greece, for instance, are supposedly evidence of people’s opposition to severe cuts in spending. However, the growing anti-austerity backlash in Europe ignores one fundamental point: If there is austerity in Europe, in most cases it hasn’t taken the form of massive spending cuts.

There’s Austerity and Then There’s Austerity

Austerity means different things to different people. For some people, austerity means adopting a debt-reduction package made of a mix of spending cuts and tax increases. For others, it means adopting a package made mainly of spending cuts — including reforms of social programs. The lack of a distinction between the two meanings of the word — and hence, the distinction between two different debt-reduction policies — is unfortunate.