14 July 2012

A Welcome Definition


I’ve complained a few times that opponents of austerity refuse to define what they’re opposed to.

Naively, I’d assumed that austerity meant that governments were cutting spending. Actually, it turns out governments continue to spend more money during period of austerity and even periods of “crippling austerity.”

I’ve done some investigation and I now believe I can define “austerity.” Here goes:

Austerity is when more than half of a country’s working age population has to . . . wait for it . . . seriously, I hope you’re sitting down for this . . . go to work at an actual job every day.*
One way to tell that Krugman et al are big-government socialist shills is simply by noting that they use the word “austerity” in a rather vague manner to refer to countries that are apparently not Keynesian enough in their approach to dealing with the current economic crisis.  Basically, Krugman’s version of austerity is not spending cuts or tax increases, but rather deficit spending that doesn’t incur a large enough deficit.  I don’t see how this is austerity as much as a milder form of irresponsibility, but then I’ve never won any prizes in economics, let alone one in honor of Alfred Nobel.  So what do I know about austerity?

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