The Huffington Post's Mark Gongloff turns conventional wisdom on its head by arguing that the USA is already undergoing austerity:
The consistent fear of all of our recent stupid federal-budget crises has been that the U.S. economy is about to get slapped by a wave of sudden austerity. The little-remembered truth is that austerity is already with us. Has been for years.Really? Wow! Let's look at US government spending as % of GDP from 2000. The raw data looks like this:
Government spending as a percentage of GDP has been shrinking for the past two years at the fastest pace since the government shut down the Vietnam war, Binyamin Appelbaum of the New York Times writes today.
Year / % GDPSo yes, Gongloff and Appelbaum are technically correct. From the peak of 42.8% in 2009 we've dropped to just under 40% in 3 years. But this conveniently omits the equally large rise in 2007 from 35% to 37%, and then a 5.6 percentage points leap to 42.8% in 2008.
So our "austerity" consists of spending 5 more percentage points of GDP than our pre-2008 peak. Oh my goodness. Won't someone please think of the children?
I refuse to believe that Appelbaum or Gongloff are ignorant of the GDP figures from the years before 2009, and so this qualifies them as mendacious gits of the first order.