Austerity is really about cutting social programs.
In fairness to Britain’s conservatives, they aren’t quite as crude as their American counterparts. They don’t rail against the evils of deficits in one breath, then demand huge tax cuts for the wealthy in the next...And, in general, they seem less determined than America’s right to aid the rich and punish the poor. Still, the direction of policy is the same -- and so is the fundamental insincerity of the calls for austerity.
The big question here is whether the evident failure of austerity to produce an economic recovery will lead to a 'Plan B.' Maybe. But my guess is that even if such a plan is announced, it won’t amount to much. For economic recovery was never the point; the drive for austerity was about using the crisis, not solving it. And it still is.
Finally, Paul Krugman says what we've all been thinking. Or at least...what I've been thinking...?