2016 is the Race Against Austerity.

As Republican lawmakers and presidential hopefuls continue to fantasize about more massive budget cuts, economists are figuring out how much austerity really devastates a nation.

Last month, the German Institute for Macroeconomic Research released their report on the damage that harsh austerity measures have done to the nation of Greece. According to that report, poor people in Greece have lost 86 percent of their income because of austerity, but the wealthiest households in that nation lost less than 20 percent.

To add insult to injury, the richest Greeks only saw their taxes increase about nine percent, but those with the least saw their taxes rise by more than 300 percent. And, according to that report, public employees were hit the hardest by extreme austerity measures, with most losing about a quarter of their income.

These numbers are not just statistics, they are human lives, and they represent everything that could happen in the United States if Republicans have their way.

Harsh austerity measures wreak havoc on an economy, as we've seen in Greece, but these cuts have a far larger human cost. Where ever they are enacted, these cuts have a disproportionate effect on the poor, and they widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

Greece may be the extreme, as the cuts that nation has endured are far larger than the austerity imposed on other nations. However, the end result is – and always will be – the same. You can't cut your way to prosperity, regardless of which nation you happen to call home.

These cuts have destroyed the lives of thousands of Greeks, and austerity will have the same effect here if Republicans get the additional cuts that they desire. And, this is one of the most important reasons that we need to fight in 2016.

The next election could have dire consequences on our economy and our fellow Americans, and it may be our last chance to stop austerity from destroying our nation too.

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