Leftists claim that austerity and sequestration are to blame for our ongoing economic rut, but that claim ignores that fact that there is no austerity.
Every government, everywhere, is spending more money than it was in 2008. There is no true austerity. Even the attempts to slow the rate of growth have been modest at best.
The official figures show that PIIGS governments embarked on massive spending sprees between 2000 and 2008. During this period, their combined general government expenditures rose from 775 billion Euros to 1.3 trillion - a 75 percent increase. Ireland had the largest percentage increase (130 percent), and Italy the smallest (40 percent). These spending binges gave public sector workers generous salaries and benefits, paid for bridges to nowhere, and financed a gold-plated transfer state. What the state gave has proven hard to take away as the riots in Southern Europe show. ...
Which leads us to the austerity that is supposedly underway in the United States. (Remember that radical sequester that was supposed to ruin the economy?) Our figures tell exactly the same story as the PIIGS - a binge of public spending that has not been reversed. Between 2000 and 2008, both federal and state and local spending increased by almost two thirds. Despite budget cliff hangers, sequestration, and Republican intransience (so claim the Democrats), the federal government today is spending 16 percent more than at the peak of its binge spending in 2008. State and local governments, which cannot borrow as freely as the Feds, are spending a modest 11 percent more.