Austerity In America: 22 Signs That It Is Already Here And That It Is Going To Be Very Painful
Over the past couple of years, most Americans have shown little concern as austerity measures were imposed on financially troubled nations across Europe. Even as austerity riots erupted in nations such as Greece and Spain, most Americans were still convinced that nothing like that could ever happen here. Well, guess what? Austerity has arrived in America. At this point, it is not a formal, mandated austerity like we have seen in Europe, but the results are just the same. Taxes are going up, services are being slashed dramatically, thousands of state and city employees are being laid off, and politicians seem to be endlessly talking about ways to make even deeper budget cuts. Unfortunately, even with the incredibly severe budget cuts that we have seen already, many state and local governments across the United States are still facing a sea of red ink as far as the eye can see.
Most Americans tend to think of “government debt” as only a problem of the federal government. But that is simply not accurate. The truth is that there are thousands of “government debt problems” from coast to coast. Today, state and local government debt has reached at an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP. It is a crisis of catastrophic proportions that is not going away any time soon.
A recent article in the New York Times did a good job of summarizing the financial pain that many state governments are feeling right now. Unfortunately, as bad as the budget shortfalls are for this year, they are projected to be even worse in 2012….
While state revenues — shrunken as a result of the recession — are finally starting to improve somewhat, federal stimulus money that had propped up state budgets is vanishing and costs are rising, all of which has left state leaders bracing for what is next. For now, states have budget gaps of $26 billion, by some estimates, and foresee shortfalls of at least $82 billion as they look to next year’s budgets.
So what is the solution? Well, for state and local politicians from coast to coast, the answer to these financial problems is to impose austerity measures. Of course they never, ever use the term “austerity measures”, but that is exactly what they are.
The following are 22 signs that austerity has already arrived in America and that it is going to be very, very painful….