Behold the Savage Austerity

If you are a journalist or a commentator and you have ever uttered or written the word “austerity,” I hope you spend some time with this chart:

Vero offers some excellent comments here:

These countries still spend more than pre-recession levels

France and the U.K. did not cut spending.

In Greece, and Spain, when spending was actually reduced — between 2009–2011 — the cuts have been relatively small compared to the size of bloated European budgets. Also, meaningful structural reforms were seldom implemented.

As for Italy, the country reduced spending between 2009 and 2010 but the data shows [an] uptick in spending 2011. The increase in spending represents more than the previous reduction.

2 thoughts on “Behold the Savage Austerity

  1. Woj

    Nice graph. I looked up that data earlier today following Russ Roberts’ post on Cafe Hayek and sent it him. I also posted last week on my blog, What is Austerity? (

    I think journalists, commentators and many economists have simply started throwing around the term, without meaning, to describe any government that is not vastly increasing spending, deficits and public employment/benefits. As this graph seemingly shows, to many people austerity is not about a reduction in public spending. Hopefully you’ll continue to press those writers to explain how they define austerity. 

  2. LTC_Ray_burke

    If we keep spending like there is no tomorrow, there won’t BE a tomorrow !!!

Comments are closed.