The New York Times fears that "austerity" has already made its way to America and is "killing" government jobs, even though federal spending continues to increase.
Author Binyamin Appelbaum claims in a February 26 piece that the federal government is "cutting back at a pace exceeded in the last half-century only by the military demobilizations after the Vietnam War and the cold war."
In keeping with his past support for growing government in times of economic downturn, Appelbaum goes on to claim that government spending can "expand the nation’s economy, just as private sector transactions do."
Even as Appelbaum characterizes these policies as "austere," several paragraphs down he does offer a counterpoint to the theme (emphasis added).
"Total government spending continues to increase," he admits, "but those broader figures include benefit programs like Social Security. Government purchases and investments expand the nation’s economy, just as private sector transactions do, while benefit programs move money from one group of people to another without directly expanding economic activity," he writes.
Even with sequestration, federal spending is on track to increase by $5.9 trillion by 2023.
Appelbaum repeatedly uses the word "austerity" to describe the cost-cutting measures being considered—or merely threatened—in Washington. The definition of austerity is "enforced or extreme economy." But proposed cuts to growth in federal spending amounts to as little as 2.3 percent.