To the Editor:
The word austerity seems to have saturated world and national news of late, sometimes used in a positive vein but often displaying a strong negative quality. One fellow in Greece insisted recently that austerity (as employed by his government) is a “crime.” I think most of us would agree that to be austere is simply to be moderate in ones financial dealings, more temperate perhaps, self-restraining, or even self-denying.
When I was unceremoniously nudged into retirement by my employer a few years ago (at the same time our economy tanked) my wife and I quickly realized we had to seriously curb our spending to coincide with our severely reduced income. People have to do this, countries have to do this. So I will gladly argue the point with the gentleman from Greece, that to limit spending isn’t a crime; arguably it’s a crime not to when times get tough.
The United States (like much of Europe) is between a rock and a hard place and neither of the two major parties seem to act in a manner which will resolve the problem, or even show a willingness to work together in seeking possible solutions. Yes, I know, this is an election year and Washington critters are solely intent on feathering their own nests to get elected.
Several European nations are rapidly coming to the realization that government handouts (however well-intended) eventually become unsustainable. Even with their countries facing insolvency and near collapse, citizens are feverishly demonstrating against necessary cutbacks. They would sooner see their nations self-destruct rather than give up that which they’ve grown so dependent and without which they are helpless.
That same spectacle is very likely to be played out here in America when enough people begin to feel real pain. Politicians talk about reining in government entitlements and reforming the tax structure, but those in power want only to stay in power and subsequently don’t dare to seriously attempt trimming government programs or equalizing the tax burden.
Lets be straightforward. The base of the Democratic Party is the poor, the downtrodden, the perceived “needy” and “marginalized” special groups. The voting body of the Republican Party appears to be largely the rich, the retired, and the relaxed and (thanks to the Supreme Court) corporate “people.” Both parties have a vested interest in protecting their respective constituency and they are not about to upset that which has provided them such unlimited success, power, and wealth, not even to rescue the country.
David L. Snell