by The Warning Signs
austerity: def. A policy of deficit cutting, lower spending and a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided.
Over the course of the last year America has watched from afar as countries such as Greece, Spain, Italy and Ireland implimented austerity measures upon their citizens in an attempt to reign in soverign debt. We watched events unfold in those countries on CNN and YouTube, but that was as close to the action as we ever thought we would get.
What most Americans fail to understand is that although the US is the richest nation, it is also the most endebted. While the topic of the national debt has been stealing all the headlines these past few years, another dark secret has been looming in the shadows and that is the growing deficits of almost every state in the country. Our nation has binged on an orgy of fiscal irresponsibility for so long that our elected officials, both on the federal and state levels, can't imagine it any other way. But the game is up and the music is about to stop, and unfortunatly, there has to be someone without a chair. As states across the country finally admit that they are tetering in the edge of insolvancy the question arises, what do they do?
For most Americans the term "austerity measures" means very little to them and most probably could not tell you what the term means, that is until now. As we are seeing in the state if Wisconsin, austerity measures are never popular. Everyone in that state is probably in agreement that the state needs to get their debt under control just as long as it doesn't affect them personally. The problem is that in times like these tough choices have to be made.
As I personally watch the events play out in Wisconsin with the teachers union it sickens me. Here you have a group of people who actually have jobs for starters, who are being asked to contribute towards the benefits they receive. In all, they are being asked to contribute 12% towards their health care premiums (which is about half of the private sector average) and 5.6% towards their pensions. Honestly, this is not really asking a lot of them. But instead of seeing the need for the state to address the debt issue they are trying to make it out as a personal attack against teachers. This just shows you how insanely spoiled our society has become.
Perhaps the new Govenor of Wisconsin should have just taken a different approach and simply cut jobs. In case you missed the headlines today, Mayor Bloomberg in New York proposed the layoff of 21,000 teachers starting July 1,2011. But instead of simply adding thousands of teachers to the unemployment roster he asked for a concession on the part of the teachers and in return is getting nothing short of a full scale riot. These teachers and their precious union had better be careful because the Govenor just might decide to take the path laid out by Mayor Bloomberg instead.
America had better brace themselves for the austerity measures that will soon be sweeping through every state in the country. These cuts are coming whether people like it or not because their simply is no other path to take. The teachers in Wisconsin don't get that it isn't an isolated case involving them but that they are simply the first to experience these austerity measures. American will witness scenes like this all to frequently moving foward.
The good times were fun, but they are over, now it is now time to pay the piper.