Austerity is a valuable skill; all men, not to mention, all societies, should know how to bite that bullet when unavoidable. But it is not a casual endeavor. If you believe in austerity, practice it.
The problem with Greece is not the refusal of the hungry to hold their breath at dinner so the rich can further engorge themselves. The problem is that those advocating austerity want to bestow it upon others without partaking themselves. When the 99% see the rich practicing austerity, when the 99% see the rich sacrificing in a patriotic fervor to maintain society, then how can they fail to join in?
There may indeed come a time when the average worker will have to cut back, but long before that need be done, many other preliminary steps should be taken, for example:
- Capital gains should be taxed at twice the rate of income of the bottom 90%;
- Derivative trading should be heavily taxed;
- Corporations should actually pay the legal tax rate rather than escaping through foreign tax shelters and other tricks.
I could continue, but perhaps I should pause now to give the rich time to stand up and cooperate voluntarily.
Diets are for the fat. When the fat man tells the thin man to stop eating, it is time for the thin man to grab the fat man’s dinner.