MEGAN MCARDLE ON AUSTERITY HORROR: “If Ireland hadn’t done the austerity budget, it might now be more like Greece–in danger of default without massive intervention from the rest of the European Union. Intervention that might well not be forthcoming, if it became clear that too many countries were going to require it. . . . Austerity is an expensive form of insurance against a true fiscal crisis. And though it doesn’t necessarily seem like it when you’re not having one, fiscal crises are much, much worse than austerity budgets. Fiscal crisis means that rather than unpleasant cuts, you have sudden, unmanageable collapses in things like public pension plans. The resulting suffering is not unpleasant; it is disastrous.”

Plus, from the comments: “The pols dream up all sorts of way to piss away money when times are good, then are forced into ‘austerity’ when times are bad. If they hadn’t dreamed up the garbage spending in the first place, they wouldn’t need the ‘austerity’. Take a look at our worst states. Their problem is all related to incredible jumps in spending over a period of 25 to 30 years. Now it’s caught up to them.”