Reactions to New Jersey governor, Chris Christie’s cuts and privatizations are mixed depending on where you fall on the ideological spectrum. But one thing that irks me is the reaction that all these spending cuts “hurt” the poor, while not ratcheting up already high taxes on the rich somehow doesn’t hurt them enough.
I think we blur the conversation enormously when we talk about those from the lower income "suffering" because of spending cuts while not making the rich "suffer" enough through higher taxes, as though state spending is the only determining factor of society’s suffering. What about lost jobs because of increasingly high taxes needed to pay for enormous public pensions? What about lost investment in the private sphere due to ever bloated tax rates to line the pockets of teachers unions and other public workers? Spending cuts do not equal "suffering" anymore than higher taxation means that someone benefits. This may be the language we use to talk about all of this, but I think it’s a huge illusion.
"Austerity" is the wrong word altogether to describe what we do when we stop spending endless sums of other peoples’ money.
There are legitimate uses for tax dollars obviously – legitimate things for the state to spend money on – but any time we make cuts from public budgets, masking those cuts in the language of ‘suffering’ and ‘austerity’ seems a devious sort of play on words.