DQ here. I’ve been reading about the financial problems in Greece, and Europe generally, for a while. The problems there are, after all, the ones we will face in America one day soon. I’m struck, though, by the use of two key words:
Stimulus — The effort to spend your way out of debt, by going further into debt in the hopes that the economy (and, therefore, revenues to the government) will grow so fast that overall debt will ultimately be reduced.
Austerity — Limiting or reducing the size of government and the burden it places on the economy.
“Stimulus” is a friendly word. True, it represents a concept that never works (see the “disappointing” effect of the stimulus package in the U.S. on our country’s overall debt). But it sounds like it would be downright fun to do. Stimulating, in fact.
“Austerity,” on the other hand, is an unfriendly word. It actually has a chance to work, or it would if the people weren’t so used to sucking at the government teat that they are no longer capable of doing productive work for a living. But it sounds cruel, evoking pictures of suffering and unpleasantness. No one wants to be thought of as “austere.”
The use of such loaded terms biases the discussion in favor of the one solution sure to fail. It complicates the task of those of us who realize that government is far more often a burden on, rather than a help to, the economy. Does anyone have any ideas for more favorable, or at least more neutral, terms for these two courses of action? Does anyone have any idea as to how we could inject new terms into the discussion, or are “stimulus” and “austerity” so accepted that they cannot be dislodged?