“Austerity is the political process by which the most vulnerable suffer in order to protect the interests of the least vulnerable.”
— Deborah Orr, “A poor child of the 80s? Blame Margaret Thatcher,” The Guardian. 1 OCT 2016.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, along with Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman and others, is recognized as being instrumental in dismantling the socioeconomic system under which our parents grew up (1950s–1970s) and beginning the implementation of neoliberal policies that by today have completely warped our social and economic lives. Those policies marked the division between the world Boomers grew up in and that in which the rest of us did. Suddenly, instead of each generation becoming wealthier, generations have started to become progressively poorer.
In times of depression and no or slow growth, one might think beneficial socioeconomic policies (like those our parents enjoyed) would be logical. The government spends, putting money in your pocket so that you can spend and keep the economy moving. But neoliberals are more concerned that they keep their money in their pockets — and, in fact, they’d like a little more, too. So, instead of having the government provide those services, we’ll cut them through austerity — that is, choke them off by not funding them — and allow private companies to come in and sell us the same services for a far higher prices.
Austerity is just another word for redistributing money and benefits from the less-well-off to only those with quite enough already.