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We are told that austerity in Europe has failed. The elections in France and Greece, for instance, are supposedly evidence of people’s opposition to severe cuts in spending. However, the growing anti-austerity backlash against Europe ignores one fundamental point: If there is austerity in Europe, in most cases it hasn’t taken the form of massive spending cuts.
Following years of large spending expansion, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, and Greece—countries widely cited for adopting austerity measures—haven’t significantly reduced spending since “austerity” supposedly started in 2008.