Austerity was the most searched word in 2010 according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Not a real surprise because the global community was at the crest of an economic crisis short of the Great Depression that year and ordinary folk may have encountered the word “austerity measures” a little too often both in both print and TV media. Austerity comes from the root word austere which means “rigourously self disciplined and severely moral”. When applied to economics, it translates to ” financial belt tightening”. In short, if the house is in severe financial stress it needs to cut expenses to pay off a mounting debt. Everyone must make a sacrifice by spending less, curtailing whims and spendthrift habits, holding off on unecessary purchases to keep the books in order. The government being the catalyst of the economy must keep its financial house in even keel amidst the tempest and austerity measures is a proven recipe to keep it afloat . Politicians are known to act slow on austerity measures for fear that reducing expenses and social services would ruin their approval rating and therefore risk not getting re-elected. When people are pissed with the economy, they show their vengeance at the polls. Take the case of Greece. It is so unbelievable that the country was going bankrupt if not for the Europen Union bailout that saved it from doom. The bailout wasn’t without strings attached though. The EU demanded that Greece shrink the size of its government, reduce expenses by a certain percentage to keep its book in order else the bailout won’t be granted. Citizens who feared losing their government jobs or pensions took to the streets and rioted, burned buildings, cursed their politicians and demanded a status quo – no changes. It boggles my mind how people react to dire situations. How in the hell can you get out of bankruptcy if you don’t give up something ?? This reminds me of a quote of Albert Einstein ” We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them


Enter Pinas. Do we ever complain – burn buildings, stage riots because we are fed up with the government ? Do we ever punish politicians at the polls ? No. Why ? Well, first of all there are millions of us who are either freeloading with relatives or engaged in the underground economy and don’t pay taxes and never get any service from the government – so why give a rat’s ass anyways ? And, we don’t vote for performance. We vote for emotional reasons – we like the person or the family name – period. At the end of the day, our elected politicians possess that sense of entitlement to do anything they want while poverty increases and guess what – we just keep quiet and suffer in silence. Austerity ? We know what that word means. We’ve been stretching it out for many decades now. Who needs social services when we have family to bail us out ?
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