Any man who propounds his doctrine on Austerity, whether to damn or approbate, must acknowledge forthrightly that Austerity entails both (a) broad-based tax increases and (b) deep defense cuts, or reveal himself as a mountebank.
There is no imposture more common in our public counsels today than presenting a portion of Austerity as the whole. It is convenient for the tendentious purposes of the Left, no less than those of the Right, to quietly pretend Austerity consists only in welfare, entitlement and other public-sector cuts. By this trickery a liberal committed firmly to austere cuts in the defense budget and sharp increases in taxation, may pass himself off as a friend to the little man who will stand against the menace of Austerity; quite as much as the conservative committed firmly to fiscal retrenchment, may pass himself off as a friend to the middle class and military, who will stand against the selfsame menace.
Austerity thus becomes a perfect bogeyman: every man despises it, denouncing his opponents for their embrace of an iniquitous policy, while secretly endorsing key portions of its substance.