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Though we never really tried a stimulus, America mostly avoided austerity — extreme budget cutting during a recession to reduce debt — by delaying real cuts to the federal budget until this year, when cuts on the state and local levels are finally ending.

Europe hasn’t been so lucky, as this 2012 chart from Business Insider‘s Joe Weisenthal shows.

uk vs us vs euro

 

But even Germany, the country that forced the rest of the Eurozone into cutting when they should be spending, is ready to give up on this dangerous idea and try some stimulus — after its unemployment rate increased four times more than expected.

If you’ve ever wondered where the lust for austerity — or the “pain caucus,” as Paul Krugman calls its proponents — came from, you’ve got to check out this talk from Mark Blyth, author of Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea.

Blyth calls himself a perfect example of the social mobility made possible by the welfare state, and said he decided to take on austerity because it pissed him off so much.

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