When it comes to austerity, perhaps the United States needs to take its cue from an unlikely source: Europe.
Following an intense 24 hours of talks, the region’s leaders emerged from the negotiating table with a major budget deal in place.
The tale of the tape? A 960-billion euro agreement from 2014 to 2020.
Sounds expensive, right?
Well, it’s not as lavish as it sounds. Austerity has kicked in with a vengeance.
It’s 3% less than the European Union’s previous long-term budget deal and a hefty 12% reduction on the proposal made in November.
And at an average of 140 billion euros per year, it represents just 1% of the EU’s total annual economic output.
It was the EU’s first ever cut to a budget plan – and a victory for leaders like Britain’s David Cameron and Germany’s Angela Merkel, who’d called for spending reductions.
It also placated countries like France and Italy, which wanted to safeguard agriculture and infrastructure funding – both of which were maintained.
After all the work, there’s just one remaining obstacle: Getting approval from the European Parliament.