FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
It may be a sign of things to come here in the U.S.:
Running out of money and drowning in debt. Governments across Europe are cutting, cutting and then cutting some more... and the pain is palpable.
CNNMoney.com reports what fiscal austerity looks like... and countries including Greece, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Portugal, and Ireland are living through it now.
These governments are implementing a wide range of tough measures - and in the process imposing a dramatic change in lifestyle for their residents.
These include - freezing public-sector wages and state spending, cutting jobs, social welfare benefits, and state and local budgets.
Some governments are raising retirement ages and reducing pension payments... others are increasing taxes - from the value-added tax to higher taxes on gasoline and cigarettes... and income and profits taxes.
It gets worse - with the added concern that economic instability will lead to political unrest.
Top European officials are warning that Democracy could "collapse" in Greece, Spain and Portugal unless they take urgent action to fix the debt crises. They worry these countries could fall victim to military coups or popular uprisings.
Meanwhile on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, as America's national debt tops $13 trillion - there's no indication the federal government will stop spending anytime soon.
Just this week, President Obama asked for another $50 billion in emergency aid to state and local governments.... but no word on how to pay for it.
At the same time some state governments, which are actually required to balance their budgets, are threatening to cut services if lawmakers can't agree on spending cuts.
Here’s my question to you: What would fiscal austerity look like in the U.S.?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Gary in Arizona writes:
Water seeks its own level, Jack, and those who have not prepared for the worst will suffer the most. It would come down to a simple matter of survival of the fittest and it would be brutal since the government has made a habit of propping up the poor with programs that would have to be curtailed. America would clearly become a nation of haves and have-nots. And, as a result, there would be chaos and riots unlike anything America's ever seen.
Mark in Houston writes:
What do I think it would look like? Complete chaos. Can you imagine people not having the money to buy all those self- serving electronic gadgets used to fill their days? They would be lost. We would have graveyards filled with ex-Tweeters, texters, bloggers, wi-fiers, etc.
Ron in Sequim, Washington writes:
It looks like simply living within one's means: Make it harder for people to get credit; only purchase what one can afford; no money – no buy. It's not fiscal austerity, it's fiscal responsibility. It's a philosophy that never fails to avoid debt. If we keep on the course we're on freezing public-sector wages, state spending, cutting jobs, social welfare benefits, and state and local budgets just sounds like common sense.
I don't know what it would look like to others, but I already have been living it for quite some time now. Sounds like we're going down the toilet behind all the other countries.
Frank in Colorado Springs writes:
Austerity are us. Here in Colorado Springs, we see the ugly face of austerity. Big time. Street lights turned off, swimming pools closed, senior citizen centers closed, no maintenance at city parks, no water for the park landscape, everything brown and ugly. We have potholes that require visas to travel through. It is bad, my friend.
Roger in Pennsylvania writes:
It's like telling someone who's been blind their whole life what color is like. It's been so long since we've had fiscal discipline here, we can't comprehend the concept.