The Pointlessness of Short-term Austerity

What Adam Ozimek said:

Here is something I don’t understand about austerity now proponents: is cutting short term spending a second best alternative to fixing the long-term budget problem? Or does the optimal policy response include BOTH short-term spending cuts and a long-term budget fix? If the answer is the latter, then I want to know what problems aren’t solved by fixing the long-term budged problems that also require short term cuts?


These question, it seems to me and to Ozimek, don’t have good answers. If the debt-averse wanted to say “you can have your stimulus but only if paired with measures to close the long-tern deficit” that would be a form of bargaining that I wouldn’t approve of, but the relationship between ends and means seems clear. What’s more, then we could bargain about it. But to say “because we’re not adopting measures that close the long-term deficit, we need short-term fiscal austerity” doesn’t make any kind of sense. It’d be like a pack-a-day guy deciding that it’s hard to quit smoking so he’s going to stop eating bananas.