When conservatives speak of “austerity,” they mean if with figurative fine print tacitly attached. Yes, they mean cutting back, doing without, suffering … but not for people like them. The mean, in effect, “You suffer from increasing austerity so we can prosper from increasing self-indulgence.”
Consider the following. The charts aren’t mathematically accurate, but they’re close enough to help one visualize what I’m talking about.
The first pie is 140 units in diameter, and the rich take 50%, leaving %50 for the rest. The second pie (economy) has shrunk to 120 units. To increase the amount of pie they’re getting – let’s say a mere 8% – the rich have to increase the percentage they take by a full %33. This reduces the amount left for everyone else by %75, the percentage of the pie by %33.
That’s the principle Republicans have in mind when they speak of practicing austerity. To see the actual details and numbers, just look at the Ryan/Romney/Ayn Rand budget.