(ECONOMICS) when a government has to restructure spending by massively cutting social programs, development programs, and subsidies on basic necessities. Often accompanied by taxes increases, especially on lower incomes (since the poor cannot escape tax hikes).
Usually we use the term "austerity program" when the government in question has to backtrack on its ideological commitments. An example of this is France, after June 1982. The Socialist government of Mitterrand had just implemented a raft of major new social welfare programs, and was promptly forced to cut everything back when the deficit ballooned.
by Abu Yahya May 04, 2010