To reduce their budget deficits, nations across Europe are slashing public sector wages, axing child benefits and closing hospitals.
Battered by years of overspending and the effects of the global recession, European governments plan to cut spending and raise taxes in hopes of stabilizing their public finances. The austerity budgets have sparked opposition in the streets and debate amongst policymakers -- in Europe and abroad -- over the appropriate timing and structure of fiscal consolidations.
Obama and the U.S. have urged the EU to delay severe belt-tightening. The U.S. fears that if Europe withdraws stimulus packages too soon, it might deepen the global downturn. In a June 16th letter to the G-20, Obama wrote, "We need to commit fiscal adjustments that stabilize debt-to-GDP ratios at appropriate levels over the medium term" -- which means three to five years from now.
The consensus in Europe, on the other hand, as evidenced by recent austerity measures, is to impose fiscal adjustments as soon as possible. Below, we've compiled some of the most severe cutbacks and austerity measures in the world: