Isn't 'austerity' simply a case where there is no more money for the social projects that put the major drain on the countries resources in the first place and thus they end out of a simple lack of money? I didn't think it was something implemented to "fix" anything; rather more of a matter of necessity than anything due to a complete lack of the ability to pay for them. I'm basing this on what I've read about what's going on in Greece in recent years, so if I don't have the right of it feel free to clue me in.
Maybe I'm looking at it too simplistically, but if I can no longer afford my car payment I have little choice but to get rid of my car due to a lack of money.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” - Mahatma Gandhi