Real world effects of "austerity".
The Canadian government cut defense, unemployment insurance, transportation, business subsidies, aid to provincial governments, and many other items. After the first two years of cuts, the government held spending growth to about 2 percent for the next three years. With this restraint, federal spending as a share of GDP plunged from 22 percent in 1995 to 17 percent by 2000. The spending share kept falling during the 2000s to reach 15 percent by 2006, which was the lowest level since the 1940s.
Aside from budget cuts, Canada improved its fiscal outlook by fixing the Canada Pension Plan, which is like our Social Security system. In 1998 Canada began moving the CPP from a pay-as-you-go structure to a partially funded system. Today the CPP is solvent over the foreseeable future, which contrasts with Social Security's huge unfunded obligations
Canada's fiscal reforms undermine the Keynesian notion that cutting government spending harms economic growth. Canada's cuts were coincident with the beginning of a 15-year boom that only ended when the United States dragged Canada into recession in 2009. The Canadian unemployment rate plunged from more than 11 percent in the early 1990s to less than 7 percent by the end of that decade as the government shrank in size. After the 2009 recession, Canada has resumed solid growth and its unemployment rate today is about a percentage point lower than the U.S. rate.
The most dramatic cuts were to corporate taxes. The federal corporate tax rate was cut from 29 percent in 2000 to 15 percent in 2012. Most provinces also trimmed their corporate taxes, so that the overall average rate in Canada is just 27 percent today. By contrast, the average U.S. federal-state rate is 40 percent.[...]Canada's federal corporate tax rate has been cut from 38 percent in the early 1980s to just 15 percent today. Despite the much lower rate, tax revenues have not declined. Indeed, corporate tax revenues averaged 2.1 percent of GDP during the 1980s and a slightly higher 2.3 percent during the 2000s.Now compare Canada with the United States. In 2012, Canada is expecting to collect 1.9 percent of GDP in federal corporate income taxes with a 15 percent corporate tax rate. The United States is expecting to collect 1.6 percent of GDP at a 35 percent corporate tax rate. Thus, the high U.S. rate is not only bad for the economy, but it also doesn't help the government collect any added revenue.