Although he would never dare label it as such, Paul Ryan's 2012 budget plan, unveiled last month, is an austerity budget, of the sort passed in several Eurozone countries in the past few years to help reduce their huge deficits. There are two problems with the United States adopting Ryan's plan. First, an austerity budget generally includes tax HIKES, which add to revenue and enhance the effect of spending cuts by chipping away at the deficit. Ryan's budget instead includes tax CUTS, which reduce revenue, and cancel out spending cuts, bringing us to a net deficit reduction of zero. Second, the steep spending cuts often simply do not work as planned. Austerity budgets in general tend to depress economic growth, which slows consumer spending and costs jobs, and ultimately causes governments to lose even more money in tax revenues. Additionally, the cuts disproportionately affect the poorest segments of the population. The combination results in the unfortunate situation where the country is driven back into recession, and more citizens are in need of social services that are no longer being funded. The experiences of the United Kingdom and Italy are cases in point.