It's a word you've come across before. Austerity.

What is it?

Some claim it " generally refer[s] to the measures taken by governments to reduce expenditures in an attempt to shrink their growing budget deficits."


But often, it's really when the governing people overseeing a failing economy decide to place the burden of its failure on the poor and already struggling while allowing those profiting to continue to profit and not act to fix it.

One woman made a video that is a cathartic rallying cry against this approach and those who espouse it. But before that, some quick context on the a-word.

Austerity looks like some things you're already used to.

Like working more than one full-time job to make ends meet.

(Click images for links to related stories.)

Image from Elizabeth Police Department.

Like taking away relief for the poverty-stricken.

Image (altered) by Eden, Janine, and Jim/Flickr.

While not reducing anything else.

Image (altered) by Groupe Canam/Wikimedia Commons.

Image (altered) from National Priorities Project, used with permission.

That's even though polls show that most Americans prefer cutting our defense budget to reduce our deficit INSTEAD of cutting programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Like employees having to beg, plead, and fight just to get a living wage that keeps up with inflation.

Image (altered) by Annette Bernhardt/Flickr.

Changing austerity measures starts with changing how we value our own work.

Like the frog in the pot that didn't know it was boiling until it was too late, some of us have gotten used to these things. But some of us haven't and aren't willing to. Like Agnes Török, who filmed this moving poem that puts into words the frustrations so many of us have felt.

Her words are inspiration for those of us who've internalized economic disparities as our own character failures.

Go forth. Know that we are not worthless. Know that we are the hands and minds that build society and the future. Know austerity measures when you see them. And speak up every time.

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