The value of his essay is to show that everything we have been hearing about the supposedly austere fiscal policy of European governments is woefully incorrect. Indeed general government deficits as a percentage of GDP is higher now than it was in 2007. Likewise government spending as a percentage of GDP has grown since then. Both total government revenue and total government spending has increased not decreased. , but that government spending is absolute terms is higher now than before the recession of 2008. With austerity like this, who needs financial profligacy?
Increased taxes to fund increased government spending is neither austere nor economically productive. As Masse notes, if we define austerity properly "as policies bringing about a reduction in the size of government, then these policies cannot be held responsible for the crisis in Europe because they were never applied."
The true measure of the economic scope of the state is the magnitude of government spending. By this measure, government is still growing, which is why Europe appears mired in recession again. Indeed, as Masse concludes:
What Europe needs is smaller governments, not just in terms of public spending but also as regards deregulation of the job market and other structural reforms to encourage entrepreneurship, private investment, and job creation. There will be sustained growth in Europe only when governments, and not citizens or businesses, finally bear the brunt of austerity.