We should try to define austerity. In its latest budget document, the CBO notes in table 1-1 (look at outlays) that, assuming sequestration happens, there will be a slight dip from 2012 to 2013 in discretionary spending levels. Then discretionary spending rises every year through 2023. Total federal spending is projected to rise from $3.5 trillion in 2012 to $5.9 trillion in 2023. Good luck matching that sort of austerity in your salary gains over the next decade.
This is not unlike the old “But the Republicans want to CUT MEDICARE!” ruse that’s been going on for two decades. A “reduction in the rate of growth” becomes a “cut” to keep the GOP bogeyman story alive. It’s a pretty simple thing to explain, we just never seem to elect anyone capable of doing so.