The subject is Ireland, where an economic crisis two years ago led to cuts in public spending and increased taxes. But those austerity measures haven’t turned out that well:

Rather than being rewarded for its actions, though, Ireland is being penalized. Its downturn has certainly been sharper than if the government had spent more to keep people working. Lacking stimulus money, the Irish economy shrank 7.1 percent last year and remains in recession.

Joblessness in this country of 4.5 million is above 13 percent, and the ranks of the long-term unemployed — those out of work for a year or more — have more than doubled, to 5.3 percent.

Now, the Irish are being warned of more pain to come.

It’s not pretty—as an accompanying slideshow makes clear.

Of course, the U.S. isn’t Ireland. But it’s important story to consider, as Congress acts, or fails to act.

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Holly Yeager is CJR's Peterson Fellow, covering fiscal and economic policy. She is based in Washington and reachable at holly.yeager@gmail.com.