That a continent of countries, spinning like a roulette wheel of fiscal failure, now could be suddenly afflicted by austerity — after over-spending for decades — is a puzzler in its own right. This is to misdiagnose cure for problem — not unlike an addict blaming detox for the shakes.

Of course, such a move by America’s liberals serves two purposes. It shifts focus away from the $620 billion tax hike slapped on the nation at year’s beginning. And even more, it protects the sizable and sudden spending surge to which they have become quite accustomed.

How sizable and sudden has it been? From 2007 to 2008, when the economy first felt the recession’s effects, federal outlays jumped 9.3 percent, from $2.729 trillion to $2.983 trillion. In 2009, they jumped another 18 percent, to $3.518 trillion — a 29 percent leap in two years.

And there, despite the fact that the economy has not had a negative growth quarter in almost four years, they have stayed — estimated by the Congressional Budget Office at $3.553 trillion this year.

Juxtaposed with this profligacy, we find the following spending “austerity”: an $85 billion sequester that took effect just two months ago. That spending cut represents a 2.3 percent reduction from where spending otherwise would have been. In our $16 trillion economy, it is only a 0.5 percent slice.