Maybe it’s not the place of someone like Paul Krugman to say it, but more suspicious minds would say that the entire point of austerity is to cut social programs, not to cause economic growth. Those minds would then say that the ensuing rise in unemployment and further public debt – entirely predictable by everyone who knows what’s going on – would just be excuses to cut even more social spending.
Those people would then perhaps stop believing that European leaders are just so dysfunctionally stupid that they can’t learn from textbook economics and the experience of the last four years, but that they’re really just trying to cut spending and taxes and don’t really care about growth and unemployment.
It’s a more coherent explanation of what’s going on, but it is based on the assumption that rich people have more political power than working people in the Western world. So your mileage may vary.