Republicans have been using propaganda  to promote a racist agenda. A phony concern about voter fraud has been used to promote voter ID laws and voter role purges to disenfranchise African American voters. Similarly, a phony concern about budget deficits is being used to sabotage the economy  to damage President Obama’s legacy and to attack government programs which serve minorities and the poor.
Republicans have used sequestration, austerity and the government shutdown to slow the economy, suppress employment and  cut government programs such as food assistance. It has been reported that sequestration alone has cost over 2 million jobs. http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2012/07/17/sequestration-would-cost-2-million-jobs.html
If the economy grows, employment increases and average citizens prosper , this would create a positive legacy for President Obama. Republicans cannot bear the thought of another Democratic President having a positive economic legacy, especially an African American one.
A gaggle  of  Tea Party activists and other Republicans have been working to undermine Obama since his inauguration . It was reported on Jan 20, 2009 , the day of Obama’s inauguration, a group of Republicans  including Eric Cantor, Jim DeMint and Kevin McCarthy met to plan how they could sabotage the economy . http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/09/30/1242494/-Eric-Cantor-Kevin-McCarthy-Jim-DeMint-Plot-To-Sabotage-US-Economy-in-Secret-Meeting#
As Republicans continue to assault the economy under the pretense of deficit reduction, feckless Democrats stand by and do nothing.  Even worse,  Obama has been an unwitting collaborator in this Republican plot by proposing sequestration and offering to cut social security benefits.
In 1980 Ronald Reagan colluded to have American hostages in Iran held until the day of his inauguration to undermine Carter’s presidency. Current Republicans will likely continue to inflict economic pain and misery on tens of millions of Americans and hold the economy hostage to undermine Obama’s presidency.
But austerity isn’t  just about racism, it is also about class warfare. The 1% have been using austerity to redistribute wealth from everyone else to themselves.  Austerity has  handsomely benefited Wall Street and the  so called elites with low interest rates, low inflation,  privatization of public assets and a surplus labor pool which suppresses wages.
At the same time business, financial  and  government elites have been promoting austerity cuts in food assistance and Social Security in the name of deficit reduction, the Federal Reserve has been pumping a trillion dollars a year into bond purchases  and has continued to lend money to banks at near zero interest rates.
The net result has been record bank profits and record stock market prices , while the majority of Americans continue to economically suffer.    This is part of  a  two tier economic system;  one tier  punishes the 99% with austerity , while the other tier  rewards  financiers and the 1% with economic stimulus
One percenters such as Lloyd Blankenfien (CEO of Goldman Sachs ) and Billionaire Pete Peterson have  led a campaign to cut social security benefits. And now  the pensions of public workers in Detroit will be slashed to pay off the toxic investments sold to the city by Wall Street investment firms.  .  It is class warfare when the  ruling class  demands  austerity for everyone else while it benefits from stimulus.
The so called elites  are using austerity to engage in a massive worldwide wide theft of wealth . From Greece to Detroit to Spain, austerity is being imposed across the globe . But this austerity  is nothing new. It is  a reconstitution of   the structural adjustments which  the IMF  imposed upon developing nations in the 1980’s and 1990’s.   It is part of an ongoing class war being waged by and on behalf of the so called ruling class.