Lets do some simple math, if money in is less than money out, that means there is debt. Debt has interest (lets say 3% for simplicities sake) and as long as the interest and original amount isnt paid up, this debt acumulates. Fiscal austerity reduces debt without putting a stranglehold on the average persons budget. Some cut backs have to be made, but there are always charities and organizations that help people who are in need.
Any method or effort to try to help the economy is going to take years to play out, and can only be considered a true success or failure in hindsight, but austerity certainly isn't hurting, and I believe the economy is improving, and so I'd have to lean on the side of saying it is helping.
Think about it. You have a house, a car and a family to take care of. These are tough times you need to watch your pennies and rethink priorities. You save a little bit here and there and you make sacrifices. You decide what things you are willing to cut or completely remove from your life. It's not easy but it's your decision. When the Government gets involved and tells you what you will do without it doesn't go over so well.
No, I do not think that any austerity measures put forth by the government are working, and that it would need to be a change of minds' for many people in the world. Too many people expect things to be done for them for free, and therefore saving money and implementing austerity measures do not work.
In 2010 a paper called Growth in a Time of Debt was published by two Harvard economists. The paper asserted that GDP growth slowed significantly after the debt-to-GDP ratio exceeded 90%. Since then measures have been taken by various governments to reduce the indebtedness of their countries especially within the EU where the outcome is most obvious. The premise of austerity is that reducing government will improve business and consumer confidence in the economy and lead to investment and consumption, in turn leading to renewed growth. Three years later the EU as a whole is in recession, though not as sever as the Great Recession, as a result of austerity and the debt-to-GDP ratio of the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) have a net increase. In the US GDP growth has slowed because of austerity. The paper itself, Growth in a Time of Debt, has been partially discredited as a result of an excel spreadsheet error. As Keynesian economists have argued; a recession or recovery is a poor time to install austerity, wait for the boom. Austerity in a recession or recovery is a poor idea and I would hope that people around the world and governments debating fiscal policy back off.