Looks like I found the author of the next book I'm going to read, Glenn Greenwald. He has a piece pointing out the extreme of some of the cuts, the example of stopping public transit seems really extreme to me.
After living in Britian for a while I spent quite a bit of time thinking about what could make so much of a society so miserable and it seemed to me that their economic decline has been happening for quite some time, I think the cuts and the gross decline of the education system indicate at least 30 years now.
Right or wrong, the history lesson I took from school about falling empires is that they get buried under the weight of unsustainable socialism, trying to provide freebies to people that they can not afford. And they cut the much smaller more important stuff and leave the unsustainable freebies that are killing the system...