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  1. #1
    Senior Member cjbl2929's Avatar
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    $1 Trillion Will Not Erase a Bad Idea - hold on tight!

    Euro Package Leaves Governments Out of Ammunition:

    Matthew Lynn

    May 11 (Bloomberg) -- Big problem, big number. The leaders of the euro-area countries have thrown 750 billion euros ($963 billion) at shoring up confidence in the single currency. But it doesn’t matter how many zeros you put on the end of a bad idea. It’s still a bad idea.

    In reality, you can’t stabilize a sinking ship.

    The new stability package suffers from the same problem as all the other ones the European Union has come up with in the months since the Greek crisis started rattling the markets last year: It tries to fix the symptoms, not the causes.

    Greece has exposed deep structural problems within the euro. There is no mechanism to stop governments breaking the rules.

    There is no popular support for massive fiscal transfers between countries. The rules for the euro area have turned out to be unreliable. And there is no way to start stimulating economic growth again in the heavily indebted nations.

    Those are the hard questions. Even 750 billion euros won’t get close to answering any of them.

    The markets have greeted the latest package with a wave of euphoria. No great surprise there. Everyone likes a bailout, and particularly the financial markets. There is so much sovereign debt on the books of European banks that the possibility of default, or just sharp losses on those portfolios, was prompting fears of a meltdown in the financial system. It could have been Credit Crunch Round Two. There was bound to be relief at avoiding that.


    Relief for Markets

    The stock prices on European bourses soared. The euro strengthened the most in 18 months against the yen on foreign- exchange markets. Finance ministers will have been relieved at the reaction. They were looking to reassure the markets, and to punish speculators, and on that measure they succeeded.

    Don’t expect it to last. In the next few days, tough questions will be asked about the euro.

    First, where are the incentives for governments to stick to rules?


    The crisis arose because the euro area didn’t enforce the Stability and Growth Pact, which limited budget deficits to 3 percent of gross domestic product in all but exceptional circumstances.


    If the pact had been rigorously enforced, Greece would never have been allowed into the euro. Once in, it would have been disciplined for allowing its deficits to balloon even when the economy was booming.

    No Incentive


    If it got bailed out for behaving badly, why should any other government behave itself?

    The bailout package talks about tougher disciplinary measures, but what are they?

    Are tanks going to be sent into Dublin if Ireland doesn’t stick to its austerity program?

    Will the Portuguese get kicked out of the euro if they don’t control their deficit?


    Of course not. The only credible deterrent was letting Greece default. By wimping out of that, the EU has no ammunition left.


    Second, there is no popular support for the massive fiscal transfers between countries that are now proposed. Take a look at the hammering that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition took in regional elections this weekend. Where is the 750 billion euros supposed to come from? Elected politicians are going to pay a terrible price at the ballot box for offering to foot any of the bill.

    Don’t be surprised if they start sliding on their commitments once they look at their poll ratings.

    Third, the rules of the euro area turned out to be about as solid as a slice of brie left out in the midday sun. We were told there wouldn’t be any bailouts between member states. We were told the European Central Bank wouldn’t buy government bonds in the market. We were told the stability pact would be enforced. None of those promises turned out to be true.

    New Rules

    If the rules of the euro can be rewritten on a Sunday night in Brussels once, they can be rewritten next time there is a crisis. Investors will remember that. And they won’t believe what they are told about how the euro operates from now on.

    Finally, it doesn’t address the issue of how you get the heavily indebted countries growing again. The problem in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Italy, and potentially France as well, isn’t just that governments are going to have to push through huge and painful austerity programs. It is that they can’t devalue their currencies at the same time to provide some relief to their economies -- and to provide some hope of future growth.

    You can’t run an economy with just sticks -- not in a democracy anyway.

    You need some carrots as well. The EU not only has to fix the debt problem, it has to provide the money to stimulate growth as well. But, for all the reasons explained above, that isn’t going to happen. The money isn’t available.

    [u][b]“We will do whatever it takes

  2. #2
    Senior Member TexasBorn's Avatar
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    Re: $1 Trillion Will Not Erase a Bad Idea - hold on tight!

    Stay tuned...the tidal wave of economic calamity that befell Greece is coming to a neighborhood near you!


    [quote="cjbl2929"]Euro Package Leaves Governments Out of Ammunition:

    Matthew Lynn

    May 11 (Bloomberg) -- Big problem, big number. The leaders of the euro-area countries have thrown 750 billion euros ($963 billion) at shoring up confidence in the single currency. But it doesn’t matter how many zeros you put on the end of a bad idea. It’s still a bad idea.

    In reality, you can’t stabilize a sinking ship.

    The new stability package suffers from the same problem as all the other ones the European Union has come up with in the months since the Greek crisis started rattling the markets last year: It tries to fix the symptoms, not the causes.

    Greece has exposed deep structural problems within the euro. There is no mechanism to stop governments breaking the rules.

    There is no popular support for massive fiscal transfers between countries. The rules for the euro area have turned out to be unreliable. And there is no way to start stimulating economic growth again in the heavily indebted nations.

    Those are the hard questions. Even 750 billion euros won’t get close to answering any of them.

    The markets have greeted the latest package with a wave of euphoria. No great surprise there. Everyone likes a bailout, and particularly the financial markets. There is so much sovereign debt on the books of European banks that the possibility of default, or just sharp losses on those portfolios, was prompting fears of a meltdown in the financial system. It could have been Credit Crunch Round Two. There was bound to be relief at avoiding that.


    Relief for Markets

    The stock prices on European bourses soared. The euro strengthened the most in 18 months against the yen on foreign- exchange markets. Finance ministers will have been relieved at the reaction. They were looking to reassure the markets, and to punish speculators, and on that measure they succeeded.

    Don’t expect it to last. In the next few days, tough questions will be asked about the euro.

    First, where are the incentives for governments to stick to rules?


    The crisis arose because the euro area didn’t enforce the Stability and Growth Pact, which limited budget deficits to 3 percent of gross domestic product in all but exceptional circumstances.


    If the pact had been rigorously enforced, Greece would never have been allowed into the euro. Once in, it would have been disciplined for allowing its deficits to balloon even when the economy was booming.

    No Incentive


    If it got bailed out for behaving badly, why should any other government behave itself?

    The bailout package talks about tougher disciplinary measures, but what are they?

    Are tanks going to be sent into Dublin if Ireland doesn’t stick to its austerity program?

    Will the Portuguese get kicked out of the euro if they don’t control their deficit?


    Of course not. The only credible deterrent was letting Greece default. By wimping out of that, the EU has no ammunition left.


    Second, there is no popular support for the massive fiscal transfers between countries that are now proposed. Take a look at the hammering that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition took in regional elections this weekend. Where is the 750 billion euros supposed to come from? Elected politicians are going to pay a terrible price at the ballot box for offering to foot any of the bill.

    Don’t be surprised if they start sliding on their commitments once they look at their poll ratings.

    Third, the rules of the euro area turned out to be about as solid as a slice of brie left out in the midday sun. We were told there wouldn’t be any bailouts between member states. We were told the European Central Bank wouldn’t buy government bonds in the market. We were told the stability pact would be enforced. None of those promises turned out to be true.

    New Rules

    If the rules of the euro can be rewritten on a Sunday night in Brussels once, they can be rewritten next time there is a crisis. Investors will remember that. And they won’t believe what they are told about how the euro operates from now on.

    Finally, it doesn’t address the issue of how you get the heavily indebted countries growing again. The problem in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Italy, and potentially France as well, isn’t just that governments are going to have to push through huge and painful austerity programs. It is that they can’t devalue their currencies at the same time to provide some relief to their economies -- and to provide some hope of future growth.

    You can’t run an economy with just sticks -- not in a democracy anyway.

    You need some carrots as well. The EU not only has to fix the debt problem, it has to provide the money to stimulate growth as well. But, for all the reasons explained above, that isn’t going to happen. The money isn’t available.

    [u][b]“We will do whatever it takes
    ...I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid...

    William Barret Travis
    Letter From The Alamo Feb 24, 1836

  3. #3
    Senior Member cjbl2929's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Europe is unprepared for austerity
    By Gideon Rachman

    Published: May 10 2010 20:13 | Last updated: May 10 2010 20:13

    Europe has bought itself time with its €750bn bail-out for the euro. But the long-term problem remains.

    Most of the European Union is living beyond its means.

    Government deficits are out of control and public-sector debt is rising. If European governments do not use their new breathing space to control spending, financial markets will get dangerously restless again.

    Unfortunately, European voters and politicians are simply unprepared for the age of austerity that lies ahead.

    I used to think Europe had got it right. Let the US be a military superpower; let China be an economic superpower – Europe would be the lifestyle superpower.

    The days when European empires dominated the globe had gone. But that was just fine. Europe could still be the place with the most beautiful cities, the best food and wine, the richest cultural history, the longest holidays, the best football teams. Life for most ordinary Europeans has never been more comfortable.

    It was a great strategy. But there was one big flaw in it. Europe cannot afford its comfortable retirement.

    Greece’s financial crisis is, unfortunately, an extreme example of a broader European problem.

    Investors have been looking nervously at debt-levels and budget deficits in Spain, Portugal and Ireland for months.

    But even Europe’s big four – Britain, France, Italy and Germany – are hardly immune from concern.

    Italy’s public debt is about 115 per cent of gross domestic product. Some 20 per cent of this needs to be rolled over during the course of 2010.


    [u][b]Britain is currently running a budget-deficit of nearly 12 per cent of GDP, one of the largest in Europe.

    George Osborne, who is likely to end up as chancellor of the exchequer in the new government, has described Britain’s official economic forecasts as a “work of fiction

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