Europe: Don’t Look Now But this IS the Long Run

In its latest issue, the Economist has a piece virtually begging Angela Merkel to abandon austerity.

In one way it seems unfair to pick on Mrs Merkel. Politicians everywhere are failing to act—from Delhi, where reform has stalled, to Washington, where partisan paralysis [ed. note:  created by the Republican Party] threatens a lethal combination of tax increases and spending cuts at the end of the year. Within Europe, as Germans never cease to point out, investors are not worried about Mrs Merkel’s prudent government, whose predecessor restructured the economy painfully ten years ago; the problem is a loss of confidence in less well-run, unreformed countries.

But do not get too sympathetic. To begin with, past virtue counts for little at the moment: if the euro collapses, then Germany will suffer hugely. The downgrading of some of its banks this week was a portent of that. Moreover, the undoubted mistakes in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Spain and the other debtor countries have been compounded over the past three years by errors in Europe’s creditor countries. The overwhelming focus on austerity; the succession of half-baked rescue plans; the refusal to lay out a clear path for the fiscal and banking integration that is needed for the single currency to survive: these too are reasons why the euro is so close to catastrophe. And since Germany has largely determined this response, most of the blame belongs in Berlin.

You can read the whole depressing thing here.

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