My eurozone podcast with Russ Roberts

You will find it here, I was happy with how it turned out.

Wolfgang Münchau has a nice update:

Contrary to what is being reported, Ms Merkel is not proposing a fiscal union. She is proposing an austerity club, a stability pact on steroids. The goal is to enforce life-long austerity, with balanced budget rules enshrined in every national constitution. She also proposes automatic sanctions with a judicially administered regime of compliance. She rejects eurobonds on the grounds that they reduce pressure on fiscal discipline.

That is another absurd “solution” that has no chance of working, unless of course the critical countries simply recover on their own.  (Why does it remind me of “Don’t mistreat the Abos! (if anybody’s watching)”?  Don’t forget this:

Andrew Duff, a member of the European Parliament, last week provided a very useful guide to the distance the eurozone is from where it would have to be if it were a proper fiscal union. He drew up a list of all the changes in the European Treaties that would need to be amended to achieve that. It includes changes to 23 articles and five protocols.

And this is from MR comments, Ryan Cooper:

Thinking in the short term, obviously the solution involving the least collective misery for everyone is for Germany to bite the bullet and backstop the whole continent’s debt in one way or another. But just past the immediate crisis I don’t see any reason for optimism. If recession really does hit, how are the SPIIG crowd going to get out of the “debt -> austerity -> crap growth -> more debt (or at least not much extra money to pay down the principal) -> more austerity” cycle? It seems like a 1918-style suicide pact.

The SPIIG governments have to be weighing the costs of cutting their losses and getting out. (Right?) People seem to agree that would be another devastating financial crisis, and thinking selfishly that would be bad, but if I were Spain and it’s a choice between 2-3 years of total chaos and 20-30 years of grinding hopeless misery, I think I’d go with the first option.

Solve for the equilibrium…

Addendum: Ezra Klein offers observations from Germany; they focus on the real side of the economies!


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