Daily Archives: February 4, 2017

Clueless in Europe

Schaeuble’s intemperate language illustrates a mindset that is blocking debate of European policy priorities and the economic myths that sustain them. The groupthink was evident as early as 2008, when the financial crisis rendered banks on both sides of the Atlantic desperately in need of capital and short-term loans. Joaquin Almunia, the European commissioner for monetary affairs, portrayed it as a U.S. problem, saying, “We are well-prepared to weather this situation.” Jean-Claude Juncker, who headed the group of euro-area finance ministers, was more belligerent: “We have to be concerned, but a lot less than the Americans, on whom the deficiencies against which we have warned repeatedly are taking bitter revenge.”

The European thinking proved disastrously wrong. In generously restrained words, Bernanke points out that U.S. gross domestic product is 8.9 percent above its pre-crisis level, while euro-area GDP remains 0.8 percent below. He could have added that Schaeuble also warned that the Fed would stoke runaway inflation. The Fed’s preferred measure of inflation remains below its target. The central bank recognized that the real danger was deflation.

via Clueless in Europe – Bloomberg View

The IMF Should Get Out of Greece

The International Monetary Fund’s involvement in Greece has been an unmitigated disaster: Time and again, its failure to heed crucial lessons has visited suffering upon the Greek people. When the fund’s directors meet on Monday, they should agree to forgive the country’s debts and get out.

The IMF should never have gotten into Greece in the first place. As late as March 2010, with concerns about the Greek government’s ability to pay its debts roiling markets, Europe’s leaders wanted the IMF to stay away.

via The IMF Should Get Out of Greece – Bloomberg View