Musings —10.30.2011 12:00 AM—
In comparative terms, we’re in pretty good shape. In fact, we’re in really good shape.
The European “leadership,” meanwhile, is busily at work on blowing itself to bits. The EU has become “ungovernable,” billionaire George Siros said this week, adding that “a dynamic of disintegration” is tearing through Europe.
Early on Thursday, European leaders hammered together a deal, of sorts, to save the Union from ruin. But the 11th-hour deal addresses the symptoms of the crisis, not the root causes. Greece still has a debt level that is an extraordinary 150% of its gross domestic product (GDP).
Italy, with a far larger and far more significant economy, still has a debt-to-GDP level of nearly 120%. Places like Ireland are deeply in recession already — and there, as in Belgium and supposed super-powers like Britain and Germany, the debt-to-GDP ratio hovers at or above 80%. The exit of one or more countries from the EU now seems inevitable.
The damage done to European economies has been mainly self-inflicted. In some Euro-zone nations, their approach to pensions, retirement, taxation and public spending is the stuff of science fiction. The Union did little or nothing to address the economic cancer that has now spread throughout Europe.