Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Maybe This Particular PIG Just Needs A Different Shade Of Lipstick...

It appears the EU's plan to bail out fiscal bad apple Greece has failed to assuage the markets, and not surprisingly so; giving more free money to a government that is already spending what it has and more imprudently to "stabilize" it is the equivalent of putting new siding on a house with a termite infestation, a leaky basement, and a crumbling foundation - it's a superficial improvement that might fool a few uninformed people giving the whole structure no more than a quick glance from the street but won't do jack to reassure anybody with any incentive to give it a closer inspection. Unless the Greeks slash their out-of-control spending soon, which means partially disassembling their welfare state, any bailout they get is nothing more than another cheap patch on a dam that is precariously close to breaking. Given that Greece's political class seems to have little power to impose that kind of austerity on its spoiled populace, it seems quite possible that the country really might end up defaulting, and dragging other troubled economies (Portugal has already been hit with a bond rating decrease in the wake of Greece's troubles) down the toilet with it. It wouldn't shock me if this crisis is someday looked on as the beginning of the end for the euro zone - something that seemed unthinkable not long ago but appears more likely with each shock the markets take.

On the bright side of things, at least we have a canary in the coal mine of massive government debt and unsustainable entitlement spending - whatever happens to Greece, it'll give us some idea of what awaits the U.S. once the bills for the pork-gorging Bush and Obama administrations come due. Be not too cynical and thankful for small wonders.

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