Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Eurozone Eyes Questionable Bailout Strategy

Talks in the Eurozone turn on who is going to accept the loss in a debt restructuring deal, and now architects of the plan are saying private-sector bondholders may not have to take a haircut in the event of a bailout. The news has fueled a short-term rally, but experts criticize the measure as one that will result in the same kind of catastrophe that befell Ireland when it granted banks a blanket bailout that pushed the debt onto Irish citizens and resulted in a staggering collapse of the economy. As European countries scramble to guarantee one another’s debt and lenders seek to avoid paying for bad decisions, ratings agencies are poised to downgrade the entire region. For more on this continue reading the following article from Economist’s View.

Felix Salmon:
The eurozone’s terrible mistake, by Felix Salmon: The FT is reporting today that the new fiscal rules for the EU “include a commitment not to force private sector bondholders to take losses on any future eurozone bail-outs”. If this principle really does get enshrined into some new treaty, it will be one of the most fiscally insane derelictions of statesmanship the world has seen — but it certainly helps explain the short-term rally that we saw today in Italian government debt.
Right now, the commitment is still vague...
To understand just how stupid this is, all you need to do is go back and read Michael Lewis’s Ireland article. The fateful decision in Ireland was to take the insolvent banks and give them a blanket bailout, with the banks’ creditors all getting 100 cents on the euro. That only served to put a positively evil debt burden onto the Irish people, forcing a massive austerity program and causing untold billions of euros in foregone growth, while bailing out lenders who deserved no such thing.
Are we really going to repeat — on a much larger scale — the very same mistake that Ireland made? ...

On Ireland, see: Despite Praise for Its Austerity, Ireland and Its People Are Being Battered.

This article was republished with permission from Economist's View.

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