If you think the U.S. is in bad $$ shape . . .

Europe is about two steps away from a complete implosion and the chaotic breakdown of the Euro scheme, but many European leaders are still way in denial. This quote in the NY Times cracked me up:

“I found it peculiar that, even though the Americans have significantly worse fundamental data than the euro zone, that they tell us what we should do,” Maria Fekter, the finance minister of Austria, said after the meeting Friday morning. “I had expected that, when he tells us how he sees the world, that he would listen to what we have to say.”
(NY Times story here, if you can get past the paywall.)

Now clearly, the U.S. is in tough shape and much needs to be done. But U.S. fundamentals are NOT worse than Europe's. On the contrary. Even our unemployment - a real curse on the present and future - is better than Europe's. (See this among other sources. Data is of July.)

America's problems are difficult - we basically have a choice between 1) kick-starting the economy with enormous spending on infrastructure, then battening down the hatches to pay for it all, or 2) weathering perhaps ten more years of pain as the system wrings itself out. Either way, we also have to deal with the fact that much of our economic and social direction are being shaped by international corporations that have ZERO interest in individual Americans' future, except as virtual serfs (aka paying customers).

But Europe's choices are: immediate bankruptcy and the breakup of the Euro, or . . .

Except there is no real "or" there, unless the EU becomes the U.S.-lite with very closely coordinated fiscal policies across all the members. I strongly suspect the Austrians aren't going to settle for that, given the reluctance to this point to simply shore up other countries' banks.

So Ms. Fekter, there's no need to take advice from the U.S.; I wouldn't from Geithner myself. But I might take a little stronger look at the mud you're in if I were you.

No comments: