Dec 26 2011
I know it’s not right to look a gift reindeer in the mouth, but I’m really quite disappointed with my Christmas gifts. All I asked for was a smart phone and a final resolution to the European debt crisis.
My new phone is simply too smart. It took me days just to figure out how to make a phone call and days more to learn how to answer a call. For the longest time, the device would groan audibly every time a new email arrived until my four year old grandson showed me how to shut off the annoying alert. Most callers said I sounded like I was talking from the bottom of a well next to the subway tracks. I just want my simple old cell phone back.
As for Europe, maybe you should have sent Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel on an all-expense paid vacation to the Greek Isles for the next year or so, when the Wall Street Journal asked me to join other economists in grading various global figures on their policy making prowess, I rated Merkel a lowly 30 on a scale of 0 to 100. I also couldn’t resist describing her as the “wurst.” which the WSJ actually printed!.
Every time the Europeans reach a new agreement to end the crisis, the initial elation is soon followed by disappointment when financial markets figure out there really isn’t enough there.
A few weeks ago the pact pushed by Merkel and Sarkozy turned out to be little more than some pious promises to keep nations from going so deeply into debt in the future. However, it did nothing to alleviate the precarious position of a number of debtor nations and the European banks.
Just a few days before Christmas, the European Central Bank made a large amount of cheap loans available to European banks. This will help the banks and some experts believe it will go a long way towards resolving the ongoing crisis.
We’ll see. Very soon, large amounts of government bonds come due for various countries. The hope is that the banks will use these newly available funds to purchase sovereign debt. Maybe. Or will yet another program have to be rolled out to offset the fiscal austerity measures that have pushed much of Europe into recession? Europe simply keeps postponing taking the actions once and for all that are essential to averting a global financial crisis.
Anyway, Santa, is it possible for you to take back what you originally delivered and bring me what I actually asked for? If you do, I promise I’ll be a really good boy.
P.S. Don’t try to get hold of me on my smart phone. Use the land line instead.