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Hullabaloo


Monday, April 16, 2012

 
"This is, not to mince words, insane"

by digby

Following up on my post below about the danger of a lame duck deficit deal, here's Krugman from this morning:


Just a few months ago I was feeling some hope about Europe. You may recall that late last fall Europe appeared to be on the verge of financial meltdown; but the European Central Bank, Europe’s counterpart to the Fed, came to the Continent’s rescue. It offered Europe’s banks open-ended credit lines as long as they put up the bonds of European governments as collateral; this directly supported the banks and indirectly supported the governments, and put an end to the panic.

The question then was whether this brave and effective action would be the start of a broader rethink, whether European leaders would use the breathing space the bank had created to reconsider the policies that brought matters to a head in the first place.

But they didn’t. Instead, they doubled down on their failed policies and ideas. And it’s getting harder and harder to believe that anything will get them to change course.

Consider the state of affairs in Spain, which is now the epicenter of the crisis. Never mind talk of recession; Spain is in full-on depression, with the overall unemployment rate at 23.6 percent, comparable to America at the depths of the Great Depression, and the youth unemployment rate over 50 percent. This can’t go on — and the realization that it can’t go on is what is sending Spanish borrowing costs ever higher.

In a way, it doesn’t really matter how Spain got to this point — but for what it’s worth, the Spanish story bears no resemblance to the morality tales so popular among European officials, especially in Germany. Spain wasn’t fiscally profligate — on the eve of the crisis it had low debt and a budget surplus. Unfortunately, it also had an enormous housing bubble, a bubble made possible in large part by huge loans from German banks to their Spanish counterparts. When the bubble burst, the Spanish economy was left high and dry; Spain’s fiscal problems are a consequence of its depression, not its cause.

Nonetheless, the prescription coming from Berlin and Frankfurt is, you guessed it, even more fiscal austerity.

This is, not to mince words, just insane.


Well, it's only insane if you don't know that you'll survive with your millions intact no matter what happens. Like Krugman, I just keep going back to this guy:

"Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate .… It will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people."


Obviously a fair number of elites believe this is true today. On both sides of the Atlantic. Here, we call it "shared sacrifice." There, they call it austerity. It all amounts to the same thing: a prescription for average citizens to accept a lower standard of living and a less secure life in order that the "producers" continue to reap huge profits.

Lloyd Blankfein wasn't joking when he said he was doing God's Work. What they fail to make clear is that they are calling for human sacrifices.

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