A Useful Chart—Deficits in the European Periphery

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--IrelandEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010GreecePortugalSpain

3 Comments
Posted November 30, 2010 at 6:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

What the chart does not show—and should—is that the United States has a worse deficit-to-GDP ratio than any of those countries except Ireland.

US purse-string have been controlled by social-democrats (for that is what the current version of the Democrat Party most surely is) for the last four years, during which time deficit-to-GDP has worsened by an order of magnitude.

What we are seeing is the inevitable collapse of the social-democrat endeavor around the world. Its core premise was never sustainable and never could be, though it was well-masked for decades behind a facade of borrowing.

The welfare state as envisioned by social-democrats has always been a Ponzi scheme, but those gigs inevitable collapse. Just ask Bernie Mae-Off [with your money].

By contrast, capitalism is not a philosophy—it is the natural outgrowth of FREEDOM.

Freedom tends to open society, socialism tends to close it. In fact, socialism tends to enslave most people, or at least enserf them. The capitalism arising from freedom feeds people. In socialism they starve.

The “poor” in America today are vastly better off than a least 95% of the population a century ago. Yet they—and the petty tyrants who exploit them—whinge on continually about how bad they have it. As Alinsky said “rub raw the sores of discontent.”

The real issue hidden in those charts is this: the socialist and the “social-democrat” do not really expect to live under a socialist system. They expect to run it. It is the means by which the intellectual with no productive means of support can become the enslaver, thereby enabled to live most comfortably off the efforts of others.

What these charts demonstrate is that the would-be nouveau technocrat nobility ... can’t pull it off. They never could, but in the process of cleaning up after their failed attempts at perpetual power and comfort we all have a couple of rough decades ahead of us.

They deserve to be treated like the Ceauşescus, but we are more decent than that. At least as long as they voluntarily get out of the way an willingly go into self-exile in someplace like Zimbabwe, or Berkeley, where they’ll not only feel comfortable, but will be left alone as long as they never attempt this nonsense again.

November 30, 9:02 am | [comment link]
2. Dan Ennis wrote:

#1.  Welfare state vs. capitalism?  Ireland was the most free-market-friendly EU country for the past two decades.  Recall all those news stories about the “Celtic Tiger?”  How Ireland had shed all kinds of onerous government restrictions on investment and trade?  Ireland was the poster-child for how an EU country could massively de-regulate its financial sector, wink at industry refusals to self-police, and attract billions in foreign investment.  The Cato Institute, Morgan Stanley, Chase Bank, Microsoft…they all loved Ireland’s combination of low corporate taxes and low wages.

To point to Ireland as an example of the doomed social-democracy ignores the facts.  Ireland is choking on bad bank debt—banks that were expected to act honorably (and sensibly) in the face of a decade-long capitalist free-for-all during which the government decided that regulations would threaten growth.  Ireland was an example of capitalism at its best….until it stopped working.

Is Ireland troubled by having to ratchet up unemployment and health care payments as a result of the recession?  Sure.  But look at the GDP-to-debt ratio:  It exploded when Ireland started to bail out banks, when the freedom-loving capitalists realized they’d played their hand for too long. 

So an national experiment in full-on capitalism fails, and the answer is to blame the country’s (now overburdened) social safety net?  That’s like blaming the sinking on the Titanic on the cost of equipping all those lifeboats.

November 30, 10:43 am | [comment link]
3. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

More to the point, Dan, Ireland’s economic freedom was overwhelmed but the same debt bubble and cultural narrative—“you can have it all”—that has swept across economies from China to America, from Hungary to Ireland, and from India to Argentina.

In a truly free and open economy, of which precious few remain, foolish borrowers and foolish lenders alike are swept from the scene. Governments in Ireland, or America, do not attempt to salvage failed banks ... or failed, over-unionised auto producers.

Bail-outs of any sort are not capitalism; they are the socialist subsidisation of failure.

Do you not understand that much of the most devastating socialist welfare of the last 40 years or so has been corporate welfare? Farmer welfare? Arts welfare? Sports welfare?

In America less than 25 cents of each “anti-poverty” dollar actually gets anywhere near a poor person. When there are proposals to cut such programs those who scream the loudest are the $47,000 per year bureaucrats hired to administer them.

The welfare state is not an issue of caring for “the least and the lost,” as those unfortunates are merely pawns and a putative justification for cushy little administrative empires.

Except in local details Ireland is little different from the others. Do you honestly believe that higher taxes and greater regulation would have changed one thing in Ireland?

Again, the chief beneficiaries of the welfare state are the politicians who demagogue it and the bureaucrats who administer it. That’s what has to change, and that’s what’s gonna change, because it is quite simply unsustainable—in China, in Ireland, in Greece, or in California.

If something cannot continue, it eventually will not continue, and the primary pertinent question is that of what shall be the path between Point B and Point C.

November 30, 11:54 am | [comment link]
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