It burdens me to agree with George Soros.
For readers unfamiliar with strangers to ethics, George Soros is a man for whom money and corruption are merely matters of daily commerce. The philosophy major turned money changer may soon turn to incarcerated felon for an insider trading conviction, which frankly is small stuff compared to when he nearly crippled the U.K. with his speculator currency trading. Later in life he claimed he would happily spend his entire $22 billion fortune to unelect an American president.
In other words, your run-of-the-mill cretin (and a one-percenter at that).
Yet his insights into economics and the effects of government are in part where he made his billions. Being of European birth and education, he also has suspicions concerning the current financial disarray in which the European Union is now drowning. With public debt growing in deadbeat nations like Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain (the PIGS if you will), the EU has launched selective bail-outs to delay the time when these nations will implode. Wealthy EU countries with sounder books (Germany being the EU paternalist) assume austerity measures will be enacted and followed in nations struggling to meet their entitlement commitments.
You know, sustainable stuff like retirement at age 50 with 100% pensions and free medical care.
Soros thinks this may be the beginning of the EU’s end, and it is on this one point we agree. In spasms of irrationality, better heeled EU countries condemned that increasing debt and inflating the EU currency was the best course of action because the alternative was to allow poorly managed countries to enter bankruptcy and drag the Euro (the EU’s currency) down with them. This is akin to learning you have cancer in your foot and deciding to treat the problem by letting it spread to the rest of your body. The EU sees the treatment more as chemotherapy, but if you have ever sat with a leukemia patient you know what those outcomes are like.
Soros got only one point right – that the EU may likely splinter, with weak countries jettisoned or even a complete dissolving of the federation. However, Soros the magician did not distract his audience enough, because his trick was revealed later when he insisted that public debt was not the problem and more public spending was the solution. His absurd assertion exposes his likely aspiration for governments to cover his bets in the market, or create yet another weakness on which he can profit as he did while nearly crashing the U.K. economy. To wit, Soros said “You can grow out of excessive debt, you cannot shrink out of excessive debt.”
And Rosie O’Donnell can grow her way out of morbid obesity.
According to some number nuts at Reason, countries like Portugal would have to grow their economies more than 13% annually to stay as indebted as they currently are. To pull their debt load down to less fatal levels (60% of GDP) they would need to grow 20% each year for a decade.
Did your paycheck grow 20% last year? Didn’t think so.
Soros’ prescription merely multiplies the number of Euros in circulation, leading to Zimbabwe-style inflation. Toward the end of institutionalized insanity in that African nation, inflation was raging at (this is not a joke) 500,000,000,000% and a loaf of bread cost peasants 10,000,000 Zimbabwean bucks. Soros’ suggestion takes the EU on the same ride, unless the source of the problem – the foot cancers – can be excised. Given the nature of government, politicians and other dysfunctional factions, such surgery is unlikely. The EU economic situation will show massive and continued unemployment and spiraling inflation, much as we experienced in the U.S. under Nixon, Ford and Carter.
Germany, best take the foot off now.