The Wall Street Journal asks whether, with the EU and the euro zone falling deeper into their pit, Germany will act.
Germany, the only euro-zone nation with the economic heft to do so, has done the minimum necessary to keep vulnerable countries afloat…
they say, and
[T]he German government must decide whether saving the euro is worth putting the country’s own prosperity at risk.
But Germany has been acting, and for the most part quite appropriately—that “minimum” being too much intervention.
No one can save us from ourselves, or the Greeks from themselves. We—and the Greeks—are the only ones who can do this. Indeed, “salvation” imposed from outside can only make the inevitable conflagration that much worse. It does so, in part, by not allowing the natural forces, of a free market in this case, to clear away the dead brush as it accumulates, so that when an otherwise lesser recession succeeds in igniting that inflammable detritus in several areas, they all explode into an out of control disaster—the current EU debt crisis.
The imposed “salvation” also acts, in part, to create a moral hazard that anaesthetizes its victims against the pain of acting on one’s own obligations and suffering the consequences of choosing unwisely or unfortunately (and those of choosing wisely or fortunately) without eliminating the critical need. And this results, in the other nations “needing” the same bailout, which series threatens to bankrupt the benefactors as well as the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries of this “aid” will be bankrupted by it; have no doubt of this. The recipients of the loans being forced can never hope to repay them, and this can only cost the taxpayers of the lending nations—taxpayers who have the wherewithal explicitly because they, and their nations, have been acting responsibility.
Germany, which the rest of Europe and especially the Greeks, sees as their piggy bank, recognizes this risk, at least sub rosa, as demonstrated by their reluctance to fork over the cash. It’s time for the rest of Europe to man up, also.
As the WSJ notes,
At a conference in Brussels last week, Thomas Steffen, state secretary at the German finance ministry, responded to criticism that Germany had been too slow to help its neighbors by making reference to the fable of the ant and the grasshopper. The ant, he noted, works through the summer to store up food for the winter while the grasshopper wastes the warm months singing.
Some in the audience took the analogy as a call on southern Europe to take their fate into their own hands.
Mr. Steffen didn’t tell audience members how the fable ends: When winter comes, the starving grasshopper begs the ant for food. Rebuking the grasshopper for his idleness, the ant turns his back and crawls away.
Those in the audience took the analogy correctly—knowing the outcome of the fable. It’s time for the Greeces of the EU, in particular, take their fate into their own hands; it’s late summer, and the fall approaches.
The growth policies they need to emplace must not be the currently proposed—or forced from outside—policies of government growth through higher taxes (if with proclaimed spending cuts). Rather, the growth policies must be policies of shrinking governments, greatly reduced government spending, and greatly reduced taxes. And in the cases of some countries, actually collecting those taxes that are levied. The social practice of not paying the taxes is a social practice of stealing from one’s neighbors. If the tax is disliked so much, then the people of that polity must elect a government that will rescind that tax.