Friday, July 22, 2011

Euro Peons? Maybe Not

      Not happy with the credit rating you've received from Moody's, Standard & Poor's, or Fitch?  No problem - start your own ratings agency.  That's what Europe is considering.  Or perhaps you don't like the terms and conditions of that bailout loan you've been offered by the International Monetary Fund? Why not start your own monetary fund?  French President Sarkozy said yesterday at the European Summit that he'll soon be giving details of a new European Monetary Fund.  Both ideas are "Made in Europe" solutions that ignore the U.S. and everybody else.  Now that's being ... creative.
     You can't really blame them, I suppose.  The same U.S. ratings agencies responsible for blithely endorsing tons of toxic investments that brought the world's financial system to it's knees in 2008 (and have never had to atone for their greed) are the same ones now pompously downgrading anything in sight to make up for lost time and face.  And of course the IMF was originally hatched in the U.S., is headquartered there, and - because the U.S. is the biggest source of its funds - tends to listen disproportionately to its U.S. board members (despite having a European as its figurehead).  The Euros have never openly blamed Wall Street for the financial meltdown (Gordon Brown famously did so on British soil but wouldn't over here), however there's more than a little animosity towards America in Europe these days given Tim Geitner's periodic "greater than thou" lectures.  And given the current acrimonious debt ceiling debate in the U.S., people who live in glass houses ...
     Things are just a bit more ... laid back, shall we say, in Europe.  Which raises the question, what if the EU just ignores the Excited States' angst over the PIIGS debt problems, and creates its own novel solutions, as above?  After all, the European Union was formed to counter the massive economic clout of the U.S. and Japan, and to allow Europe to compete effectively in the first place.  Why kowtow to the U.S. now?  And, wouldn't it be ironic if the umpteen nations of the Euro actually got their act together (albeit to their own relaxed standards), while the U.S. Congress fiddles its way into default?  Hmmm...I hope not.  (After all, I'm short the Euro as we speak.)

Today's Good News: Whitefish, MT, is another one of the last best places on earth.