March 11, 2011
Euro Pact (The German Medicine
A side comment, the German suggestions on Euro support I think are much needed to move the Mediterranean countries forward - although what to do about Greece... Germany Sets Steep Price to Shore Up Euro Zone - NYTimes.com
But in return for this “solidarity,” the Germans say they want “solidity” on limiting benefits and accepting monitoring. Among the measures it is pressing is an agreement to raise retirement ages closer to Germany’s, where access to government pensions begins at age 67, well above the European average. Germany would also like others to stop pegging wage increases automatically to inflation. That is a necessary step if wages are to shrink in absolute terms, which some economists argue is necessary if bitter medicine to inject some competitiveness into the economies of Europe’s southern tier.
The Germans would also force private bondholders who bought the high-yielding debt of the most troubled euro-zone countries to bear part of the burden if countries defaulted or needed to restructure their debt — and not be protected by taxpayers.
Posted by The Lounsbury at March 11, 2011 09:21 AM
Filed Under: Biz - Policy & Development
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Folks working in Greek PE expect a long period of recession/stagflation. Some opportunities will be there, related to public asset sales - but they'll drip slowly as the political reality will prevent the government to proceed with the pre-requisite clean-ups, such as removing the masses of useless people on state companies payroll, except when shocks provide the necessary sense of urgency.
So, it seems the issue isn't one of raising retirement age, or reducing real wages, as much as one of... simply start working or stop paying ghost salaries on a macro-economic scale.
I'm a little surprised you'd be so naive. This is hand-waving taken to a fine art. The only country's problems it would really address would be Greece's, and their debts are going to be restructured regardless of what anyone thinks.
The real problem is here, from this same article:
Nor, critics argue, does it deal with a looming problem for Germany and the euro zone — huge private debt and shaky banks, including some German state banks. Berlin has resisted serious stress tests of its banks.
Stress tests are the absolute minimum necessary response to this crisis, which is a private debt crisis, not a public one. The stress tests in the US were at least somewhat serious, and ongoing: US banks were just recently going to be made to do further tests that would assess their performance if the economy deteriorates again from here. The ones in Europe were a bad joke, and everyone knows it.
Spain and Ireland had rock-solid gov't finances before the crisis. Ireland wound up in the pickle its in because they guaranteed the bondholders of their banks in a moment of panic shortly after Lehman went down, which has proven to be a very bad move.
This originated in the private economy and needs to be solved there. But that would make Germany deal with its own bank problem, and that's something they will resist to the bitter end.
Posted by: pantom at March 13, 2011 04:41 PM