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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press WAPO Complains that Europeans are "Impatient" for Wanting an End to Bad Economic Policy

WAPO Complains that Europeans are "Impatient" for Wanting an End to Bad Economic Policy

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 07:11

A front page Washington Post article (print edition) had the headline "in impatient Europe, some see more debt as answer." It would be interesting to know on what basis the Post has determined that Europeans are impatient. Would it, for example, consider Americans impatient because they voted Jimmy Carter out of office when the economy was doing poorly in 1980 or George H.W. Bush in 1992? It is common for people to be upset by economic policies that are causing recessions and high unemployment, this might better be called "common sense" than "impatience."

The article also editorializes in the second paragraph, describing Europe as the "debt-ridden continent." It would be at least as appropriate to describe it as the unemployment-ridden continent" given the double-digit unemployment in many countries. It also questionable whether "debt-ridden" is an accurate description since in many countries the interest burden is not especially high. Arguably this is the best measure of the burden of the debt.  

Comments (4)Add Comment
When Defusing a Debt Bomb, Be Patient Until It Goes Off
written by Last Mover, April 30, 2013 8:32
Word is out the Boston Marathon terrorists became impatient and sought outside help from an unexpected source, debt fearmongers who used exploding pressure cookers as a symbol of the coming end times.
debt ridden should be external debt.
written by pete, April 30, 2013 9:43
This is what is nonsense about R&R and debt, etc. Money that we owe ourselves, as PK points out, is not debt. External debt is a different story. More so in countries which are so mismanaged that they cannot borrow in their own currencies. Example, if Greece left the Euro now, they could not issue debt in dracma...they would have to issue it in Euros or Dollars. This is the unstated dilema they face, and why their borrowing rates were so high recently. Until real wages return to prebubble levels in Southern Europe, as PK pointed out, they will be struggling. Inflation could have helped here, but Merkozy would have none of it.
Money that we owe ourselves
written by Charlie, April 30, 2013 10:51
I think it is appropriate to make a special case for treasury bonds held by the central bank, with interest paid to the US treasury. As long as the FED holds those bonds, the treasuries really are money the same "we" owes to ourselves.

That's different than the rest of the public debt, which represent an obligation from the government to a group of specific individuals - not to 'all of us'.
sorry charlie...
written by pete, May 01, 2013 10:14
If you have a checking account, you essentially are buying u.s. debt through a bank and they take a haircut. Similarly, if you have a pension or a 401 or 403 account, you probably have some bonds there too. Thus we owe ourselves, for sure.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.