Dominant Social Theme: The EU just isn't working. What a mess. Who could have foreseen it?
Free-Market Analysis: One of our favorite mainstream journos, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, writes in his Telegraph blog page that the current EU monetary union is bankrupting Europe.
Good for him. More and more evidently, it's true. The question is, then, why insist on it? The facts are coming clear in countries as disparate as Spain, Greece and even Hungary. Italy's growth is obviously shrinking, he writes, and this is a direct result of Europe's absurd "austerity measures."
These austerity measures are not an after-thought, by the way, but a bedrock fundamental of the EU's approach. Evans-Pritchard refers to a letter from former top European central banker, Jean-Claude Trichet. Search the Internet for it, and you'll find Reuters explaining that back in August, "The European Central Bank demanded sweeping reforms and fiscal tightening measures from Italy."
Trichet would not, Reuters reports, allow the ECB to purchase underwater Italian bonds until the government committed to "austerity." The demand letter was published in the Corriere della Sera. The letter had been rumored but not confirmed. Reuters added the following:
In unusually clear and explicit language, Trichet and Draghi urged Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to make deep reforms including opening up public services, overhauling rules on wage bargaining and hiring and firing, and toughening deficit cuts.