Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nouriel Roubini: $1 Trillion Won't Fix Europe

NYU professor Nouriel Roubini said in an interview on tech ticker that the $1 trillion attempt to bail out Europe will fall short, and it's not the amount of money, but the fundamentals which led to the problem in the first place which will haunt the euro-zone for years into the future.

Roubini stated that all the $1 trillion will do is kick "the can down the road," and they'll have to face a similar problem again.

He especially noted how long it took Germany to implement austerity measures to be able to compete on a global basis, taking 15 years to change the private sector so labor costs reflected the market. With the countries like Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain, that probably isn't possible, as they lack the ability to deflate their currency to make it possible.

Roubini said even if these countries had the will and started today, it'll take years for them to make it happen, and it's questionable if they have the political will or if their people won't start riots and extraordinary civil unrest is the result.

The socialist, entitlement culture of these countries has brought all of this on, and now that it's time to pay the piper, there really aren't any answers over the near- or mid-term which will solve this problem.

This is why governments around the world need to quit spending and making promises that simply aren't able to be fulfilled, or be sustainable over a long period of time.

There could be huge amounts of violence and riots as austerity is forced on these countries in order for them to survive economically, and for the member states of the EU to pay out so much money, with their own citizens in many cases already upset over having to pay for their irresponsibility.

With the probability of higher tax and lower government spending, there are no guarantees any of this will work, and if the people in the countries will be willing to take it or not.

Roubini also believes these two measures will lead to a recession and possibly deflation, which would make it even more difficult to implement austerity measures on the people.

All of this because politicians and central banks won't say no. They've created a monster, now they have to deal with it.

To create a generation of people who believe they're entitled to what they are handed out by the government is a disaster, and all of us know when people are treated that way, when you say they can't have it any more, all hell will break loose, and we've already seen glimpses of that in Greece.

This won't work like politicians think it has worked during the recession, as the amount of money and the people being affected aren't the same as those in Asia, the U.S. or the UK. These people believe they should be able to continue receiving their handouts from the government in its various forms, and they don't want to hear anything else.

The bailouts in other areas of the world bought time, and even though we really aren't sure it has bought enough time, it has some possibility of working, although there are still a lot of consequences like inflation which will have to be dealt with.

But with the length of time it'll take for the PIIGS to change their economies and entitlement culture is many years, and $1 trillion can't buy that kind of time, or even close to it.

This is what Roubini means by kicking the can down the road. There simply isn't enough money to save these nations, and already the Federal Reserve has reportedly sent a bunch of money to banks in Europe to lend out. How long will Americans put up with that once they're clued into what's happening?

In the end, these countries will fail or fall into chaos, as a generation of those receiving redistributed money and perks find out there's no one else to take money from.

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