Way back in February of 2010, I wrote that a Greek bailout would be a failure. Not surprisingly, the bureaucrats at the International Monetary Fund and the political elite from other European nations ignored my advice and gave tens of billions of dollars to Greece’s corrupt politicians.
The bailout happened in part because politicians and international bureaucrats (when they’re not getting arrested for molesting hotel maids) have a compulsion to squander other people’s money. But it also should be noted that the Greek bailout was a way of indirectly bailing out the big European banks that recklessly lent money to a profligate government (as explained here).
At the risk of sounding smug, let’s look at my four predictions from February 2010 and see how I did.
1. The first prediction was that “Bailing out Greece will reward over‐spending politicians and make future fiscal crises more likely.” That certainly seems to be the case since Europe is in even worse shape, so I’ll give myself a gold star.
2. The second prediction was that “Bailing out Greece will reward greedy and short‐sighted interest groups, particularly overpaid government workers.” Given the refusal of Greek politicians to follow through with promised cuts and privatizations, largely because of domestic resistance, it seems I was right again. As such, I’ll give myself another pat on the back.
3. My third prediction was that “Bailing out Greece will encourage profligacy in Spain, Italy, and other nations.” Again, events certainly seem to confirm what I warned about last year, so let’s put this one in the win column as well.
4. Last but not least, my fourth prediction was that “Bailing out Greece is not necessary to save the euro.” Well, since everybody is now talking about two possible non‐bailout options — either a Greek default (a “restructuring” in PC terms) or a Greek return to using the drachma — and acknowledging that neither is a threat to the euro, it seems I batted 4 – 4 in my predictions.
But there’s no reward for being right. Especially when making such obvious predictions about the failure of big‐government policies. So now we’re back where we were early last year, with Greece looking for another pile of money. Here’s a brief blurb from Reuters.
The European Union is racing to draft a second bailout package for Greece to release vital loans next month and avert the risk of the euro zone country defaulting, EU officials said on Monday.
If this second bailout happens (and it probably will), then I will make four new predictions. But I don’t need to spell them out because they’ll be the same ones I made last year.
We’ve reached the lather‐rinse‐repeat stage of fiscal collapse for the welfare state.