Zachary Karabell: Germany’s Risky Eurozone Bailout

September 30th, 2011

The Daily Beast
By Zachary Karabell
Sept 29, 2011

Thursday morning, the German government headed by Angela Merkel voted in favor of a European bailout fund designed to aid Greece and by extension the entire euro financial system tentatively set at €440 billion ($600 billion).

That rivals in size the bailouts the United States passed at the urging of then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in the fall of 2008 and again in February 2009, Obama’s bill. Whatever the deficiencies of those bills spurring job creation, they prevented a complete implosion of the financial system whose consequences would have made the resulting recession and market plunge look inconsequential by comparison. Yet here are the Europeans led by the Germans taking significant action to stem their crisis—admittedly after multiple missteps—and those efforts are greeted with yawns and derision.

It is a significant move in a positive direction, yet it was widely ignored in the U.S. (provincialism not being at all dead in a globalized world), lampooned by the financial press and analysts as shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic (a cliché used so many times as to make the poor people who actually shuffled the chairs on the Titanic do a cliché roll in their cliché grave), and taken by the increasingly restive German public as an ominous sign that for all the money they’ve spent so far shoring up the euro and Greece, more is yet to come.

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