(James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)
By Jim Saft
HUNTSVILLE, Ala., May 11 (Reuters) – Far from setting a trap for the “wolfpack,” Europe’s $1 trillion bailout package amounts to a full employment act for speculators, or should that be the reality-based community, for the foreseeable future.
Hoping to tame markets it accused of “wolfpack behavior,” the European Union on Monday unveiled a 750 billion euro package intended to avert a rolling sovereign debt crisis that has engulfed Greece and threatens to spread widely among the weaker euro zone countries.
The package can’t be blamed for being too simple: it contains loans from the International Monetary Fund, an EU emergency fund and euro zone governments, as well as an interesting undertaking by the European Central Bank to buy bonds in order to restore liquidity to supposedly poorly functioning parts of the bond market. In a move straight out of a Russian fairy tale, Spain and Italy, to name just two, are pledging money towards a package that may well be used to bail themselves out. Maybe they should have put up even more money.
Once again, those in power look at a solvency issue and pronounce gravely that is a matter of mere liquidity.
Well, it isn’t.
That move worked, at least for the time being, when the United States bailed out its banks, but the U.S. was able to create easy conditions in which its banks could earn their way out of the hole. Rather than create easy conditions, this bailout imposes tougher ones. Greece, Spain and Portugal will face even greater austerity as a result of budget cuts, austerity that will make it even tougher for them to earn their way out.