Three big events today which will tell us a lot about the euro zone and its struggle to pull out of economic malaise despite the European Central Bank having removed break-up risk from the table.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg slammed the federal government for following the same fiscal path that has cost European governments so dearly, perhaps offering Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney hints about what policies he would like to see from them to win his endorsement as a moderate independent. Bloomberg’s seal of approval carries added weight because he is a billionaire businessman with close ties to Wall Street, a source of donations as well as a powerful force in the economy.
Austerity in the euro zone seems to be working — at least as far as the headline, dry, soulless numbers of budget balancing are concerned. Bailed out Greece and Ireland have reported substantial improvements in last year’s profligacy performance. Spain, while going in the wrong direction, at least has the satisfaction of being told it is not telling fibs.
What do Poland, the European Union’s brightest economic light, and Greece, its dimmest, have in common? Both have plans to cut their budget deficits to the Union’s prescribed 3 percent level by 2012, and both of those plans depend on a lot of ifs.