Steve Green’s new post is worth linking to for the great headline alone; and for the question from economist Arnold Kling that Steve links to:
Arnold Kling drew up a list of four things he’d like to know about Europe’s financial crisis. The second item stuck out:
What does the option for inflating away European debt look like? How would the cost of that inflation be distributed? Can the inflation take place within the context of the euro, or does it require that some countries leave the euro?
Yeah, I’d like to know the answer to that one, too, especially as it might provide some kind of guidance for what might happen in this country. Remember, debtors love inflation — and there’s no bigger debtor, anywhere, ever, than the government of the United States of America.
“Inflating away European debt?” What could go wrong?
Oh, right. And what came after that wasn’t a whole lot of fun, either.
Update: “Enter Nigel Farage,” Roger Kimball writes:
Who is Nigel Farage? He is a former Conservative British politician who left the party in 1992 when John Major’s government signed on to the Maastricht Treaty, thereby selling out a large measure of British sovereignty. Mr. Farage is now leader of UKIP, the United Kingdom Independence Party, as well as a Member of the European Parliament for South East England.
I had not know about Mr. Farage until a friend sent me a link to an extraordinary speech he gave yesterday at a meeting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Partly an economic fire alarm, the deeper message of Mr. Farage’s speech concerns the way EU politicians are deliberately subverting democracy — removing, in Mr. Farage’s words, “any remaining traces of democracy form the system”—in order to keep the dream of a European superstate alive.
Looking around at the faces of his fellow ministers, he saw fear and anger: the whole European project seemed to be unraveling. Their response? Double down. Herman Van Rompuy, the Belgian one-worlder who is the first long-term President of the European Council, i.e., the EU, came to power last December asserting that the idea of national sovereignty otiose, a bad holdover from a discredited past.
The problem is, Mr. Farage pointed out, that people all over Europe are waking up and saying “we don’t want this, we don’t want [the EU] flag, we don’t want the anthem, we don’t this political class, we want the whole thing consigned to the dust bin of history.”
And the response by the EU bureaucrats who run things? Well, Ireland was told that it would be inappropriate from them to have a general election; they had to agree on a budget first. Mr. Farage had the perfect response to this effrontery: “Just who the hell do you think you people are? You are very, very dangerous people indeed. Your obsession with creating this Euro state means that you are happy to destroy democracy.”
Mr. Farage got it in one: the political crisis facing Europe may be exacerbated by the domino like collapse of the economies of the member states. But the critical issue is the future of democracy, that is the future of freedom. It is “more serious than economics,” Mr. Farage argued, “because if you rob people of their identity, if you rob them of democracy, then all they are left with is nationalism and violence. I can only hope and pray that the Euro project is destroyed by the markets before that really happens.”
Europe is very, very lucky to have politicians like Nigel Farage. (Daniel Hannan is another such.) The question is: are they too late?
That’s a question that reverberates on both sides of the Atlantic.