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    Jet propelled back home

    Jet propelled back home

    from overseas to the U.S.A.

    Good afternoon, all! I’m back from my summer at The Wall Street Journal Europe where I interned as a Bartley Fellow. I’m now in my senior year at Cornell & I will try to post here as much as I can as I search for a full-time job and wrap up school.

    I had the pleasure of watching the political circus in Washington from afar this summer. Unfortunately, that also meant I had a front row view of the European political saga, which wasn’t much different than our own on some days. Take, for instance, this post I wrote last month:

    As President Obama faces off against Republican legislators in Washington, France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy is facing a potential sovereign debt crisis of his own. Yesterday it was reported that Mr. Sarkozy penned a letter to the members of the French parliament, something that had never been done under the current French constitution, which dates to the 1950s. In it, he explained the Greek bailout, claiming that he wants to act for the greater good, while pressing MPs to clean up public spending at home. He also alluded to a possible “golden rule”: a constitutional amendment that would make budget balancing mandatory.

    The letter comes in the wake of some unpleasant news for the French President’s April 2012 re-election bid. France boasts the highest deficit, debt and primary deficit among the six AAA-rated countries in the euro zone. France’s contribution to the Greek rescue package could push the country’s debt ratio even higher. The proposed amendment is unlikely to get the 3/5 majority it needs in the French Parliament to pass. Of course, this seems more like an effort in showmanship to make the French Socialist Party look bad by forcing them to vote against austerity.

    Things to be thankful for:

    • We have only had one constitution
    • The US push for fiscal responsibility exists outside of election season. Sort of.
    • We are, broadly speaking, more fiscally autonomous than the big players in the euro-zone.
    Disconcerting similarities:
    • The itch for political theater to gain political favor.
    • An unserious approach to fiscal issues.
    • A focus on “balancing budgets” when low growth is the real issue that should be addressed.

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    Welcome back! Maybe you can give us some insight into the Euro meltdown which may finally come to a head this fall – or they will yet again find a way to kick that can.

    I am also trying to figure out if it’s the PIIGS, PFIIGS, or, when I saw Belgium included the other day, FIB PIGS.

    Kathleen McCaffrey | September 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Doug & Rosalie, good points.
    Thanks, Citygal, I believe it.
    LukeHandCool, I didn’t see any looters firsthand, but I can tell you that the Europeans like Obama far more than Americans do. (Misery loves company?)
    Only 40%?!

    Kathleen McCaffrey | September 6, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Viator, I plan on addressing that… after my upcoming French exam 🙂

    1. A focus on “balancing budgets” when low growth is the real issue that should be addressed.

    Both are important although I agree you have the priority right. But does anyone here doubt that, even if we magically had 10% annual growth and expired Bush tax cuts, the government would overspend if left to its own devices?

    2. Good luck on the exam. French will serve you well in parts of Africa as well as in Europe. Now add Spanish or Portuguese for South America, and a major Asian language, and you’ll be positioned for the unfolding century!

    Welcome back, Kathleen!

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