A number of commentators are belatedly coming around to the view that bailing out Greece was useless. They are wrong. The bailouts, far from being ineffective, have been actively harmful. Greece is deeper in debt today than it was a year ago, and the losses when it defaults will now be felt, not by a small number of bankers and bondholders, but by all of us.In summing up, he returns to one of his common themes:
Why is the EU so determined to do the wrong thing? After all, Greece accounts for less than three per cent of its economy. The answer is the one that Dr Zhivago gives Gromeko when he asks, wretchedly, why the Bolsheviks had to shoot the Tsar: “It’s to show there’s no going back”. The EU depends, to a far greater degree than is usually acknowledged, on a sense of inevitability. Once people get used to the idea that you can pull out of aspects of European integration that you don’t like, the whole system might start to unravel. Thus have the suffering people of Greece been condemned to a generation of poverty and emigration in order to sustain the euro.He concludes:
Our generation thinks it extraordinary that, in ancien régime Europe, the nobility had exemption from taxes. How, we ask ourselves, could a system have been designed in which the fiscal burden fell only on the poor? Yet we have now come up with precisely the same racket, as European bankers and bondholders shuffle off their liabilities on to the taxpayer.The mind boggles. Where are the Lefties when you need them.