Where are budget deficits in all this? Spain’s budget situation looked very good during the boom years. It is running huge deficits now, but that’s a consequence, not a cause, of the crisis: revenue has plunged, and the government has spent some money trying to alleviate unemployment.
So, whose fault is all this? Nobody’s, in one sense. In another sense, Europe’s policy elite bears the responsibility: it pushed hard for the single currency, brushing off warnings that exactly this sort of thing might happen (although, as I said, even euroskeptics never imagined it would be this bad).
Let me be honest for once. I once thought the Euro was a good idea. I once thought the European Union was a good idea, after I had attended a course on the European Union paid for by the European Union. Because the voices had convinced me that war and protectionism and insularity and narrow nationalism was bad and that the opposite of war and protectionism insularity and narrow nationalism was the European Union and that the European Union was therefore good.
What can I say? I was young, and I needed the money.
Hand me the cat o’ nine tails.