February 5, 2010
Southern Eurozone countries risk defaulting on debt

Greek ceremonial guard. Photo: Deutsche Welle

Today there was another reminder of just how fragile the world’s economy remains.

The budget deficits of Greece, Portugal and Spain — nations that use the Euro — exceed 8 percent of GDP and thus could impact the economic fortunes of countries far from Southern Europe.

These governments risk defaulting on their debts, as they fail to cut government spending significantly.

When countries get themselves in economic trouble, should the rest of the world bail them out?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Please be respectful and on-point. Malicious or offensive comments will be deleted, and repeat offenders will be banned.

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Comments

19 comments

#19

It’s a confusing & hard issue. My thought is that the IMF & World Bank should just go away. Those 2 entities make things worse on countries. When I get into trouble - no one bails me out. But on the other hand we r talking about whole countries.
It would depend on the issue’s & situation’s

#18

If I Over Spend and get into a Financial Hole,No One is going to Bail Me Out.

#17

NO!!! When countries get themselves in economic trouble, the rest of the world SHOULD NOT bail them out. Greece needs to learn to live WITHIN their means. They wanted Socialism? Then let them learn that the government is not the answer. The Greeks need to learn to live withing their means. Cut salaries, cut their designer cloths, night clubs and parties. Germany & France should not bail out these arrogant smart *** people.

#16

Since the ratification of the Lisbon treaty the EU is now a Federal Government. If California need a bail-uot then the US Federal Government would step in. These are member states in the EU, no longer isolated
countries. France, Germany, G.B. and the rest of the EU. You wanted to be in a position of world leader ship in the newly former EU. Well you member states need a loan, anti-up!

#15

This is the way of the world. The World Bank or the IMF bails out these countries and if they default their citizens are left holding the bag. Then these banks go after their natural resources or privatize their state programs. This has been “modus operandi”of empires for over a hundred years. I personally disagree but this is how it happens.

#14

Is the question World Focus is posing referring to countries or their governments?

#13

Other countries should not rescue those who act irresponsibly but neither should they extract maximum profits from them by taking advantage of the situation. First, those countries already pay a price to the financiers of the world (by and large U.S. and British banks and financial institutions)in higher interest rates by more than three percent. Second, they pay higher insurance fees to the insurance companies for these loans (which also are mostly owned by U.S. and British interests)by more than two percent. Third, judged by the same standards the U.S. and British deficits and debts are not significantly smaller than those of the south European countries. Yet, the loans of the latter two countries are not downgraded, they pay a lot less for interest and insurance, and their financial institutions profit by the problems of the south European countries. The interest rate the U.S. government pays to finance its debt is about a quarter of one percent on the treasury bills and less than four percent on the ten year securities. It is U.S. companies who downgraded the loans of the southern European countries but not the U.S. and British loans. Finally, by belonging to the European Union, the south European countries now in financial difficulties, are forced to buy industrial and consumer products as well as services from other European countries in much higher prices than U.S. and other non European countries’ prices that result in increasing their debt.

#12

Cultural divide. Fiscally responsible North Europe should not bale out Mediterranean Europe until those countries properly align their economies.

#11

Bailouts must be one time things in the form of loans which must be repaid and with conditions which must be met so that future bailouts are not necessary. In the final analysis, every country must be responsible and not spend beyond its’ means or pay the consequences. U.S. INCLUDED, BARAK!

#10

What is the point in being in the European Union if other countries in the Union do not help those countries that face financial difficulties?.Today it might be Greece tomorrow it may well be Germany.

#9

Well I think that is what the World Bank should be doing. Adjust poor countries interest rates and use other tools to help out these countries. As many countries that can, should pay into the world bank. and when a country needs the help, it should be them that helps out that country.

#8

No. Greece,Portugal and Spain are top heavy bureaucracies and need to modernize in todays competitive world.

#7

Close examination of the socio-political institutions of all nations reveals their laws and economic systems doom their peoples to the problems causes by fiscal irresponsiblity. The “reforms” in government adopted over the last century to forge out of aristoratic privilege a greater degree of social democracry never removed the deepest and most destructive of privileges — the privilege of landed wealth. Rather than raise revenue for public goods and services by looking to land values (which are societally-created), governments have resorted to policies of taxing those who produce goods or provide services, as well as all of the commerce and assets produced. When these tax stresses become too great in the face of intense land prices and economies falter, governments resort to deficit spending — paid for by borrowing from the central bank, which simply prints more currency or creates electronic balances for the government to spend. With a multi-nation currency, as is the EURO, there is less direct ability of the deficit-spending government to cause an increase in its currency balances out of thin air. These governments will likely try to impose higher taxes on incomes. If these taxes are truly progressive (i.e., tax away rent-derived income flows rather than incomes earned by producing goods or services), then the economy will benefit. This short-term policy approach should be accompanied by a national surtax on land values (i.e., an annual tax that roughly equals the annual rental value of all forms of land — parcels in cities and towns, natural resource laden lands, the broadcast spectrum, rights of way granted to airlines at airports, licenses for extracting fish from national waters, etc.). Sadly, little if any of these policy options is likely to be adopted because of the influence of those who have long benefited (to the detriment of the general population) by the existing system of taxation.

#6

Shape up or ship out! Let them go back to their drachmas, pesetas and escudos. It aws a mistake to bring the club med countries under the umbrella of the euro. They love all the benefits but refuse to take responsibility, Bloated bureucracies, big-time tax evasion, the rich living like kings. The blatant display of wealth is truly eye-popping. Does that answer the question?

#5

Yes, lest we “all hang separately”. But–We must impose very specific conditions on a bail out. Remember it could be US!

#4

Yes i think other countys should help pay for onther countrys debt.But not in till they pay off there own.

#3

NO, just(ly) make them tax their wealthy. US, too!

#2

No. The countries they owe money to should foreclose. The US is so deep in debt it is now a third world country, and I am learning to speak Chinese.

#1

I disagree. The vast majority of the American people got mad at the government, because of the AIG and the big banks bail out.The argument was obvious: the banks made bad decisions and the government should let them failed. For the same reason, these European countries borrowed huge sum of money, and now they are in a big mess, the should clean up their own mess. The rest of the world has no moral obligation to rescue them as they did in Haiti( which is purely natural disaster.)

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