Monday, March 08, 2010

ANOTHER harsh piece at the WSJ on Spain's dire economic situation:
Before waxing ecstatic over Greece's ability to flog some bonds, remember this: Greece is a sideshow. Spain is the main event.

Its economy, the euro zone's fourth largest, is five times the size of Greece's, and almost twice the size of those of other financially struggling countries — Greece, Ireland and Portugal — combined.

So it matters that Spain's socialist prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, seems to be an admirer of Charles Dickens's Mr. Micawber. Ask him what he plans to do about his country's 11.4% fiscal deficit, and he first promises to extend his country's retirement age, and then says he won't. He promises a public-sector wage freeze, but his Finance Minister, Elena Salgado, says he really doesn't mean it. But somehow he will cut the deficit to 3% by 2013. "We have a plan," says Spain's deputy prime minister, Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega. To most observers, that plan seems to be Mr. Micawber's: "something will turn up."
Read the rest.