May 21, 2010 – Why the Euro Crisis Could Go On for Five Years

(SPECIAL 'MARGIN CALL' ISSUE)

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3) Why the Euro Crisis Could Go On for Five Years. You often hear the expression that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. The dromedary that the European Central Bank has is spitting mean and ill tempered. Europe does not have one guy like Ben Bernanke who can take bold, imaginative action in an emergency and has the powers to enforce them. Even the ECB's mission is diluted when compared to Federal Reserve. While the Fed's is charged with maintaining economic growth while keeping inflation under control, the ECB is only interested in the latter. While Bernanke can call all the major bankers into a room over a weekend and announce a bailout on Monday morning, ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet is limited to making a few feeble, non-credible statements, leaving the EC's 27 members pointing fingers at each other. The problem for us is that European disarray is no doubt shaving economic growth points off of America's. That is what the stock market has been telling us all week. In Cambodia, they used to tell us newbie war correspondents to never stand next to a dummy, because the enemy may aim at him but hit you. While we have already survived the weeding out of our subprime banks, our cousins across the pond have only just started culling their subprime countries. Although a large part of the demise of the euro is already in the price, the headline risk is going to remain for a long time.

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