Polly is on fine form today. Her screed arguing that Europe's best hope of saving itself is to tax the snot out of the wealthy stands as an almost canonically Polly article.
It's fairly clear what direction Polly thinks Greece should go in:
But anti-austerity was the only message. Either default on debt or repay only once solid growth makes it feasible: more austerity leads back down the death spiral vortex.Problem is, Polly, this isn't really an either-or: defaulting outright, or deferring payment of promised interest until later will be treated the same way. Once Greece has defaulted once, who'd lend them money again for the next few years? And when no more money is coming in, and the wealthy have fled the country, how is Greece going to fund its promises to the poor, the sick, the pensioners? The results of anti-austerity look awfully like the results of austerity to me.
And here comes the attack on the Eurosceptics:
David Cameron on Monday yet again wagged his finger emptily at Germany, telling it to intervene, a bizarre stance from one who shares its austerity policy. In all the years of behaving badly to its neighbours, Britain has never been so ignored or so irrelevant to the key decisions taken by its vital trading partners.In the same way that the captain of the Carpathia was irrelevant to the sinking of the Titanic, certainly Britain was irrelevant: Cameron has no power to make Germany intervene. (Mind you, it doesn't seem as if anyone else in Europe has much influence on Angela Merkel, so I'm not sure why Polly's singling out Britain.) Perhaps it would be better if Britain were lashed to the mast of the slowly but inevitably sinking S.S. Euro but it's not obvious why this would be so.
Never fear, though! Polly knows where Greece and the other heavily-overspending Eurozone countries can find their saving fiscal intervention:
Hollande proposes a £120bn redirection of EU funds to an emergency growth programme: he should throw in the CAP, too.Because all that money is just floating around, and redirecting it to various parts of the European economies would in no way affect other parts of those economies that would otherwise have been the beneficiaries...
Abolishing tax havens, co-ordinating fair tax instead of destructive competition, ending secrecy of wealth and property ownership, cutting defence overspending by France, Britain and Greece: politically hard decisions are easier if social democrats can inspire people with the value of standing together, not falling apart.I'd be really interested to see what tax havens Polly thinks the Eurozone can abolish. "Co-ordinating fair tax instead of destructive competition" sounds like "stop those bloody Irish from attracting lots of external investment which is the only thing keeping their economy from sinking without trace" and "ending secrecy of wealth and property ownership" seems like an attractive first step in the process of taxing the snot out of the wealth and property of the rich; because causing a massive trans-European liquidation of property and share assets to pay tax bills couldn't possibly make the economy worse, right?
She saves the best until last:
In wartime bonds are issued to finance a national emergency by encouraging (or, from the rich, coercing) investment in a time of crisis.In war, Polly, you have an enemy that you and your populace believe you can defeat. It's not an open-ended commitment. Until the European governments address the problem that their liabilities are growing much faster than their income, no realistic level of additional income is going to make a difference to the imbalance. I'm afraid you'll find that the people who have the money have a much clearer-eyed view than you of the kind of problem this is, and they have the option to move elsewhere if they think their governments are looking too avariciously at their money.