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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

E.U. Bailout Fund: The IMF of Europe?

One of the benefits of being in a federation—as distinct from an international organization—is that states in fiscal trouble can benefit from redistribution through a federal center. In other words, federalism provides a safety buffer that is lacking at the international level. E.U. finance ministers agreed on March 30, 2012 to create a permanent bailout fund for states that have adopted the euro. The New York Times reports that questions persisted “about whether the fund, even at about $1 trillion, will be sufficient to deal with crises” in large states like Spain and Italy, which are comparable to Illinois and California in the U.S. Mudding the water, the Times incorrectly refers to the bailout fund as the E.U.’s IMF: “(T)he “bailout mechanism . . .  is meant to be a European equivalent of the I.M.F.” However, the term “bailout fund” itself comes from the TARP, which was not the U.S.’s IMF.

The complete essay is at Essays on Two Federal Empires, available in print and as an ebook at Amazon.