Concerns that Greece and other struggling European nations may not be able to repay their debts are focusing investor attention on another big worry: Economies across the Continent have used complex financial transactions—sometimes in secret—to hide the true size of their debts and deficits.The suggestion that we'll all be safer if the government watches the books is disintegrating in Greece and across the rest of Europe as well.
Investors long turned a blind eye to European governments' aggressive bookkeeping, aimed at meeting the euro zone's fiscal ceilings. Countries using the euro currency have a rich history of exotic maneuvers aimed at meeting rules requiring members to cap debt levels at 60% of their gross domestic product and their annual budget deficits to no more than 3%. Despite criticism, European leaders deemed many of these moves acceptable as they sought the long-planned currency union.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Lying to Each Other
Remember when everyone was freaking out over the greedy capitalist bankers using weird derivatives and other bizarre investment vehicles to hide the risk levels of the junk they were peddling? Well, dig this.