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As I sat in the offices of Soundview this morning, it took a considerable amount of time for me to craft a headline worthy of this story. Over the next several days, you’re likely to read a number of articles about the European Union’s talks to extend a bailout to the debt-ridden Republic of Ireland. I wanted to avoid all of the stereotypical, pun-filled headlines like “Erin Go Broke” and “A Debt as Big as Galway Bay.” The riddle of what happened to Ireland’s economy, once a hallmark of the success of the European Union, is troubling for global economic analysts.
The blame for the country’s current woes seems to be spread among the usual suspects when financial crises occur: politicians, bankers and a public duped by its own desires. There will no doubt be columnists in the United States who attempt to draw easy comparisons between Ireland’s woes and those that beset the U.S. during the global financial crisis that began in 2008. The Irish have never been shy about pointing the finger at “plastic Paddys” who attempt to identify with things that are unique to the Republic. This crisis is no exception.
While the negotiating team from the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund pore over Ireland’s books, I’d suggest that Americans stateside who sympathize with the plight of the Emerald Isle remember that the U.S. still isn’t entirely out of the woods. In fact, Soundview covered this notion in an issue of Soundview Executive Book Alert, one of three FREE e-newsletters available at Soundview’s Web site Summary.com. Economists J. Bradford De Long and Stephen S. Cohen examined what will happen when the U.S. loses its standing as an economic power. They caution that if the U.S. doesn’t make key shifts in its economic policy, the Bald Eagle is likely to join the Celtic Tiger on the list of endangered species.
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