An alternative to popular faith

Greece is criticized for secretly borrowing. The fault is not with Greece. The fault is with the euro.

The European Union wants Greece to cut its debt, either by raising taxes, reducing expenditures or both. If Greece does any of the above, it will dive into a depression and pull the other members down with it.

The current situation exposes the fundamental flaw with the euro: It is a gold standard in fancy clothes. Like the gold standard, the euro precludes any member nation from controlling its own finances. The solution to a recession, and indeed, the requirement for economic growth, is government deficit spending. Yet no member of the European Union has the unlimited power to do this. They are restricted by the covenants of the Union.

The grouping of countries under the euro banner is akin to a gold standard, whereby every country is required to peg its currency to a value over which it has no control.

The gold standard failed, and always must fail, because it prevents countries from taking the necessary steps toward economic growth. A growing economy requires a growing supply of money, and deficit spending is the system by which a government increases its money supply.

In 2005, noted economist Professor Randall Wray invited me to speak at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. In this speech I said, “Because of the Euro, no European nation can control its own money supply. The Euro is the worst economic idea since the recession-era, Smoot-Hawley Tariff. The economies of European nations are doomed by the Euro.”

The Euro will fail, just as the gold standard failed, and for the same reason. To attain the modest convenience of easier intra-European trade, the European countries surrendered control over their individual financial destinies. Only a total merger of national governments — a United States of Europe — could make the euro viable.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell