Sieff provides a neat argument that, despite having some serious problems, the EU has instead supplanted the US in having a (warranted) sense of optimism about the future:
Merkel, Sarkozy, Cameron and the leaders of the European Commission in Brussels certainly face very long odds. And they encounter disbelief from the dominant force in the global economic system, the established opinion shapers and policymakers centered in Washington and New York. These latter-day nattering nabobs of negativism adamantly disbelieve that the great European experiment — a reinvention toward a post-sovereignty construct between states — is even remotely possible.The important takeaway is this: virtually all Eurozone economies have begun processes of fiscal consolidation that Americans--like deer caught in the headlights of subprime globalization which they set into motion--have singularly failed to do:
But the arrogant negativism towards the EU that has been so long expressed from so many circles in Washington and New York generated an entirely false sense of security on the home front — so much so that it has now produced an unanticipated blowback. Republicans and Democrats across the United States are now deadlocked in unending confrontation about their own financial affairs and future.
By contrast, for all the strains that Greece is inflicting on the euro, the political and moral will of the leaders of Germany, France and Britain to preserve the economic stability and financial viability of their respective national economies is not in doubt. All of them have imposed on their own national economies sweeping cuts that neither Republicans nor Democrats have dared to contemplate in the United States. The governments of Spain and Ireland have shown equal determination and courage [my emphasis].I'd only like to add that the humongous US federal deficit isn't all there is to worry about. Far from it. To accurately describe the incredibly bankrupt nature of the American jokeonomy, you have to add in its states which are uniformly hemorrhaging cash. After all, California's size guarantees that its woes would overshadow those of puny Greece.
No such luck with the U.S. federal government. Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama so far have failed entirely to do that. Such confidence has never been lower in the 150 years since the secession of the Confederate Southern states and the start of the U.S. Civil War.
How is it that the euro is at $1.40 despite all this loose talk about its end? People know Europeans will protect their currency even if doing so requires...certain sacrifices, but Americans will debase theirs to no end. The contemporary American jokeonomy is built on lies nobody believes (alike "strong dollar" policy) and cheap kludges (alike the Fed's never-ending helicopter dropping). At the end of the day, the market makes a vote of confidence on who is and who is not to be trusted.