The U.S. of A got some great economic news this week: our national deficit is way smaller than expected (for the moment)! Hey, Europe, how are you guys doing over there? *snickers* Good? No?
Well shoot. In fact, it looks like Europe, according to the latest economic report, is not keeping up. It is doing poorly. The European economy is shrinking. France has just entered an official recession, for the first time in four years. And would you like to hear the unemployment numbers? No. I'm telling you, you wouldn't. They're not pretty. Are you sure? Fine then. Unemployment in the entire Euro zone is at 12.1%. Makes America's 7.5% not seem so bad.
It could be worse: you could have asked, "But what is the unemployment rate in Portugal?" And you would have learned it was 17.5%.
It could be worse: you could have asked, "But what is the unemployment rate in Spain?" And I would have been forced to inform you that it is a whopping 26.7%.
The only national economy worth a shit in all of Europe is that of Germany. So how much did the German economy grow in the first quarter? A shitty 0.1%. Hard to grow any less than that. That's what happens when you're trying to lift the whole fiscally irresponsible Euro zone on your stout Teutonic back. "We're not miracle workers," the Germans are grumbling, I bet ("Wir sind nicht Wundertäter!").
It's only a matter of time before the Fed stops pumping money into our economy and we deflate along with everyone else and then the demographic retirement bomb hits and we have fewer younger workers supporting the baby boomer retirees and health care costs explode and everyone's cranky and hope seems like a faraway dream and all the Europeans are laughing at us. So enjoy this brief moment of self-satisfaction while it lasts.
[NYT. Photo of the entire economic output of Spain: AP]