“I threw a wish in the well, don’t ask me I’ll never tell.”Europe had a dream. That dream was itself. It was of an integrated continent, of a United States of Europe. How it would get there? Nobody was ready to tell the full story.
There was an underlying logic to integration — a logic that George Soros has pointed out is now broken. That logic was that Europe would use any crisis of integration to push integration further. But that process went into reverse in the fall of 2008. German chancellor Angela Merkel declared that each euro zone country was on its own when it came to bailing out its banks — driving a stake through the heart of the common currency.
“I trade my soul for a wish, pennies and dimes for a kiss.”Southern Europe has traded budget cuts and labor market reforms for money. Some of that money has come from Germany. Some of it has come from the ECB.
“I wasn’t looking for this, but now you’re in my way.”
“It’s hard to look right at you, baby.”
“You took your time with the call, I took no time with the fall, you gave me nothing at all.”
“I beg and borrow and steal.”
Sometimes even the cryptic Carly Rae Jepsen speaks plainly. This is one of those times. The line above is clearly about Greece.For years, the government lied about the size of its budget deficits — with some help from Goldman Sachs - until reality finally intruded in 2009. That’s when the begging and borrowing began in earnest.
“I didn’t know I would feel it, but it’s in my way.”
“Before you came into my life I missed you so bad.”
Matthew O’Brien is an associate editor at The Atlantic covering business and economics. He has previously written for The New Republic.