Brussels Dispatch: Through the looking glass


If you don’t follow what is going on in Brussels, I envy you. The FT carries an astonishing interview this week with Joaquín Almunia, the Spanish European Commissioner for Monetary Affairs. Sadly, Mr. Almunia’s job title is the nearest we get to monetarism. Here is some dirigiste ‘almunition’ with my comments added:

“I’m convinced that financial regulation will be broader [more pervasive] and stronger [more punitive]. The financial system will be more regulated [more bloated parasites living off fewer wealth creators and more coercion in instructing entrepreneurs in what way they are to create wealth - which will then be confiscated by the State anyway].

This will mean less leverage [Mr. Almunia can perhaps take a look at the Member States’ track record of carrying debt larger than their assets, with their off-balance sheet accounting practices which would be illegal for any commercial enterprise, and redirect his cant in a  more needed direction], less flexibility in the financial system [I honestly have no idea what the man is talking about – unless he is ignorant enough to believe that less responsiveness in the financial markets is a good thing], and less influence for the financial system in the aggregated results of our economy [that’s right – he wants less wealth generation in the economy to come from investment]...

Either we accept that our growth will be lower than in the past because the stimulus [obviously, he’s been reading the New York Times too much, the word he really needed was ‘contribution’] from the financial sector will be smaller, or we find more engines of growth in the non-financial side of the economy. [Oh yes, look at all these engines of growth that we never knew existed just turning over happily in the Retezat hinterland. Good old Romania]. 

Never forget, you pay his salary.

Take a look around you, at what little liberty you still possess, O free market, because this is as good as it gets.

But there is one small sector I am still prepared to invest in – the lamppost industry.  Because when the revolution hits the streets we are going to need a lot of them.  Now a Commissioner for Lamppost and Rope Provision – that would fulfil a useful need…