The Corner

Ostrich Raises Head, Doesn’t Like View

If you are living in a house of cards, it’s not a good idea to play with matches. Obvious? Not to Jim DeMint. He’s <a href="http://dailycaller.com/2010/05/06/u-s-taxpayers-are-helping-finance-greek-bailout/#ixzz0n9nKviAj ” target=”_blank”>not happy that “the International Monetary Fund board has approved a $40 billion bailout for Greece, almost one year after the Senate rejected my amendment to prohibit the IMF from using U.S. taxpayer money to bail out foreign countries.”

All one can say is that, on this occasion, the Senate got it right. Senator DeMint may not like it, but we live in an economically interdependent world. His own state — South Carolina — generated $16.5 billion in exports in 2009, not an insignificant number, but, in a reflection of the weaker global economy, 16.8 percent down on the previous year. I’ve no idea how much of that went to Greece (not much, I’d guess), but Greece’s problems are not just Greece’s, and the threat that they pose to economic recovery stretches far beyond that unfortunate country’s borders and, for that matter, the frontiers of the wretched eurozone.

The current weakness in the global economy is a clear and present danger (to borrow a phrase) to the dangerously fragile, dangerously indebted U.S. economy and to this nation’s wider strategic, political, and economic interests. For all its flaws, the IMF is the best tool we have to help countries (usually on tough terms – that’s why they are rioting in Greece, Senator) that have got themselves in the mess they have, a mess that threatens us, too. Seen in this light, crippling the IMF makes no sense – no sense at all.

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