Magazine December 20, 2010, Issue

PIIGS to the Slaughter

The Irish debt crisis portends worse to come

Checking into a roach motel often seems like a straightforward decision.

Signing up for the euro, the shiny new currency supposedly saturated in German fiscal rectitude, not only pleased Ireland’s paymasters in Brussels (the country has benefited hugely from lavish dollops of EU “structural” assistance) but offered Dublin the prospect of riches far closer to hand than the end of the traditional rainbow. The combination of EU aid (amounting in some years to as much as 3 percent of GDP), domestic frugality, shrewd supply-side reforms, and (those were the days) a timely currency devaluation had already given birth to a Celtic

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