Global Gloom & Doom; European Union Leads the World toward Economic Stagnation

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Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Human-rights activists risking their lives to bring democracy to authoritarian countries found themselves snubbed Friday. The Nobel Committee somehow decided the European Union was more deserving of the Peace Prize.

That must come as a bit of a shock to the man on the street in Athens, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris or Rome where economic circumstances are anything but peaceful. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts the region will remain in recession for the year as the continent's economic slowdown drags on.

The rest of the world isn't going to fare much better, according to the IMF's latest World Economic Outlook report. The global economy is expected to grow at about 2 percent in 2013, which is sharply down from 4 percent last year. Even the meager 2 percent is likely to prove optimistic since much of this growth is expected to happen in the United States, where the situation isn't improving. Japan will likely remain mired in stagnation as it struggles to deal with public debt hitting almost 250 percent of gross domestic product - worse even than the 180 percent burden of Greece.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are supposed to be the new economic powerhouses, but they're also sliding. China is headed for a drop in growth to under 8 percent from annual highs of beyond 10 percent in recent years. India is also expected to perform worse with 5 percent growth that's substantially below robust figures it's enjoyed of late. The IMF projected worldwide fiscal deficits would land at just under 6 percent, with any reductions coming primarily from increasing taxes, not cutting spending. …