Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Eu Rules Get Bum Rush

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Eu Rules Get Bum Rush

Article excerpt

An editorial from

Bloomberg View

Rules are there to be broken - and that's official. Spain and Portugal have escaped punishment for breaking the European Union's budget-deficit limits.

In the EU, such lapses without consequences are not exactly uncommon. In the case of the budget rules, that's a good thing, because the rules are widely acknowledged to be no good. But here's a radical thought: Bad rules that nobody has any intention of enforcing would be better scrapped.

The debt-and-deficits rules, part of the 1997 Maastricht Treaty, were designed to assure Germany and other fiscally conservative euro-zone members that less disciplined governments wouldn't get a free ride. They've failed - and in two distinct ways. Too much wasteful spending remains a problem in many countries. The pressure to cut, such as it was, has fallen too heavily on public investment. …

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