Posts Tagged ‘Christine Lagarde’

So predicts John Ellis:

At the center of the storm sits German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is being told by one and all that she must take extraordinary action to save the day. But the truth is she doesn’t have the authority to do so, doesn’t have the votes, doesn’t have the political throw-weight to over-ride the judicial, legislative and political vetoes. She won’t save the day because she can’t.

So what does she do?

In the days leading up to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, then French Finance Minister (now IMF Managing Director) Chistine Lagarde told then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson that he could not allow Lehman to fail. The ramifications would be catastrophic, she said. She was mostly right.

Three years later, it will be Angela Merkel talking to President Obama,Treasury Secretary Geithner and Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke with exactly the same message. The United States government and the Federal Reserve must come to the rescue of the Eurozone or the ramifications will be catastrophic. And she will say that she needs roughly $1 trillion in financial guarantees and liquidity support. That’s the number that will calm the markets.

She will do this publicly (it will be leaked to the FT or the NYT) because (a) she wants to maximize the pressure on the US to ride to the rescue and (b) she wants the blame to fall elsewhere in the event that the “situation” goes haywire.

It’s quite a theory.  Far fetched?  I hope so.


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