The president of Germany’s powerful Bundesbank has firmly rebuffed international demands for decisive intervention in the bond markets by the European Central Bank to combat the eurozone debt crisis, warning that such steps would add to instability by violating European law. Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann told the Financial Times that only politicians could resolve the crisis, and he rejected the idea of using the ECB as “lender of last resort” to governments.
We’ve seen this movie before. Higher rates after a severe debt-deflation recession are burdensome, perhaps economically fatal. Hiding behind the excuse that we must fight inflation NOW requires a grand dismissal of economic history. There are times to impose austerity and don the hawkish posture, but there are times when that’s exactly wrong. This is one of those times, particularly for Europe.