There appears to be a widespread assumption (see this week’s Economist) that all would be well in the eurozone if only Angela Merkel would just step up and do the right thing. The right thing is defined as agreeing to co-guarantee joint eurozone bonds and to allow the ECB to make unlimited credit available to eurozone governments and their banks. Her refusal to do so is attributed to German stubbornness and selfishness.
Frankly, it is pointless to attempt to discuss the eurozone crisis in moral terms. Morality is irrelevant under such circumstances. All is fair in financial crises.
Let us accept the promise that it is in Germany’s interest to rescue Europe. Let’s not debate that, we’ll just take it as a premise. Germany agrees to sign up to lend its credit to the entire eurozone, and the Bundesbank allows the ECB to buy the bonds of troubled governments.
First, let’s look at the eurobond piece. While it is possible that an announcement such as this would reopen the debt markets to allow the PIIGS to to issue their own debt, that is quite doubtful. The bond market is not charitable. Therefore, the future source of credit for troubled eurozone governments will be eurobonds, co-signed by Germany, forever.