John Mauldin, outspoken author of "The Little Book of Bull's Eye Investing" has one message for Germany and the European Central Bank: "If you want to keep the Union together we're going to have to have inflation."
The goal isn't to spend forever; just long enough to get through the Spain's elections in three years. Yes, Spain. In Mauldin's mind the departure of Greece, now officially dubbed "the Grexit," is a foregone conclusion.
"Greece will leave; they have no choice," he states, adding that the cost of the Grexit isn't unknowable, but the solution is.
The ECB will simply have to do whatever it takes, even if that means printing "trillions and trillions and trillions of Euro." Of course such actions will lead to inflation but there are few, if any, alternatives. Besides which the Euro is more concept than currency at this point; legitimacy of the paper will only come through time and battle.
A right-leaning patriot, Mauldin thinks America ought to be cheering for ECB printing. It strengthens the dollar, which is already on a historic rise, and it's not our currency they're destroying; it's theirs (EUR=). It's not a reckless view but one borne of pragmatism.
More than 2/3 of European voters have said no to austerity already. The current path makes destruction of the entire EU a certainty. "Something else" is the solution.
The goal of printing Euros to buy Mariano Rajoy and his Popular Party time to "get it together in Spain." The Popular Party was swept into power last November, symbolizing an angry reaction to greater than 20% unemployment rate there. With Greece gone and the French seemingly giving up on austerity by ousting Sarkozy, the PP could be the first of the new breed to actually hold serve in the latest European economic crisis.
Until the Union survives a major crisis with an orderly shift of power it'll remain just an idea; and a bad idea at that. Printing money may not be the solution but it can forestall the collapse, continuing to fight inflation is tantamount to immediate suicide.
"If the ECB comes up and says 'we're not printing' then short everything over there," says Mauldin conclusively. Shorting may be the best trade regardless, but at least the payoff can be delayed.
- Politics & Government