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Bailouts: the next step up?

Charles Wyplosz @VoxEU

21 February 2009

Some European governments are contemplating bailouts of other European governments. This column argues that violating the Eurozone’s no-bailout clause this soon would be a mistake. Much as it was necessary to let Lehman Brothers go down before bailing out the remaining banks, it may be necessary to let a profligate government default and ask for IMF assistance.

A few months ago, we were anxiously discussing whether governments should bail out banks. They did. And then they went into the business of bailing out car companies, just as central banks – a branch of government – started to lend directly or indirectly to the private sector. And now we start discussing whether governments should bail out… governments within the euro area.

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