Five Best Monday Columns

Paul Krugman on Europe, Niall Ferguson on the future, E.J. Dionne on government, The Wall Street Journal on bailouts and Juan Williams on Obama's playbook.

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Paul Krugman in The New York Times on Spain's bailout. The liberal economist bemoans Europe's willingness to bailout the banks and not the people who really need it: The unemployed. "There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this latest bailout (although a lot depends on the details). What’s striking, however, is that even as European leaders were putting together this rescue, they were signaling strongly that they have no intention of changing the policies that have left almost a quarter of Spain’s workers — and more than half its young people — jobless." He says European elites are completely unwilling to admit that their "policies are failing the people the economy is supposed to serve."

The Wall Street Journal on Europe's bailout. The paper's editorial board is just as mad as Krugman, but not at the fact that average people aren't getting bailouts but that anyone's getting a bailout at all. "The Spanish bank rescue looks like one more exercise in twine and baling wire to cope with the consequences of its original sin of bailing out Greece. Athens couldn't be allowed to fail, we were told, because default would lead to contagion to other countries, a European recession, and perhaps to the breakup of the euro zone. Two years and three more bailouts later, Europe is in recession, and contagion has spread to Spain, and perhaps next to Italy."

Niall Ferguson in Newsweek on the future of Europe. The Harvard history professor makes a bold prediction: Europe's crisis will force it to form a kind of United States of Europe, a pact that will unite the countries into a superstate like nothing before. "My best guess is that all this brinksmanship will ultimately end with a ... United States of Euro Zone," he writes. "That would mean three things: a European banking union complete with Europe-wide deposit insurance, the recapitalization of ailing banks with funds from the new European Stability Mechanism, and some kind of scheme to convert part of national debts into euro bonds backed by the full faith and credit of the EU ...  An important step was taken in this direction over the weekend, with the announcement that 100 billion euros will be made available to bail out Spain’s ailing banks."

E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post on big government. The liberal columnist isn't afraid to say what Democrats won't: Government is the solution. "Why don't Democrats just say it? They really believe in active government and think it does good and valuable things. One of those valuable things is that government creates jobs -- yes, really -- and also the conditions under which more jobs can be created."

Juan Williams in The Hill on Obama's Truman playbook. The Fox News contributor says Obama is going beyond the usual Truman-style ramblings against a do-nothing Congress. "In a charge unprecedented in modern American presidential politics, they are accusing Republicans in Congress, working in coordination with Romney’s campaign, of not only “rooting for failure,” but of sabotaging the economy for political gain."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.