First Person

Why Italy is in Trouble

In 2000, I wrote in Villa Fortuna, the memoir of our life in Italy:  Our roof was not the only thing collapsing. The indefensible lira fell thirty per cent when Italy was forced to withdraw from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. The successes of the tax evaders and the failures of various governments to control wasteful public spending combined to produce a massive budget deficit and a national debt one and a quarter times the Gross Domestic Product. To finance the shortfalls, governments had kept selling more bonds, which simply increased the interest burden, and the repayments.  The wonder is…

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