IMF Chief Christine Lagarde Remains Very Concerned About The Global Economic Crisis
The director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, sounds very worried, while engaging in contradictory messaging in her speech before the Brookings Institution. On the one hand, she mimics what Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke did two years ago with his talk of “green shoots.” Lagarde speaks of the U.S. economy showing glimmers of positive data, while acknowledging, in her own words, that, “Only a few months ago, we seemed to be staring into the abyss.” She urges the advanced economies to take advantage of the glimmer of “good news” to invest in growth and more bailouts for the financial sector, while also warning about the sovereign debt crisis afflicting the Eurozone.
“Clearly, the risk that looms largest is that sovereign and financial stresses return with renewed force in Europe,” Christine Lagarde told the Brookings Institution. But what solutions does the IMF have to offer? Borrow more to recapitalize banks that made the wrong bet on risky loans while simultaneously boosting government deficit spending to “stimulate growth?” Or, cutting back on government spending, thus creating a fiscal drag that leads to negative growth without reducing deficits? The IMF and its leader, just like the politicians of the advanced economies, have run out of solutions, other than meaningless cliches.