Greece’s latest bailout has been approved by the European Union members : some €123bn. (Japan’s NHK TV put President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, and Italian prime minister, Mario Monti, in the outfits of the classic Nintendo video game Super Mario brothers*). The target is to reduce Greece’s debt to 120% of GDP by 2020. (Yikes). Count among the skeptics Germany, the Netherlands and Finland – given that derailments in Greece’s adherence to austerity measures have happened several times now.
So Greece’s finances are in terrible shape, but the whole of Eastern Europe, and the I’s : Italy, Ireland and Iceland, have have debt ratings of ‘speculative’ according to Standard & Poor’s.
*Pop quiz : what is Mario’s younger brother’s name? Answer – Luigi.
As a footnote, public debt in the USA at the end of 2011 was some $15 trillion, close to 100% of GDP. The Congressional Budget Office is worried about it, and during June 2011, called for ‘large and rapid policy changes to put the nation on a sustainable fiscal course’.