->A great truth operation. This too was the Covid-19 pandemic for those who did the math. China first. But also the EU and the US, which now must quickly find a way to start again.
The crisis has affected both. But the antibodies are not the same. A comparison was made in a recent seminar at the American Studies Center with economists Carlo Cottarelli is Dominick Salvatore, the correspondent of Corriere della Sera Massimo Gaggi, Stefano Lucchini, head of institutional relations of Intesa San Paolo.
Pressed by the questions of Maria Latella, they wondered which side of the Atlantic will emerge first from the swamps of the economic crisis. The verdict is almost unanimous. The United States, proportionately, has an even more dramatic damage count, starting with those who, for the coronavirus, lost their lives. But the American economy has some more tools to restart the engines.
The measures put in place, explained Cottarelli, director of the Italian Public Accounts Observatory of the Catholic University, are not that dissimilar. “In the US there is a prevalence of measures that impact the deficit, in Europe, after the elimination of the state aid bond, more on guarantees for corporate loans.”
It is not fiscal policy, but monetary policy which traces a deep groove between the US and the EU. The Fed, Cottarelli says, has announced “in fact an unlimited quantitative easing, the ECB a 1050 billion euro package, however a very large amount”. The difference lies in the obstructionism faced by the EU. “The uncertainty that weighs on Europe and not on the US derives from the concern and reservations put forward by the countries of northern Europe with respect to the policies of the ECB, in America there is no such problem. In Germany, politics is still divided on the sentence of the German Constitutional Court, Schauble has distanced it, others have signed it. ”
For Salvatore, professor of international economics at Fordham University, we are faced with the “greatest economic crisis of the century”. If a comparison can be made, it is that of the “Great Depression of 1929”. Even the professor, however, makes a merciless tare between the instruments in the hands of the American government and those mobilized in Europe.
“The US government has already disbursed two trillion dollars, most of which is non-refundable, 20% to loans with very subsidized rates. In Europe this cannot be done, not because there is no money, but because there is no structure to do it. When the Eurozone was created, the founding fathers knew that by dint of insisting on creating a fiscal zone, the euro would not be born. So fiscal policy was sacrificed on the altar of monetary policy. ”
A deficit he complained about Jean Claude Trichetsays Salvatore, who has long been a friend of the former number one in Frankfurt: “He always said to me: when I see the US doing fiscal policy, I get nervous, Europe seems to be locked in a straitjacket.”
In the United States, however, not all that glitters is gold, recalls Massimo Gaggi, in the bookstore with an eloquent title, “Crack America. The truth about the United States crisis “(Corriere della Sera). The US social and economic system, he says, is experiencing a “deep crisis”. “Backlog accumulated in infrastructures and in the health system, once the flagship. In the developed world, average life expectancy grows, in recent years in the US it has decreased, it had only happened in the USSR. ”
Of course, the journalist also acknowledges, the American economy has levers that are lacking in Europe. “A single market in which the federal government can intervene without seeking permission from the Dutch or German on duty. And the Fed has a much wider mandate than the ECB, because beyond monetary stability it pursues the development of the economy, and introduces more liquidity into the system. ”
There is a “common denominator” between the EU and the US, explains Lucchini, which consists of “four coexisting emergencies”. The first is that of health: “It has revealed different policies on both sides, even in the US there have been important health deficiencies despite an excellent reputation for the system”. Then the economic one. Here the United States “opted for the so-called helicopter money, in Europe there is the Recovery Fund, whose funding is largely non-repayable. Italy has made a peculiar choice, that of setting up a system of state guarantees which also our bank (Intesa San Paolo, ed) is the protagonist. Finally the last two, which will have a “huge impact on the 2020 presidential elections”. The productive one, which saw the EU countries make different choices, “some have continued to produce, Italy has made another choice for most of the sectors”. And the social one which, says Lucchini, is “still in progress”. Here too, Italy has distinguished itself, but positively: “The Italians have shown unprecedented generosity and solidarity with donations”.
A spear in favor of Europe, however, must be broken, says Cottarelli. After all, the Recovery Fund launched by Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron it was a test of “leadership”. “This time, it must be recognized, Europe has moved incomparably faster and with higher amounts than in the past – says the economist – whatever you say, the Mes for health use is a revolutionary tool, and this frank initiative- German fund for recovery is not obvious. France had opposed the “Club Med” of Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece, has now moved with Germany and left the famous four frugal isolated. ”
Italy will need a lot of leadership, especially in the coming months, says Lucchini. “The G20 presidency from December 1st is a crucial moment to bring a series of requests to the center of the debate. Along with a desired extension of state aid and the purchase of government bonds by the ECB, that position can put Italy at the center of the European recovery “.
Carlo Cottarelli, summoned to Colle da Mattarella. The photos
Belloni, Cottarelli, Fitoussi and Paganetto meet at the Farnesina. Photo by Pizzi
Amato, Severino, Profumo and Patuelli at Luiss for the new book by Lucchini and Zoppini. Photo by Pizzi