“I am sure the Euro will oblige us to introduce a new set of economic policy instruments. It is politically impossible to propose that now. But some day there will be a crisis and new instruments will be created.”
- Romano Prodi, EU Commission President, December 2001
Prodi and the other leaders who forged the euro knew what they were doing. They knew a crisis would develop, as Milton Friedman and many others had predicted. They accepted that as the price of European unity. But now the payment is coming due, and it is far larger than they probably thought.
This week we turn our eyes first to Europe and then the US, and ask about the possibility of a yet another credit crisis along the lines of late 2008. I then outline a few steps you might want to consider now rather than waiting until the middle of a crisis. It is possible we can avoid one but, as I admit, whether we do (and the extent of such a crisis) depends on the political leaders of the developed world (the US, Europe, and Japan) making the difficult choices and doing what is necessary. And in either case, there are some areas of investing you clearly want to avoid. Finally, I turn to that watering-hole favorite, the weather, and offer you a window into the coming seasons. Can we catch a break here? There is a lot to cover, so we will jump right in.