Austerity’s New Poster Child Tricks the MarketsStephen Kinsella
Graffiti in Dublin. (Cathal McNaughton / Courtesy Reuters)
The Irish have an expression, "to put on the poor mouth" -- meaning to exaggerate the severity of your circumstances in order to gain sympathy, charity, and perhaps forbearance. In the aftermath of the collapse of Ireland's construction bubble in 2007, the country did exactly that and received a package of loans from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that will last until 2014. For years, Dublin has sought to ingratiate itself to the European authorities, arguing privately that it would default on its loans absent a deal on the 64 billion euros of banking debt that past governments had run up.
At long last, Ireland is beginning to move beyond putting on the poor mouth. The country's prime minister, Enda Kenny, recently graced the cover of Time, accompanied by the headline "The Celtic Comeback," and the Financial Ti