Europe's struggle is U.S. gain

Commentary: 'bailouts, lifeboats and hot stoves'

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Last Sunday night, Europe threw a trillion bucks at its bank and bond runs. The euro recovered to $1.30 from the $1.25 pit that triggered the "Flash Crash" here (for context, $1.50 last Christmas), and Club Med bond prices shot up, as did stocks here in a short-covering panic as big as the crash.

The market consensus: Europe might not have changed any fundamentals, but it had bought time. A lot of people learned in the winter of ’08-’09 that it’s silly to fight a motivated central bank that has a printing press on its side.

The consensus lasted clear to Wednesday. "Wait a minute …" popped into heads worldwide. The $1 trillion was mostly loan guarantees issued by governments already over-indebted and in terminal deficit.