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Happy Tenth Birthday to the Euro, Europe's "Convenient Scapegoat"
We remember when the euro was launched, ten years ago. We smirked and snickered here in America as it sank lower and lower against the dollar, thinking of all the bargains we'd snatch up in Rome, Paris, and Frankfurt, which we'd parade through like royalty while tossing our cherished greenbacks to the little people.
What a difference ten years makes. Even amid the global financial crisis, the euro remains a secure and stable currency, trading strongly against the dollar and increasingly becoming the currency of choice for international transactions. An interesting item from msnbc points out that the 1999 introduction of the euro provided an excuse for the various European governments to get their financial houses in order to meet the eurozone's strict requirements. All of a sudden, leaders were able to muster the support necessary to pay down government debt and overhaul national budgets without having to pay a price in political capital. As Professor Randall Filer puts it, the euro became a "convenient scapegoat" for politicians to use while putting in place austere economic reforms.
What started out as a non-cash currency for just eleven nations is now the sole currency for sixteen nations, with more on the way. To celebrate the euro's birthday, head down to your local European bar or pub and order up a five euro cocktail. We'd join you, but all we have are these worthless dollars.