I’m pleased to be able to bring you, in partnership with the New America Foundation, a cool interactive map of European debt levels (note that Greece is lurking behind the map legend) that helps illustrate the real diversity of situations that the different countries are facing:
Something I’d call attention to in particular is the extent to which even the countries that often get lumped together as “troubled” there’s a wide array of situations. Spain’s pre-crisis budgeting and Portugal’s pre-crisis budgeting were very different. Ireland’s debt: GDP ratio looks terrifying, even by high-debt standards. It’s also interesting to note that Slovenia and Slovakia have been absolutely on their best behavior. You sometimes hear commentary that seems to conflate the issue of indebtedness with the issue of overall prosperity. But the oft-confused “Slo” nations manage to be much poorer than even the well-behaved northern states, while still not burdening themselves with as much debt.