The other day, we mentioned how strange it was that Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti had said he wanted the “spread” between Italian and German borrowing costs to fall to 287 basis points.
The general gist was fine — Monti wants Italy to borrow at levels that are closer to the core of Europe — but the specificity was strange for a leader of a country to talk about. And it really symbolized how much of a technocrat Mario Monti was. He’s not a politician. He’s a guy who’s running the country for pretty much specifically this purpose: Getting the country’s borrowing costs at a certain level.
And so Berlusconi, who is now trying to get back into politics, has a pretty great line of attack on Monti: He’s obsessed with yield spreads, and not actual economic indicators that affect people.
From Ansi.IT, here’s a Google Translated version of Berlusconi’s comments to a TV network. The translation is rough (apologies) but the gist is: This concept of a spread is a joke, what matters is all the real economic numbers that have only gotten worse in the last year:
The spread is a fraud and an invention with which he tried to destroy a majority voted on by the Italians, who ruled the country. before we had never heard of it, talk about it for only a year, and what do we care? , “he said this morning Silvio Berlusconi host of ‘Phone Call’ on Channel 5. “
“I do not mean that there have been mistakes, but Monti has followed a policy too germanocentrica. Economic indicators – he added – are all worse, is not mine to make judgments, but the data are all negative.”
The point is Mario Monti’s job was to keep Italy in the bond market, and in good standing in the Eurozone. But as a politician, this is a smart attack on the status quo, and it’s one that Monti has invited on this government by talking so publicly about “the spread.”
Note that even in Italy, it’s “Lo Spread.”
SEE ALSO: Mario Monti is no longer a hero >