OPINION

Downside of the eurozone

I understand all the economic benefits of being a member of the eurozone: a more stable currency, and it being easier to borrow money for governments and consumers. But Greek exports are less competitive as a result. The cost of living is now higher as a result. The euro simply expedited the consumption of German consumer goods, automobiles and military hardware. Greek governments are not accustomed to living with balanced budgets and got used to borrowing more easily, at least in the short run. Now the only way to make Greek exports more competitive is to lower worker wages and benefits. Now the only ways to lower the massive deficit and government debt are to increase revenues and make deep cuts in spending, both of which are only feeding the recession. Upside of the drachma At least with the drachma, the government had the option of pumping more money into the economy, giving themselves their own bailout, instead of having to accept a bailout from the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and other eurozone members. And at interest rates that will send still more euros out of Greece and into Germany. This whole thing looks like the Germans finally got the empire they strived for in the two world wars. PETER KATES Illinois, USA