Mounting Debt Isn’t Just Italy’s Problem

Much of the news media has been focusing on Italy, where a coalition of leftwing and rightwing populist parties has taken over the reins of government in the context of severe economic problems. Italy’s government debt amounts to about 130 percent of the country’s GDP, and the banking system holds, among other things, about one-fourth of Europe’s toxic assets. Combined with a strong anti-European Union and anti-establishment sentiment in the midst of a very weak economic recovery, all this has produced a populist government and spooked markets, politicians, and commentators around the globe.
But Europe is not the only part of

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