It seems that since the very beginning of the European debt crisis the half-life of announced bailout measures is steadily contracting. It was only on Saturday that the European Union announced funding in the amount of 100 billion euros to shore up the balance sheets of Spain's banks, crippled by non-performing real estate loans.
Consider that Spain's economy is roughly 1/14th the size of that of the US at $1.4 trillion, which puts the bailout fund at 7% of GDP. When the US undertook TARP, $450 billion was the initial figure, but only $245 billion was officially handed out - which amounted to a bailout of between 1 and 2% of GDP. In an era of where staggeringly large numbers are increasingly lost on the population, it is important to put these figures into perspective.
This is no small bailout, which is all the more reason for concern, as the market has largely discounted it already. Economists love to talk about the magic 7% yield as the point at which a government's debt has become unsustainable. Spain is not far off, sitting at 6.73%, and there is nothing to suggest that under current circumstances the 7% level will not become a reality.
At risk of sounding like a broken record, the market continues to tell the European government that their problem is a structural one and not one that can be fixed with ad hoc band-aid solutions.
We are getting to a point where single-day reprieves from market pressure are costing European tax payers $100 billion - an unsustainable path to be sure.