Fresh on the heels of a banking crisis in Italy and a “surprise” budget blowout in Spain earlier today, a group of eight countries seek a change in the way the EU calculates deficits.

The countries, including Spain and Italy, want more time to meet Eurozone budget deficit requirements.

Bloomberg reports Italy Leads Eight-Nation Push for EU to Change Budget Analysis

Italy, Spain and six other euro-area nations want the European Commission to change its methods for analyzing budgets so that countries can spend more in a downturn.

Finance ministers from the eight countries said the EU should rethink how it calculates the “output gap” — the difference between a country’s actual and potential economic growth — which helps determine how much of a country’s budget deficit is considered structural and subject to euro-area limits. At the moment, nations commonly calculate the gap over four years, while the EU uses a two-year horizon.

The nations called on the EU to eliminate the differences and also consider “more substantial doubts” about the budget methodology.

The European Commission acknowledged receipt of the letter, signed by finance ministers from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Latvia and Lithuania and first reported earlier Thursday by Spanish media. The EU’s next round of budget recommendations are due in May.

My, How Time Flies!

In a related article please see Spain Wildly Off Budget Target, Expect Alarm Bells and Warnings.

The reason for Spain’s miss: A huge runup in government spending as prime minister Mariano Rajoy attempted to buy votes. Rajoy’s performance in the election would have been far worse had he met the budget target he agreed to.

How many years have gone buy since the recession ended in 2009? One year? Two years? four years?

The number seems to be very difficult to calculate. Perhaps time doesn’t fly after all.

Then again, since these countries perpetually need more time, perhaps eight years fly by in an amazingly fast two years. In such setups, which we are purportedly in right now, countries logically need four times as much time to meet budget constraints as compared to times when time flies by more slowly.

I believe a musical tribute can help us sort things out.

While pondering philosophical questions about time, here’s a bonus question to consider: Did someone forget to ask France to sign that document?

Mike “Mish” Shedlock