(By Ed Pawelec) SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!!
You're probably going to think I am nuts, but I kind of like watching monster trucks on TV.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars spent building 12 foot tall, gaudy, heavy machinery whose sole purpose is to hurtle 30 feet in the air and attempt to land without ending up a pile of crumpled metal.
I have never been to monster truck rally, but I have thought about it... the ads are so compelling. A deep and urgent announcer's voice loud and echoing, "Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! See the top contenders face off in a winner take all battle..." You get the idea, and probably have heard one of the commercials if you live in the States.
But this Sunday's monster rally isn't in a dirt floored arena. Nor will it feature 110 decibel engine revving or exhaust fumes. No, this Sunday's monster rally will occur at the polling places in France, but it should be exciting, and it could leave the European Monetary Union in a crumpled heap by Monday morning.
SEE THE TOP CONTENDERS FACE OFF IN A WINNER TAKE ALL BATTLE!
Introducing the contenders in this weekend's battle royale (with cheese): Sitting President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy (about 46% of the crowd cheers) and challenger Francois Hollande (a more vocal 55% of the crowd roars).
The cheering crowd represents the rough breakdown of how French voters are likely to cast their ballots on Sunday, and that could quickly throw a wrench in the "fiscal pact" (read German-driven blanket austerity) that the stability of the Eurozone is relying on.
Sarkozy and his comrade in cost cutting, Angela Merkel, have fought tooth and nail over the last year to craft the outline of a fiscal pact that will help all the debt-strapped European nations ease their burdens... eventually. Their fiscal pact has created a modicum of confidence that is keeping European markets from falling off a cliff.
Should Sarkozy win by some long shot, the belief of progress on the sovereign debt crisis will be reinforced and should be mostly positive for global markets, at least until June when French parliamentary elections will be held.
The problem that the markets will be contending with come Monday, however, is just how far left likely winner Hollande will go.
The Morning After
Hollande is the socialist candidate, and has vowed to tweak the agreed upon austerity measures in an effort to build growth. In some ways he is correct: The original pact was long on austerity measures and short on growth efforts. This 'cut spending at all costs' attitude has pushed Spain back into recession, Greece further into depression, and even France and Germany are seeing manufacturing weakness.