Like Daffy Duck the time he finally upstaged Bugs by blowing himself up, Berlusconi hit a home run, but he can only do it once. He finally passed the "fiscal reform" bill-aka austerity measures. It sucks for the Italian people but they do finally get rid of their bad joke of a Prime Minister.
Maybe that's worth the misery of more austerity-hard to believe the Economist was calling for him to step down during the early Bush years and that he was a member of Rumsfeld's "Coalition of the Willing."
Evidently this is the script now for EU countries who need bailing out. You have to do two things: pass more painful austerity then fall on your sword like a bee that stings or Samson who "killed more upon his death than in life."
He agreed to step down on the premise that this was a way to restore investors' faith in Italy which is struggling under a $2.6 trillion debt burden.
"Yet Tuesday's developments could also set off months of uncertainty as the country's political establishment decides whom to name as the head of an interim government-or whether to call early elections."
"Opposition forces and recent defectors from Mr. Berlusconi's political ranks are pushing Italian President Giorgio Napolitano-the official who will manage the transition period after the premier's resignation-to form a national-unity government that can take the immediate steps needed to slash its debt pile."
Today's Wall St. Journal pg A10
As for Berlusconi's own personal motivation it seems that his move is very similar to Papandreou's of Greece who did the same thing-stepped down as his coalition approved austerity measures. Berlusconi like Papandeou realizes just how unpopular these measures are and probably sees the future as Prime Minister being mostly burned in effigy with little upside.
While no one-or very few-will miss Berlusconi, the relish with which today's WSJ editorial page took the news is a caution as being too happy about this move. Are the Italian people better off today even with him gone? One thing that makes me thing twice is this line on today's WSJ editorial page (pg. A14). The title is "Europe's Entitlement Reckoning." Subtitle: "From Greece to Italy to France, the welfare state is in crisis" WSJ gloats.
The one American industry that never slows down at least at the WSJ editorial page is revisionist history writers.
No matter how bad life gets for the 99 percent there is someone with a proposal to make it worse. Listen to Italian President Napolitano: "It's time to tell the truth to the Italians. No 1L The party is over."
Who exactly is having a party? Hardly the average Italian any more than the average American, average Greek or avearge Briton.