Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Come to the Cabaret, Old Chum

It's usually a problem when the Germans are unhappy:

German anger at the 750billion Euro Greek bailout is swelling as world markets slid after initial excitement at the bailout fizzled.

The headline on the front page of Germany's biggest newspaper, Bild, summed up the national mood, declaring: 'We are once again the schmucks of Europe!'
I don't speak German so I'm not sure if the Daily Mail has translated that properly. The headline appears to be the following:

Wir sind wieder mal Europas Deppen!

Just a guess -- you probably don't want to be anyone's Deppen. But the implications aren't happy for the entire European enterprise, which largely depends on Germany's willingness to go along:

Unless measures are taken to deal with the underlying structural problems affecting the most indebted of eurozone nations, then the bailout package merely kicks the can down the road,' said Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets.

In Germany, the uncertainties were having a far more immediate effect.

Hard-pressed taxpayers - led by a flailing coalition government that could be the template for one soon to be assembled in the UK - are being asked for more sacrifices to save a currency they never wanted at a time when the country has record postwar debt.

I don't think schmuck is the right word. I believe it's sucker. Anyhoo,

Britain's bill for the bailout varies between £10bill and £43billion. But there is no doubt on the continent that it is Germany that is picking up the lion's share of the tab.

Now German citizens have also been told that a tax cut is shelved for at least two years, and will probably never materialise in the life of this administration.
No soup for you, Heinrich!

Is there a lesson in all this? Well, yeah. The reason the Greeks are mendicants is that they have allowed their government workers to forget that they are civil servants. In point of fact, they are now uncivil masters and the government is scared to death of its own people. That's not a place a government should be. And you can hardly blame the Germans for their reluctance in enabling this sort of behavior. You have to wonder how much longer the Germans are going to be willing to support this Euro enterprise, especially when the Italians, Portugese and Spaniards present their expense accounts.

The larger issue is this: here in America, we already have versions of the Greek problem afoot in places like California. Meanwhile, our betters in Washington have been busily trying to build up a larger government apparatus in order to service their great plans for healthcare and whatnot. We still have time to avoid the fate of Athens. But the hour draws short.


Bike Bubba said...

I believe "schmuck", being Yiddish, already is de facto a German word. I'll go with suckers instead, especially as...."schmuck" isn't exactly a word for the cover of a newspaper, as it has a specific anatomical meaning, I believe.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

Umm, I'm not sure "suckers" is much better in that respect. ;)

Mr. D said...

I know what a schmuck is, Bubba, and it does have a specific anatomical meaning.

WBP, I take your point. We could always go with "rube," a Brad Carlson favorite!

Gino said...

you are wrong in that the govt is afraid of its people.

govt should be afraid of its people. but that is not the issue in greece (or CA).

govt has become an enterprise benefitting the cool kids in the party (the civil servants).

its not fear of the poeple that is the problem. instead, its contempt for the populace sector that isnt of the govt.

Mr. D said...

I didn't word that properly, Gino. What I meant that the government is afraid of its employees. The problem in Greece is that too many of its people are government employees.

You are 100% correct that a government should fear its people, or at a minimum understand that it only serves at the pleasure of its people.