E. German Bailout: $2 Trillion. How Much for All Europe, Germans Ask
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  • Germans are asking a good question — what is Germany’s responsibility to bailout Greece (and then Spain, Portugal, and Italy)…?

  • Maybe, just maybe, ALL Europeans need to demand of their governments the self-representation their constitutions promise. If any of the euro nations had any guts – if any of their citizens really wanted to fix, rather than complain about, the problems created by the euro and their own governments, they’d DEMAND new elections ON THE EURO ITSELF. Not ONE country allowed to vote on it accepted it. Time to vote again, put in place governments that trust the governed who elected them in the first place, and do what the people want. The problem, of course, is that Europeans, coddled as children since 1945 – never defending themselves, retiring at ridiculously young ages to go okay, letting their parents & grandparents die in a mild heatwave rather than come home from the beach (expecting someone else – GOVERNMENT – to nanny them out of any inconvenience), etc. Europeans are 3-4 generations of children & it’s time to grow up. If their governments collapse from not enough revenue from no kids & early retirements – well, that’s what the kiddies demanded. They made their beds – time to go lie in them. Why the Germans should prop-up others’ economies is beyond me. Why the IMF (USA) should prop-up ANY of them is completely unknown. Chronologically Europeans are adults. Time for them to act like it & take responsibility.

  • Gene

    Who, exactly, are these “observers” who are baffled by Germany’s position? And what kind of fantasy planet do they live on?

  • Kenny

    The Germans “suspect that no matter how much they give Greece, and Portugal, and Spain, and Italy — they will continue to be attacked as ‘stingy’ and ‘selfish’ and much of the money will end up stolen or lost.”


    What else is their left to say? One more thing, actually. It centers on one of the hidden reasons to keep the euro afloat.

    As Irwin Stelzer writes in ‘The Weekly Standard’ (May 28):

    “The end of the euro, of course, would mean an increase in joblessness — among the bureaucrats who by the thousands inhabit the best flats and restaurants of Brussels and earn salaries and benefits that are the envy of national politicians. The Eurocrats contend even now that they need and inflation-busting increase in their budget, financed if necessary by higher taxes on the residents of European Union ..”

    Now you know the full story behind the fight to save the Euro — naked self-interest by the over feed Eurocrats.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    Germany needs to withdraw from the Euro.

  • Corlyss

    Whatever the Germans are willing to pay for their hegemony, it won’t be enough without giving the ECB permission to print money and create inflation which terrifies Germans. And even then, it won’t be enough.

  • Jim.

    I am confused by your evocation of the “pay the piper” saying. With the Greeks doing the dancing and the French calling the tune, what proverbial obligation do the Germans have to “pay the piper”? This won’t even get rid of any rats; it will simply institutionalize them in place.

    Is there a third proverb or alternative story you refer to?

  • The E. Germans in effect lived under Socialism the entire time any of them could remember in 1989. lt apparently snuffed out the individual entreprenural spirit in them as the story seems to indicate. The better ones go west. History shows that spirit is not a given. The U. S. has been a thrust toward a new template in the world. We are now embarked on a govt. centric path exemplified by Julia. lf we continue we will go full circle and arrive back at the tyrranny that has always been representative of the east. The demographics of the U. S. are also changing. lf the country lives for an extended period of time under socialism there is nothing to suggest we will be any different than the E. Germans. The Shining City on the Hill may well flicker out and die. The American experiment a blip on the timeline of history. We cannot allow the tyrants that end.

  • Robert

    One big reason the old DDR Länder remain poor and underemployed is the mindset most of the population still lives with.

    If you grew up under communism, odds are good that you’re bent forever. In essence, if you reach the age of 15 or 20 (it’s not exact) while living in a communist system, you’ll never fully adapt to a free-market individual-based system.

    This means that time simply has to roll onward long enough for demography to replace the old Ossies.

  • Eurydice

    I thought Germany was united now. I can’t imagine that West Germany thought it was going to pour money into East Germany so it could stand alone as some kind of economic clone. As with any country, some regions do better than others and that’s the situation now with the eastern part of Germany. And sure, Germany spent a couple of trillion on infrastructure, but there were jobs associated with that spending – plus, they got 16 million new consumers who needed to buy everything from soup to nuts.

    Another cost of unification may have been Germany’s very entry into the EU. There was an article in Der Spiegel a couple of years ago that summarized the contents of some private documents – Mitterand’s condition for the approval of German unification was that Germany commit to European unity. This has been confirmed by many of those participating at the time. Without this impetus, Germany may not have joined the Euro, or maybe joined later, or maybe the Euro would have been constructed in a different way, or maybe the French wouldn’t have had such political sway – who knows? But political decisions cost money, even if the bill doesn’t come due for 20 years.

    I guess my point here is that everything’s connected and to try to isolate events from history and equate Germany’s motivations with East Germany to those with regard to Greece is really just a simplistic political narrative for current political consumption.

  • Kent

    Your claim that Greece is better disposed to rebound than east Germany was ignores three huge factors. First, much of east Germany’s slow rebound owes to the 1:1 currency replacement coupled with full extension of west German social benefits, which addicted a huge slice of older east Germans to western dole. Second, Greece has for generations been the most over-regulated, state-dominated economy in democratic Europe. Third, the demographics of Greece and east Germany are depressingly similar. For more color on Greece, may I recommend

  • Without a doubt, the conclusions about East Germany in Mead’s post are quite true. I spent year as an exchange student near Dresden in Saxony in 1993 and then returned there in 2009 and was amazed by the transformation. Everything was made new and looked great, but I noticed that every place felt a bit emptier than before, especially outside the major tourist draws of Leipzig and Dresden. Older housing was being carefully demolished, elementary schools in the villages were either shutting down or consolidating. The population seemed increasingly geriatric, as the youth seem to have migrated West. I write about my observations at length on my blog here:


  • thibaud

    If a Greek exit would be disastrous for Europe, and if continued Greek sovereignty and membership in the eurozone would squander trillions from Germany, then the only viable solution is the one that the American states opted for in 1787: greater integration, with a central bank that has real power and that can issue debt which the Germans and everyone else will honor.

    The only way out for Europe now is to become more unified, which means to give Germany and the ECB much more power than they have now.

    Time for the Germans to step up, and for the rest of the Europeans to bow to the obvious fact that Germany is the powerhouse of Europe and must be given corresponding political clout.

  • Eurydice

    @thibaud #13 – In a way, Germany’s clout helped cause this problem. It’s insistance on an economic environment that was appopropriate only to Germany encouraged the spending spree. And in the end, economic unity has reduced Germany’s clout, not increased it – because now Germany doesn’t have the option of saying no to anything. It’s like being the president of the shipping line on board a sinking cruise ship – he can give as many orders as he likes, but he’s still going down.

  • thibaud

    Eurydice – You’re assuming there will not be any changes to Europe’s structure or the ECB’s charter. I think the force of events will cause significant changes to occur on both counts. Europe will either be much more cohesive and integrated, or it will wither and decline.

    I know the europhobes here wish for the latter – which, ironically, would significantly harm the US – but it seems more and more likely that European elites will realize that a German-centered, tightly integrated European economy is best for everyone, in Europe as well as outside Europe.

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