Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What Are the Germans Thinking?

by Andrew Rosenthal

New York Times

January 31, 2012

It’s fashionable in Republican circles to trash everything European (right-wing Tweeters even derided the idea that the Apple store in Paris is really nice). So I’ll be interested to see how the G.O.P. reacts to the latest EU summit, where politicians renewed their commitment to the right’s favorite false god: Austerity.

As far the Times editorial board can tell – and we will have more to say about this on the editorial page tomorrow –Europe’s leaders have effectively tied the hands of the member states. The 25 of 27 countries that agreed to sign a new financial pact will be legally prohibited from combating recessions with economic stimulus – which is merely the best way to combat recessions. (They’ll have to change his tombstone to “Here Lies the Outlaw John Maynard Keynes.”) Those countries account for 20 percent of the world’s economy, and as long as they struggle, everyone on this side of the Atlantic will likely struggle, too.

As usual, Germany was the driving force behind the pact. I keep wondering why German Chancellor Angela Merkel, by all appearances a brilliant politician, thinks that shrinking economies is the right way to expand them. What makes her think that sacrifice is the key to reviving an ailing economy – despite the fact that all the evidence points the other way. Just look at Greece, Ireland, Britain, Portugal, Italy and Spain.


No comments: