Monday, October 24, 2011

The end of "Europe" (the European Union) continues

This Reuters video, Greek haircut of 50-60 percent that doesn't allow embedding as of this writing, report Jurgen Tritten, head of the German Green Party, saying that Angela Merkel's government has calculated that to put Greece at a point where their debt is manageable, they would have to take a "haircut" (reduction of principal) of 50-60%.

This again emphasizes the bizarre nature of the current situation in the eurozone. It's no secret to the decision-makers there that the Greek debt has to be written down substantially. This Reuters report says that unspecified lenders have agreed to a 21% writedown. But it's not nearly enough.

Meanwhile, the EU continues to insist that Greece and other eurozone countries with debt issues impose more and more drastic austerity policies that empoverish their own people, make their debt problems more severe and discredit the EU and (at least in Greece) representative democracy. And a real failure of representative democracy is what's happening in Greece, where the government refuses to defend its own people against the obviously destructive EU demands that won't solve the problem in any case.

This is the English version of a Deutsche Welle report on the Occupy Wall Street movement in Germany, titled a bit sensationally "Occupy Wall Street" - Smash the System YouTube date 10/24/2011:

This is the German version, "Occupy Wall Street" - Aufstand gegen die Finanzindustrie YouTube date 10/24/2011:

The English narration ends with a comment about OWS raising a problem of loss of confidence in "politics"; the German version says "die Politik", which in the context of the video I would probably have translated as "the existing political establishment".

Because the comments from the major parties are pretty clueless.

It shows the current Finance Minister, Woflgang Schäuble of Merkel's Christian Democratic Party (CDU), says that the government has to be more assertive and show that they are not just being driven by the markets. If I didn't know that Schäuble was a conservative prick and if his Party wasn't the leading force in Germany in the austerity disaster in the eurozone, I might be a tiny bit impressed by it. There has been some reporting that that Schäuble is pushing for more realistic approaches to the crisis than Merkel will accept. Actually, what he really says here is that the governing party needs better PR: the classic what-we-have-here-is-a-problem-of-communication empty comment. Merkel herself is shown calling for patience.

Christian Lindner of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), the junior partner in Merkel's coalition government and the "right" in "center-right government" in articles about Germany, sounds about like Ron "Papa Doc" Paul talking about the need for clear and fair rules for everybody. I guess in his eyes, German plutocrats are as nervous and lacking in Confidence as their American counterparts.

The spokesperson from the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD), Carsten Schneider, basically just says, heck, we don't know what to do.

Gregor Gysi, head of the Left Party, which is the successor party to the former East Germany Communist Party, sounds a bit more aggressive, demanding that those who caused the crisis should pay for it. But the report shows that the Left Party's support is dropping in the polls, which is a little surprising in this depression. On the other hand, Gysi is the living embodiment of the stereotype of a party bureacrat. He was even the leader of the party, then called the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), right after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Plus, in recent years Berlin experienced a municipal coalition of the SPD and the Left, which pretty much governed through austerity measures. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the Left Party isn't benefitting much politically from the economic crisis right now.

For some reason, they didn't include a statement from the Greens. The narrator's comment that banks have "lost the support of the German political establishment" is a real head-slapper. What is she talking about? The problem still is that the EU leaders, especially Merkel and her close partner, France's Nicolas Sarkozy, are too deferential to the banks. Their gerbel-wheel race to do the same thing over and over again - provide more money to the indebted governments only to discover its not enough because of the devastation their auterity policies are imposing - is about shifting as much of the risk as possible from big banks bad investment and poor risk management on eurozone sovereign debt and transferring it to the European taxpayers.

That, and they are just too fixated on Herbert Hoover economics to focus on doing what needs to be done.

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