Germany’s Little Greece

Or little Greeces, I guess I should say. Remember all that German finger-pointing at Athens and the indignant lectures about “financial responsibility,” “saving until it hurts” and “working harder?”

Well four of Germany’s sixteen state governments are so way out of control with their money (or lack of it) that they now face the distinct possiblity of sliding into a homegrown debt crises of their own.

This is the first time that the so-called “stability council” has put on its “debt-brake,” emergency procedures created by the federal government two years ago which is aimed at forcing all state budgets to be in surplus by the year 2020.

And the losers are (who else?): Berlin. Oh yeah, and Bremen, Schleswig-Holstein and Saarland. And just to stick with Berlin, how high is this city in debt? It’s only around something like sort of 62 billion freakin’ euros (17,140 euros per resident).

And how does this way cool debt-brake work? That’s easy. If the states promise to be good in the future (2011 to 2019) they will get an additional 800 million financial support from the federal government each year. You know, just like the way they do it down in Greece. I can’t wait to hear the next lecture.

In den betroffenen Ländern wurden bereits Sparmaßnahmen ergriffen. Im Gegenzug erhalten sie von 2011 bis 2019 Finanzhilfen von insgesamt 800 Millionen Euro pro Jahr, um die Schuldenbremse einzuhalten und ihre Defizite abzubauen.

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