What Does SPD Stand For?

Other than Social Democrat Party, I mean. Shekels, Payola and Dough?

SPD

Or is it more like Scratch, Plunder and Dinero?

When not fighting for the rights of the working class and alleviating the capitalist economic oppression of the masses, ex-vice chancellor and national chairmen of Germany’s Social Democrat Party Sigmar Gabriel enjoys doing part-time community service work serving on the supervisory board of the freakin’ Deutsche Bank.

It’s understandable. Sort of. He recognized there was a problem with Deutsche Bank years ago (he wasn’t the first, however) and now only wants to take this opportunity to help them clean things up.

“Deutsche Bank, as one of the most important financial institutions in Europe, has the opportunity and the responsibility to help shape the future of the German and European economy. I want to play a part in this.”

The Third Time’s The Charm

Or it will be. Or it could be. Maybe.

Growth

Germany’s Second Economic Miracle Is Ending – The cognoscenti of international economics are once again agape, and not in a flattering way, at the budget surpluses Germany’s government keeps running, when instead it should be stimulating the economy with tax cuts and higher spending. The surplus revealed this week for 2019, at 13.5 billion euros ($15 billion), is the fifth in a row, and the biggest ever.

Many Germans still regard such numbers as signs of economic virtue and virility, as they keep slashing public debt and reveling in high employment numbers. Alas, these positive indicators are likely to be lagging, not leading. That’s because an unusual era is drawing to an end, one that was likened by Bert Ruerup, one of Germany’s top economists, to a “second economic miracle.” (The first was West Germany’s long postwar rally).

In the past 15 years — somewhat coincidentally, the reign of Angela Merkel as chancellor — Germany turned from the “sick man of Europe” to the continent’s export powerhouse and growth engine. In the next 15 years, Germany won’t necessarily become sick again. But, as Ruerup puts it, it could simply turn economically “gray,” with meager growth indefinitely.

German Of The Day: Tiefstand

That means lowest level. You know, like the current 23-year low in German car production?

Tiefstand

German car production fell to its lowest in almost a quarter of a century as Europe’s biggest economy suffers from the fallout of a global trade war.

Automakers including Volkswagen AG, BMW AG and Daimler AG produced 4.66 million vehicles in German factories last year, the weakest since 1996. The country’s VDA car lobby, which published the figures on Monday, said the 9% decrease was a result of waning demand from international markets.

The industry is set for more tough times this year. The VDA predicted global car deliveries will drop to 78.9 million vehicles from 80.1 million in 2019.

$33 Billion And Counting

In fines. Up until now.

VW

But would it matter if Volkswagen paid another 30+ billion to German customers too? Who would trust this company anymore, whatever they paid? What did Warren Buffet say? “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.

VW to Sound Out Settlement in German Car-Owners’ Mass Lawsuit – Volkswagen AG and German consumer group VZBV agreed to settlement talks in a court case involving hundreds of thousands of drivers who claim that their diesel cars lost value in the wake of the emission-cheating scandal.

But Where Does All This CO2 Keep Coming From?

We’ve shut down practically all of our nuclear power plants already.

Plant

Of course, we had to replace them with dirty coal-firing ones but we’ll be shutting those down soon too. Unfortunately, the renewable utopia we ordained those many years ago still isn’t working yet for some odd reason nor does it look like it will anytime soon. But still. At least the energy prices German consumers have to pay keep climbing and climbing to ever ridiculously high and higher levels. Maybe we could start cutting off power in German homes and industries for a few hours every day and get the populace to stop making so much CO2 that way – and spend more time out in “nature.” It would only be for their own good. Then the rest of the world would admire us yet again for the fine example we have set and start emulating us with gratitude (we are the Big Green and Moral Superpower, after all). Then Planet Earth and Planet Germany would be rescued in no time.

Germany shuts down atomic plant as nuclear phase-out enters final stretch – The Philippsburg power station is one of the only plants still operating in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg. Germany has vowed to start decommissioning every nuclear power facility by the end of 2022.

Angela Merkel’s blunder of the decade that’s taboo in Germany (he means before her blunder in 2015).

German Of The Day: Neujahrsansprache

Or German of the year, if your prefer. That means New Year’s speech.

New Year

And it goes like this, more or less: “Changes for the better are possible.” Wow. Thanks for that, Angie but you wouldn’t have made much of a cheerleader.

When I hear somebody say “changes for the better are possible” I keep waiting for the “but” part. And you know what they say about the “but” part.  Everything before “but” is a lie.

„Veränderungen zum Guten sind möglich.”

PS: Happy New Year anyway!

German Of The Day: Rekordhöhe

That means record level. As in record level of German weapons sales.

Record

The federal government has authorized a record level of weapons exports. The number of export permits for armaments reached a new record high. Compared to the previous year, there was an increase of at least 65 percent for 2019.

Bundesregierung genehmigt Rüstungsexporte in Rekordhöhe – Die Zahl der Exportgenehmigungen für Rüstungsgüter hat einen neuen Höchststand erreicht. Im Vergleich zum Vorjahr gab es 2019 eine Steigerung von mindestens 65 Prozent.

Less Choice Is Always Germany’s First Choice

You can’t just go giving people the freedom to choose. Look at this Brexit mess, for example.

Uber

And this applies all the more when it comes to new business models in Germany. Especially if they come from US-Amerika. Then you would have Amerikanische Verhältnisse here in no time. And we certainly don’t want that. Once you start allowing customers to decide for themselves what services they prefer to use it’ll be Brexit all over again. Business Brexit. At least for the old overpriced, highly protected and monopolized business models so popular here in Germany, I mean.

Uber Hit With Fresh German Ban – After its core service was banned in 2015, Uber had begun offering rides through car-for-hire services

A regional court in Germany frustrated Uber Technologies Inc. UBER’s efforts to mount a comeback in the country, adding to regulatory pressure on the ride-hailing company, particularly in Europe.

Thursday’s ruling by a regional court in Frankfurt marks a fresh setback for the San Francisco-based transportation company, which is trying to repair its reputation among regulators after expanding rapidly and challenging local transport laws where it operated.

Among the countries that have been the most resistant to Uber is Germany, where the company had been experimenting with ways to overcome a nationwide ban imposed in 2015.

The EU Needs More Money From Germany

That’s a shocker. Gee. I wonder why?

EU

It’s not like the arrogance and hubris of EU technocrats let the second biggest contributor to their budget walk away from their, well, generous redistribution system or anything. No, not at all. It’s… What is it, anyway? Is this still the Europe you want, Germany?

The U.K. was a strong proponent of free-trade, EU enlargement and pragmatic cooperation to tackle security threats. It opposed a “fortress Europe” approach, pushing for a competitive and open economy.

Britain also became in recent years the EU’s second-biggest net funder. EU officials say the U.K.’s departure will leave an estimated €84 billion ($93 billion) hole in the bloc’s next seven-year budget.

Agreeing on the size and makeup of that €1 trillion-plus budget will be the first major post-Brexit fight. Efforts to cut the amount of money spent on the EU’s newer members in Central and Eastern Europe risk further embittering the bloc’s east-west relations, already scarred by fights over migration and democratic norms.

Tax Us More?

Don’t ask. It’s a German thing.

Taxes

Germans Agree CO2 Taxes Aren’t High Enough and Want to Pay More – Germans say they’re ready pay a higher national levy on carbon pollution after utilities and policy makers joined climate activists in rebelling against proposed below-market rates deemed insufficient to fight climate change…

Merkel said the levy was the “centerpiece” of her government’s move to get Germany back on track to cut emissions.

Now if we could only get Merkel & Co. to cut their emissions. German oddity 10: Germans have more words for taxation than Eskimos have for snow.