Failed City-State

Take your pick it’s both.

Poor

Other than “poverty, unemployment, poor infrastructure, a floundering education system, debt, the refugee crisis and crime,” and a dozen or two other things nobody wants to address right now, Berlin is a great place to live.

Jeder fünfte Berliner ist einem Zeitungsbericht zufolge arm und verfügt monatlich höchstens über 841 Euro.

Poor But Sexy, But Poor

Those were the days. Berlin used to be just (arm aber sexy) poor but sexy.

Poor

Now Berlin is poor but sexy, but poor. At least when it comes to trying to earn a living here.

The German capital pulls down the per capita income for the entire country. According to Eurostat (the European statistics office), Germany’s gross national product (with an emphasis on gross) would climb 0.2 percent if they could just find a way to factor out losers like us here in Berlin.

Poor? Yo capital is so poor it can’t afford to pay attention.

Die Hauptstadt drückt auf das Pro-Kopf-Einkommen der gesamten Bundesrepublik: Das Bruttoinlandsprodukt je Einwohner würde um 0,2 Prozent steigen, wenn man Berlin und seine Einwohner ausklammert, wie das Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (IW) auf Basis von Daten des Europäischen Statistikamtes Eurostat errechnete.

Money For Nothing

But no chicks for free.

Debt

Speaking of debt… Here’s the state of the state today, folks. If you’re not one of us, if you’re the German government, for example, you can actually make money with your debt.

The German state profited from incurring more debt in the first half of this year, a newspaper report showed on Monday.

State bonds issued with negative interest rates flushed around 1.5 billion euros ($1.68 billion) into federal coffers, as total interest spending dropped from 9.7 to seven billion, the “Bild” daily reported.

German government bonds with a maturity of up to 10 years currently carry a negative interest rate, which means investors, who would traditionally expect a return on their investment, actually pay to own them.

You Gotta Have Rules

In order for the EU to work properly, I mean. Take deficit spending (please). The infamous Maastricht “deficit criterion” from 1992 is one of my personal favorites. It’s limited to 3 (three) percent.

Rules

The euro convergence criteria (also known as the Maastricht criteria) are the criteria which European Union member states are required to meet to enter the third stage of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and adopt the euro as their currency…

2. Government budget deficit: The ratio of the annual general government deficit relative to gross domestic product (GDP) at market prices, must not exceed 3% at the end of the preceding fiscal year (based on notified measured data) and neither for any of the two subsequent years (based on the European Commission’s published forecast data). Deficits being “slightly above the limit” (previously outlined by the evaluation practice to mean deficits in the range from 3.0–3.5%[9]), will as a standard rule not be accepted, unless it can be established that either: “1) The deficit ratio has declined substantially and continuously before reaching the level close to the 3% limit” or “2) The small deficit ratio excess above the 3% limit has been caused by exceptional circumstances and has a temporary nature (i.e. expenditure one-offs triggered by a significant economic downturn, or expenditure one-offs triggered by the implementation of economic reforms with a positive mid/long-term effect)”.[5][6][10] If a state is found by the Commission to have breached the deficit criteria, they will recommend the Council of the European Union to open up a deficit-breached EDP against the state in accordance with Article 126(6), which only will be abrogated again when the state simultaneously comply with both the deficit and debt criteria.

I don’t understand everything there under item 2, of course, but apparently neither did most of the countries that signed the treaty (at least I get the 3 percent part). See the graph above about the EU’s top “deficit offenders.” It’s been going on like this for years and years, too. Any questions?

In Italien droht ein Bankenkollaps, in Spanien, Portugal und Frankreich herrscht der Schuldenstaat: Die Eurozone driftet auseinander, Regeln werden kaum noch eingehalten.

70 Percent Of Migrant Men Under 40 Suddenly Sick And Unable To Fly Home

Of the tens of thousands of migrant men in Germany to be deported from the country, that is.

Migrants

A secret report by interior ministers of all of Germany’s 16 states says tens of thousands of migrants scheduled to be flown to their homelands in the past few months are still in the country being cared for by taxpayers. The problem centres on incomplete paperwork, migrants lying about where they come from and the country’s own medical profession…

The medical scams to avoid being flown home in particular have enraged interior minister Thomas de Maziere who says: It simply cannot be the case that 70 percent of men under 40 are suddenly pronounced sick and unable to fly.

Talk About Crossing A Red Line

Somebody call the President or something.

Red Line

I’m gonna buy a mess of these. But like what will be my German Bund’s 10-year yield at -0.030 percent? I mean, will there still be any of my investment left?

“Nobody buys bunds at these yield levels thinking they are attractive. Demand for haven assets is being driven by fear of Brexit and growth concern. Investors are buying bunds as a hedge against uncertainty.”

More Gun Control Needed

In Germany.

Gun Control

The citizens of this predominantly pacifist nation still refuse to address this very grave issue (no pun intended) in any meaningful way and therefore remain the world’s third largest exporters of deadly firearms.* Again and again and again. Like, when will they ever learn?

The only nations that export more arms than the Germans are US-Amerika and Russia, much more violent and less enlightened societies that have not yet learned to make atonement for their dreadful, awful pasts like Germany has – thus making it OK for them to be the world’s third largest exporters of deadly firearms, I assume. Es ist einfach kompliziert (it’s simply complicated) over here sometimes. No, make that all the time.

Die umstrittenen Lieferungen an Saudi-Arabien haben dazu beigetragen, dass Deutschland 2015 drittgrößter Waffenexporteur war.

*And tanks. And submarines. You know. And other stuff like that?

When Black Zero Comes

I’m gonna dig myself a hole…

Black Zero

When Germans refer to a “black zero” these days they mean a balanced fiscal budget with no red ink. What a concept. If it weren’t so unthinkable (I am from US-Amerika and we’re clearly too smart for that) I would have a “quasi-religious fixation” with it, too. More power to you, Wolfgang.

In his aversion to the pursuit of full employment through fiscal policy, Mr Schäuble is an obvious heir to Eucken. This is also true of prominent German economists who, during the eurozone crisis, have ignored the effects of austerity on demand, out of a deep-seated belief that structural reforms can solve all problems.

Monsanto Not Nearly As Evil As It Was Just A Few Hours Ago

That’s because a German company is now trying to buy it (although they do appear to be choking on it at the moment). Germans are like Green with a capital G or something, you see.

Soybeans

It (Monsanto) has been characterized variously as sinister, evil and a corporate bully. Surveys rank it among the most hated companies in America. And now Bayer AG wants to buy it…

“Monsanto has been better defined by the critics than they should’ve been. We see often times a company has a terrible reputation that often is not that they’ve done something horrendously bad. They’ve just let others define them.”

Von Monstermais und Frankenfood: Die Welt hat sich verändert. Vor hundert Jahren ernteten Getreidebauern in Deutschland je Hektar kaum ein Viertel der Menge, die die Landwirte heute einfahren.

German Of The Day: Späti

Speaking of Berlin… Finally there’s something this town can do really well: The Spätkauf or “open late” corner shop.

Späti

These late night places are everywhere in Berlin and, as the article linked to here rightly points out, “The Spätkauf in Berlin is not just an opportunity to go shopping, it’s also a social center for entire neighborhoods.” Or it’s an asocial center at the very least. There are guys at my Späti who seem to spend the whole summer hanging out around there, supporting the local beer industry in the process. Hey, somebody’s got to do it.

Mensch ist man dort, wo sie zu meinem Hund „meine Sonne“ sagen: Der Spätkauf ist in Berlin nicht nur Einkaufsgelegenheit, sondern auch soziales Zentrum ganzer Nachbarschaften.

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