German Of The Day: Graf Draghila

That means Count Draghila.


You know, as in Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank President?

Mass-selling German newspaper Bild on Friday accused European Central Bank President Mario Draghi of “sucking dry” the bank accounts of Germany’s savers, a day after the ECB cut interest rates deeper into negative territory.

Next to a photomontage of Draghi with fangs and dressed as a vampire, Bild’s headline read: “Count Draghila is sucking our accounts dry.”

Hoping to kick-start economic activity nearly a decade after the euro zone’s debt crisis, the ECB on Thursday cut interest rates deeper into negative territory and promised bond purchases with no end-date to push borrowing costs even lower.

“The horror for German savers goes on and on.”

I’ll Bash Germany With The Best Of Them

But… How is it that its critics blame Germany for the high unemployment, declining living standards, and riots to their South?


If this were a football game, the referee should call unnecessary roughness for piling on Germany. The American Left led by Paul Krugman (The Harm Germany Does and Those Depressing Germans) excoriates Germany for forcing austerity on the rest of Europe. The U.S. Treasury and others (no newcomer to spending) demands that miserly Germany spend more to pull the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) out of their economic doldrums…

I interpret the liberals’ German bashing as having an entirely different motivation – their inherent dislike of economic success… In the liberal mind set, success must be equally shared. If one person, company, or country is better off, it must be at the expense of those who are less well off. We need to even things out in their zero-sum world.

PS: And I’m going to go even further out on the limb tonight defending Germany by predicting that they will finally – after 19 encounters? –  beat Italy.

A Scrooge Issue?

Or is it more of a squanderer one?


I don’t know what troubles me more here; a Germany that spends too little for Christmas or the weakest European economies that spend too much.

With almost 28 percent unemployment and a lingering recession that’s wiped out one-fourth of their country’s economic output, it makes sense that Greek consumers plan to trim their Christmas spending by 12.8 percent this year. What’s more surprising is that the average Greek budget for holiday gifts, food, and drink is €451 ($608)—more than the €399 average in Germany, the country that has borne much of the cost of a Greek bailout.

Residents of Ireland, another bailed-out economy, plan to outspend the Germans more than two to one this Christmas, with an average €894 budget. In Spain, where unemployment is at 26 percent, consumers expect to spend an average €567. In recession-hobbled Italy, meanwhile, the figure is €477.

“Differences between countries’ spending habits are linked to the culture of the countries.”

The Worst Is Over

Or something.


For much of the financial crisis that started in 2007, Germany remained strong and held the envy of modern economies around the world.

In 2010, the industrious country known for its fiscal discipline had GDP growth of 4.2%, followed by respectable 3% GDP growth in 2011.

Unfortunately, for Germans and the world, there are increasing signs the German economy is being marred by the global crisis. In 2012, GDP growth was a meager 0.7%. More significantly, GDP actually contracted by 0.5% in the fourth quarter.

Währung – Deutschland: Devisen: Euro gibt nach – IWF prognostiziert auch für 2013 Rezession im Euroraum

Euro Crisis Is Over Or Something

So have a Happy New Year already.

Germany’s finance minister says the worst of euro area’s debt crisis appears to be over after three years of worries over Greece and other members of the group of 17 European Union countries that use the single currency.


Austerity in action.

Berlin’s mantra about spending cuts in the eurozone is bringing unemployment and spreading hopelessness across Europe.

So take your pick, it’s both.

“I think we have the worst behind us.”


You Can’t Even Count On German Hypochondria Anymore

One can only muster up just so much angst, I guess. Even if you’re a German. There’s just never going to be enough of it to go around to make everybody happy. I mean unhappy.

That’s right. Current German Angstzustände (states of anxiety) just ain’t what they used to be. German angst being the complex, ever-changing and unstable condition that it is, a new Forsa study has indicated that, for the moment at least, Germans are actually more frightened of the ongoing European debt crisis than they are of the worries they make about their own health, or lack of it.

How it could come to this unexpected result is very puzzling for many, myself included, but one researcher has come up with a startling new theory that might explain this sudden and eerie angst turnaround. He believes that the permanent media reports about sicknesses and health risks stir up people’s worries and fears (duh), but with all the media attention being focused on the debt crisis these days, common disease mongering has simply been coming up too short on the angst Skala (scale).

Boy I sure hope that they finally get this Eurpean debt crisis crap over with soon so we can get back to business.

“Es scheint, als ob permanente Medienberichte über Krankheiten und Gesundheitsrisiken auch die Ängste der Menschen schüren.”

Nothing New And Nothing Improved

That tired old SPD.

With three tired old SPD guys trying to decide which one of them will have to be the one tired old SPD guy who will have to be the contender in next year’s election against the ridiculously popular Angela Merkel.

So like one of them, former Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück, threw his hat into the ring yesterday, sort of.

His angle? Eat the banks. Split their investment and retail units and have them create their own rescue fund and make them be good and nice again like they used to be in the past (I guess) als die Welt noch in Ordnung war (when the world was still in order).

Been there, done that. Yawn already. Bring out the next stooge and let’s get him over with, too.

“Banks are service providers and not betting shops.”

Buy Our Debt, Please

Angela Merkel just finished up another quick and dirty visit to China, this time to calm the Chinese down about the euro zone debt crisis and, well, to grovel for money. Neither aim was achieved just yet. But hey, you’ve got to be really patient with the Chinese, I’m told.

“The trip has a lot of ambitions: one, is to explain the euro zone debt crisis to the Chinese and two, convince the Chinese to keep supporting the euro zone and buying the bonds from some of the euro zone countries such as Italy and Spain and also Germany.”

And just in case you were wondering, no. She did not find the time to express German concern for human rights violations in China during this visit.

As Europe’s crisis persists, China increasingly sees Germany—its largest European trading partner—as a vital player in pulling the continent out of its slump, analysts say. Mr. Wen said his talks with Ms. Merkel Thursday have made him “more confident” in Europe’s ability to resolve the crisis.

The Symptoms Of The Times

Withdrawal, I am told, can refer to any sort of separation, but is most commonly used to describe the group of symptoms that occurs upon the abrupt discontinuation/separation or a decrease in dosage of the intake of medications and recreational drugs.

In order to experience the symptoms of withdrawal, one must have first developed a physical/mental dependence (often referred to as chemical dependency).

„Notenbankfinanzierung kann süchtig machen.“

German Austerity Still Quite A Rarity

Despite all the talk to the contrarity.

The German government didn’t reach even half of its planned savings in the federal budget in 2011. Only 42 percent of the spending cuts named by Merkel’s coalition government, comprised of the conservative Christian Democrats and the business-friendly Free Democratic Party, were actually not implemented…

The government is also falling behind on its targets for this year. Of the originally planned €19.1 billion in savings, less than half has been implemented…

This lapse (in reaching savings targets) is particularly embarrassing for the German government because the news comes just after 25 European Union member states agreed in early March to an international fiscal pact obliging them to adhere to greater fiscal discipline…

The aim of the pact is to make EU countries maintain binding austerity measures that leaders hope will contain the debt crisis and prevent countries like Greece from being able to pile up massive debts again.

And countries like Germany will show them how to do it, see? Next year, maybe. Or the year after that. Hard to say for sure.

 “It (the pact) is a milestone in the history of the European Union.”