Our Debt Still Doesn’t Stink

German government debt keeps climbing relentlessly higher and reached an all-time high during the first three months of this year. The federal, state and local governments then reached a debt to the tune of 2 trillion euros.

That was 2.1 percent or 42.3 billion euros higher (deeper?) than  in the previous year’s quarter, reported the Federal Office of Statistics in Wiesbaden on Monday.

Now if only Greece and Co. could learn to control their government spending like the Germans do. Oh, wait. They already have. Or do. Or whatever.

Deutschlands Staatsschulden auf Rekordhoch gestiegen

I Need Your Clothes, Your Boots And Your Motorcycle

Is it termination time yet? For the booming German economy, I mean?

The Spiegel says: German manufacturing activity has hit a three-year low and export orders have also seen a big drop. This data suggests that the crisis is starting to hit the previously robust German economy.

Hasta la vista, baby? Maybe.

Heretics Verboten!

Europe Doesn’t Need the Euro? Another religious tract to study on Sundays.

All of this is kind of like religion, don’t you think? First you’ve got some prophets who come out of the wilderness (the political class preaching the virtues of the euro, come hell or high water), then what they say gets labeled as heresy by the faithful (by the “man on the street” who wants to keep his deutschmark), then the euro faith overcomes this persecution, establishes itself as the true universal teaching and becomes orthodoxy. Then the next voice out of the wilderness comes along and the game starts all over again, etcetera and so forth already.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t beleive that Thilo Sarrazin is a full-fledged prophet or anything (I just think he wants to make a buck, I mean euro). But he’s not a full-fledged heretic, either. And that’s something the euro high priests could never admit to.

The euro, in Sarrazin’s view, is just the old German deutschmark extended to a lot of countries with less robust currencies.

Germany, in other words, is being used as a guarantor of other countries’ debts.

“The German political class bet that the political union would follow shortly thereafter almost as a matter of natural law, because without that the common currency wouldn’t be stable. That bet has failed.”

Germans are hostage to their sense of not wanting to be responsible for Europe’s failure.

Germans are hostage to their sense of historical guilt.

“Pro-euro Germans are driven by that very German reflex, that we can only finally atone for the Holocaust and World War II when we have put all our interests and money into European hands.”

“Angela Merkel to like the friendly woman on the navigation system in my car.”

The Great European Divide

There’s Germany, it seems. And then there’s (practically) everybody else in Europe.

The Economist notes: The hope is that Germany, which produces over a quarter of euro-zone output, can pull along the rest. But the worry is that the latest bout of euro sickness may sap confidence even in Germany, aborting a broader recovery.

With unemployment at 6% compared with a 15-year high of 11% across the euro zone and over 20% in Spain and Greece, Germans feel less pressure to save in case they lose their jobs. And a more confident Germany helps everyone by spending more on imports. German inflation at 2.2% is now below average.

German resilience reflects several strengths. Although growth in the first quarter was helped by exports, the usual mainstay, it has increasingly been backed by domestic demand, which accounted for three-quarters of GDP growth in 2011. This reorientation has happened because Germany avoided the debt excesses (? hmmm, relatively speaking perhaps, but I’ve seen some other numbers here), both private and public, that inhibit growth elsewhere. With relatively low debt, German households and firms can borrow more. What is more, they can do it at rock-bottom rates. Paradoxically, Germany is benefiting from the euro crisis, as investors seek a haven. Yields on ten-year German government bonds have fallen below 1.5%.

Paradoxically, Germany is benefiting from the euro crisis, as investors seek a haven. Yields on ten-year German government bonds have fallen below 1.5%.

And yet, after having read all these impressive figures up there, there’s another German paradox I keep running into here all the time: Germans on the street aren’t nearly as confident as this article wants to imply, at least not when it comes to the euro and the euro-zone. How else do you explain the fact that nearly every second German now thinks that the introduction of the euro was a big honking mistake in the first place?

Die Euro-Einführung war ein Fehler, glauben knapp die Hälfte der Deutschen.

Thanks But No Thanks

Undank ist der Welten Lohn (nothing is so hard as man’s ingratitude).

What were you expecting, Germany? The Greeks have politely but firmly said no to a recent offer made by 160 German tax collectors who were ready, willing and able to fly down to Greece and help their Greek tax collector buddies gather Greek taxes in a more efficient and Teutonic-like manner.

The Greeks may be broke, but they’re not crazy. Not even Germans can stand German tax collectors

Als Begründung müssen die “hart arbeitenden griechischen Beamten” herhalten.

Those No Good Greek Tax Evaders!

Greece’s finance ministry has named 4,152 individuals as major tax dodgers that owe the state a combined 14.9 billion euros in unpaid back taxes as part of a campaign to name and shame tax evaders.

And Germany is empört (indignant), as usual. The interesting thing about the list though are some of the Greek names, I find.  These are names like Grundmann, Hutter und Elstner. They almost sound like, I dunno, like German names. But that can’t be. Germans don’t evade taxes, right? Not unless they live in Greece, they don’t.

Einige der Namen klingen für hiesige Ohren seltsam vertraut: Namen wie Grundmann, Hutter und Elstner. Schulden Deutsche den Griechen Geld?

And The Downbeat Goes On

Yeah, Angie Merkel has a New Year’s hangover, too.

The German chancellor warns us, I mean you, that the year ahead will “undoubtedly” be harder than 2011.

Yeah, prost Neujahr to you, too, lady.

Some 22 percent of the (German poll) respondents expect the region to abandon the euro and return to national currencies while 90 percent said in response to a separate question that other euro member states would join Greece, Portugal and Ireland in needing aid.

Colonization From Outer Space Denied

Although the Obama administration has taken the time and effort to officially announce that the US government currently has no credible evidence backing up the claim that aliens have secretly colonized our planet, other sources point to a secret economic colonization of Europe now taking place by Germans, like currently already, as we speak so to speak.

These sources say: What we are witnessing is the economic colonisation of Europe by stealth by the Germans.

Once, it would have taken an invading military force to topple the leadership of a European nation. Today, it can be done through sheer economic pressure: it might be that within a few days the Germans — along with their French allies — will have secured regime change in the two most tiresome countries in the eurozone (Greece and Italy).

Perhaps the Germans, as the new masters of Europe, have been lulled into a false sense of security by Ireland’s response to the savage austerity measures imposed upon it in return for its bailout.

But there’s more: “Opinion polls now indicate more than 50% of the American people believe there is an alien-like German presence secretly taking over Europe and more than 80% believe the government is not telling the truth about this phenomenon. The people have a right to know. The people can handle the truth.”

So stay tuned or something.