$1.5 Trillion?

There must be a better word than “stimulus” for that.

Stimulus

Wherever medication is given in huge and sudden doses, there’s a risk of unpleasant side effects. In Germany, and Europe generally, one of these may be a lasting shift in governing philosophy from market-friendly policies to state interventionism. That needn’t end in central planning. But even going part of the way would mean buying relief today at the price of misery tomorrow…

First, governments tend to confuse a company’s size with strength. Second, they’re usually worse than private investors at spotting winners, and always worse at pulling money out of losers. Third, they turn the economy into a big lobbying competition for businesses, which eventually hurts taxpayers and consumers.

Germany To Subsidize Tesla

In a bold move to help the ailing German automobile industry, the German government will be spending billions of euros on subsidies for electric cars most likely manufactured by the American electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc. (Germans don’t do electric cars).

Tesla

Germany raised the incentives to buy electric cars and cut the sales tax on more fuel-efficient internal combustion engines (ICE), but increased taxes on gas guzzling SUVs and sports cars which will hit the profits of the big auto makers.

Wumms“ für Tesla und Nel. Geldregen für Wasserstoff und E-Auto – Daimler und Co stehen im Regen.

Austria Doing Germany’s Job Again

Frugality? Refusing to pay other countries’ debts? That was “old Germany.”

Austria

Now the Germans need a country like Austria to take care of the problem for them – just like the Austrians took care of Merkel’s migrant madness by closing their borders way back when.

‘Frugal four’ nations counter Franco-German EU initiative – Four EU countries have teamed up, rejecting Macron and Merkel’s persistent lobbying for a €500 billion rescue fund. Instead, they have their own scheme on how to save Europe from economic fallout amid the pandemic…

The four countries also indicated that they will neither agree to a mutualization of debt nor an increase in the EU budget. Their draft proposal was seen by the German Press Agency (DPA) on Saturday.

“Our objective is to provide temporary, dedicated funding through the EU budgetû and to offer favorable loans to those who have been most severely affected by the crisis.”

I Got Your Quantitative Easing For You Right Here, Pal

Imagine that. A nation state (member state) ought to have a say in how its money is spent. What a radical new concept.

Court

Germany’s top court has ruled that the European Central Bank’s mass bond-buying to stabilise the eurozone partly violates the German constitution.

The ruling relates to government debt worth €2.1 trillion (£2tn; $2.3tn) bought by the ECB since 2015, but not purchases in the coronavirus crisis.

The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe says there is not enough German political oversight in the purchases…

The plaintiffs are a group of German academics, including a former leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), Bernd Lucke. They argue that the purchases violate the EU ban on one eurozone member subsidising the debts of another.

It is now up to the ECB to explain how its mass bond-buying programme is “proportionate”. The Bundesbank could pull out if it is not satisfied, in three months’ time – which would be a big blow to the eurozone.

Easy Money

A government program that’s easy to scam? Wow. That’s never happened before.

COVID

It’s not the government’s money in the end anyway so who cares, right? Money for nothing and the click’s for free.

The government of North Rhine-Westphalia, a province in western Germany, is believed to have lost tens of millions of euros after it failed to build a secure website for distributing coronavirus emergency aid funding.

The funds were lost following a classic phishing operation.

Cybercriminals created copies of an official website that the NRW Ministry of Economic Affairs had set up to distribute COVID-19 financial aid.

Crooks distributed links to their sites using email campaigns, lured users on the sites, and collected details from locals. They then filed requests for government aid on behalf of the real users but they replaced the bank account where funds were to be wired.

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.

German Of The Day: Hartz IV Und Der Tag Gehört Dir

That means: Get on welfare (Hartz IV) and the day belongs to you.

Welfare

Jeden Tag Pizza und Bier – Pizza and beer every day!

In a verdict Tuesday, the Federal Constitutional Court found that monthslong slashes to welfare benefits known as Hartz IV for “breaches of duty” are unlawful.

Under current legislation, recipients of the benefit can have their payments reduced by 30% for a period of three months if they don’t fulfill certain conditions. The amount can also be cut further — by 60% — or even completely, if a job center adviser deems they have failed to cooperate. The rules are stricter for people under the age of 25.

“It hardly makes any sense to go to work.”

Your Tax Euros In Action

You know the drill. These studies are routinely published (in this case by the German Federation of Taxpayers) demonstrating how tax money is burned by the government.

U-Boot

There were some real beauties in this report, too. But my personal favorite is the Case of the Squandered Submarines. The German navy has these six way cool new fuel cell driven submarines that set the German taxpayer back three billion euros. The only problem here is that none of them are currently operational and have spent most of their time dry-docked. Additionally, there are only three submarine commanders available to command these vessels. One of these subs has only been deployed once – in thirteen years. Wow. With a navy like this who needs an enemy?

And I’m sure the next tax increase is already in the works.

Die sechs U-Boote der deutschen Marine mit Brennstoffzellenantrieb gehören zum Modernsten, was die Nato in diesem Bereich zu bieten hat. Drei Milliarden Euro kosteten sie. Das Problem: Laut Schwarzbuch ist keines dieser U-Boote derzeit tatsächlich einsatzbereit.

When Had We Left The Jungle?

I wasn’t aware that we had.

Jungle

WTO Faces Existential Threat in Times of Trump -U.S. President Donald Trump has set his sights squarely on the World Trade Organization in Geneva. Even its critics are worried that without the organization, the world of trade would revert to the law of the jungle.

The U.S. and other industrialized nations made several concessions to developing economies when the WTO was founded in 1995 and significantly reduced their tariffs. In return, they were able to push through stronger protections for intellectual property. They hoped that the strategy would help slow China’s rise.

But from the U.S. perspective, the system has not been beneficial. And once China joined the WTO in 2001, that dissatisfaction only grew, partly because the Chinese proved adept at taking advantage of the rules. Even today, there is significant dissent within the WTO because the economic superpower China is still classified as a “developing nation” by the organization, which gives it certain privileges. On the other hand, China is fighting for recognition as a market economy, to which both the U.S. and the European Union are opposed because it would mean they could no longer defend themselves against state-subsidized Chinese exports with anti-dumping duties.

On top of all that, the WTO is facing a more fundamental problem: its size and its sluggishness. Negotiating rounds focused on removing tariffs have become increasingly complex. And because everything is up for negotiation at the same time, every member state can paralyze the process by simply exercising its veto. The Doha Round, launched in 2001, is a perfect example: It never achieved any results and has become symbolic of the WTO’s failure.

“The problems are coming from the behavior of a single country that would like to return to the jungle.”

German Of The Day: Wer A Sagt, Muss Auch B Sagen

“Whoever says A must also say B” means if you dish it out, you have to be able to take it.

And that’s what this pukey little twelve-year-old environmental polluter had to learn, the hard way. Kids these days. He, of all people, should know that Germans take their garbage separation very seriously. But this little punk had the audacity to toss his empty pizza carton into a public garbage can! Hello? Everybody over here knows that you are not allowed to put your own private Hausmüll (domestic refuse) into a public garbage can! Oh, you didn’t know that, either? It was news to me, too. But still.

Anyways, the nasty little delinquent got charged ten euros on the spot and had to shell it out pronto-like or else. Serves him right. I think. It has to do with zero tolerance or something.

Ein Außendienstmitarbeiter des Ordnungsamts beobachtete ihn, stellte einen Strafzettel aus und kassierte die zehn Euro Ordnungsgeld. Zusätzlich soll der Stadtwächter der Mutter gedroht haben, sie für das Parken auf der Bushaltestelle zu verwarnen, wenn die zehn Euro nicht bezahlt werden.