Saturday, May 19, 2012

Germany can't make Germans out of us

This from the Matt Cooper of the Irish Examiner: “Germany is behaving like the euro is a pain in the ass to it, that it has received little or no reward for adopting it as its currency, that it wishes that it never gave up its Deutschmark as its own prized currency and that, now that it is stuck with the euro, it will be damned if it is going to pick up the tab for the fecklessness of other European nations (including us).”

Cooper presents his analysis of Germany’s economic history and summarizes, “So it is complex and multi-faceted. It is easy to see why the German public does not want to foot the bill for the euro going wrong. But let’s not forget how much the euro has contributed to the existing great wealth in that country.”

I can’t see Germans responding favorable to that argument. Here I am, not a German, but nicely retired after 39 years in aerospace. Suppose Governor Brown and President Obama were to hit me with huge taxes. Suppose I complained and received the response, “don’t forget, Helm, you got through college on a government sponsored G.I.Bill. You then worked for most of your 39 years making aircraft for the U.S. government. You benefited from all that government support in your earlier days; so suck it up, Helm, and shell out.” Is that a valid argument all ye logicians? I don’t think so and here is why: The European environment presented Germany with the prospect, “perform in certain ways and receive benefits accordingly.” Now the EU (at least Ireland) is reneging. They are attempting to retroactively say to Germany, “perform in certain ways and receive benefits accordingly unless we get in financial trouble and then we will need some of your money.”

Germany is in a better situation than I am. The EU can’t force them to cough their money up, but the state of California and the Federal Government can arrest me if I don’t mine. On the other hand there is a vast history of individuals being taxed more and more by governments who decide they need more and more money; so I shouldn’t complain. Here, come take my money. I’m used to it. But will Germany see it the same as I do?

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