So Alex the Greek won, and the euro lost. Not quite. In fact, the bulk of euroland – the “Club Med” countries plus the mainstream left – are quietly triumphant. The southern tier and Europe’s social democratic parties never liked the diktat of the Germans, who have been cracking the whip of fiscal discipline and market-oriented reforms since the great crash of 2008. For years they have all preached cheap money and unfettered deficit spending.
Now Berlin’s critics feel vindicated and emboldened by the victory of Greece’s far-out left (Syriza), which will form a government with the equally radical right (Independent Greeks).… Seguir leyendo »
Another Chapter 11 for Greece, the third in five years — and no exit in sight. The Greeks won’t do the eurozone the favor of absconding from the common currency. Never mind that they should never have been accepted in the first place, when they cooked the books to look prim and proper.
Not even Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the radical leftist Syriza party, wants out. Apparently on track to win the snap elections on Jan. 25, he has vowed: “We will stick with the euro, no doubt.”
Nor does anybody else — including Germany — want Greece to leave, if truth be told, even though the German leader, Angela Merkel, now has her minions spreading the word that a “Grexit” is no longer an absolute no-no.… Seguir leyendo »
If the U.S. is currently ruled by stalemate -– with polarized parties crippling its Founders’ checks and balances -– Germany has too much uniformity and too little contest, which is the lifeblood of democracy.
Consider the numbers in last week’s deal creating a new “grand coalition” government. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, who once billed themselves as conservatives, and the Social Democrats, left of center, will control almost 80 percent of the seats in the German parliament. Imagine what Democrats Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would do with such a mega-majority in the U.S. Senate and House. It gets worse.
The Christian Democrats, the “Blacks” in German parlance, and Sigmar Gabriel’s Social Democratic Party, the “Reds,” are ideologically as similar as the quintessentially blue states of Massachusetts and California.… Seguir leyendo »
Some of my best friends are very rich — people with condos on Central Park West and tastefully refurbished palazzi in Italy. The puzzle: Why do so many of them vote Democratic or praise the high-taxing European welfare state?
How rich? When one of them had an art lover on the phone, who was offering to pay $30 million for a famous painting, he refused. Frustrated, the would-be buyer groaned: “Look, man, I just more than doubled the going price for this piece, and you still won’t take it. Why not?”
My friend’s riposte: “Right now, I am the only man in the world who owns this unique painting.… Seguir leyendo »
A few weeks ago, Newsweek called her “Slow-Motion Merkel”. The magazine sniffed that she didn’t “want the job” of leading Europe. Well, Angela Merkel just took it, pretty much dictating to the rest of the EU how to deal with the let’s-spend-like-there-is-no-tomorrow Greeks, whose fiscal chickens have finally come home to roost.
In Greece she is Public Enemy No 1, and in the French media she has gone from Lady Lethargic to “Madame Non”. When she visits London this week, the German Chancellor will enjoy new stature and renewed clout.
Mrs Merkel led by slamming on the brakes and keeping her foot down.… Seguir leyendo »
Imagine waking up one fine Sunday morning to learn that they are laying down barbed wire in Washington. The coils cut off the western side of the District from Northeast and Southeast. Over the next three years, the steel wire is replaced by a wall of concrete 12 feet high. Now you are trapped, and if you’re on the wrong side, the Washington Monument might just as well be the moon. Grim guards at fortresslike checkpoints along the District boundaries go through your papers and your car before you may proceed on special transit roads.
This is what happened in Berlin, starting on Aug.… Seguir leyendo »