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Do They Not Even Read

February 28th, 2002 - 1:02 pm

Do They Not Even Read Their Own Paper?
More economic idiocy from the NYT. Just read the lead: “Ten years ago, in the economic boom after German reunification, nothing seemed capable of stopping this country.” Actually, they’re thinking of 1940 and the Ardennes forest.

Go back to 1989, and you’ll find plenty of economists (admittedly of the Chicago or Austrian schools) who said (out loud even) that Germany’s tightly regulated markets, constrictive labor laws, and generous welfare benefits would lead to exactly the sort of high-unemployment, economic stalemate they’ve experienced the last few years. Even in growth times, Germany experiences unemployments rates close to double digits.

Next sentence: “Now, nothing seems capable of starting it up.” Have the Germans tried repealing regulations, or relaxing union control of industry, or paring down unemployment benefits? Until they’ve tried all three (and in the order I listed) then no one can claim that “nothing” will lift Germany out of recession.

It gets better: “Germany’s long-term pattern resembles a much milder version of the stagnation Japan is going through