Germany: The Israel of Europe
The New York Times, reporting of the victory of Francois Hollande, France's first socialist president since Francois Mitterrand, adds the appropriate dash of editorializing when they claim that
"Mr. Hollande’s campaign promised a kinder, gentler, more inclusive France, but his victory over President Nicolas Sarkozy will also be seen as a challenge to the German-dominated policy of economic austerity in the euro zone, which is suffering from recession and record unemployment."
How nice of the Times to provide such a sympathetic nut graph, as it reminds us once again that the European consensus on financial economics, a position supported by most liberals in the United States, is one of lunacy. Oh sure, Monsieur Hollande has himself pledged to "balance" France's "budget," mostly in the form of levying a new 75% income tax on "the rich" (when this doesn't yield the right amount of revenue, we'll hear the old Comintern refrain about "hoarding wealth"). But this commitment to fiscal prudence is pure affectation. Most EU politicians, like the Democrats here, believe that "balancing" the "budget" means somehow maintaining present spending levels while destroying the only source of revenue for that spending. "Balance" to them is more of a metaphysical than a financial concept: "the rich" must pay their "fair shaire" to achieve cosmic equilibrium. Anything else is "austerity" and "inequality."
Hollande's election comes at a difficult time for Germany. Europe is turning against the German idea that recovery can only come from re-evaluating the ludicrous monetary and fiscal policies that broke the bank in the first place. This, in a continent of the godless, is the closest to heresy one can come. In fact, one can't read a story about Germany these days without hearing the word "austerity"; this is the new slogan that will shift all talk of deficit-reduction to talk of "fairness."
Germany will become (if it hasn't already become) the scapegoat for all of Europe's financial failures. It is the only country committed to some form of sanity, and yet it is the only country denounced for problems it did not create. Greece and Italy, whose leaders ran their economies like frat parties, receive no blame. The election of Hollande can only ensure that the EU will continue to relegate Germany to the position of the European Israel.