Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cyprus rescue passes Bundestag

As expected the Cyprus rescue passed the Bundestag, with a broad majority. Also, as expected, Merkels coalition did not reach the "Kanzlermehrheit" (chancellor majority). Quite surprising is that German quality journalism(TM) failed to mention the last part. Spiegel, taz and FAZ didn't inform their readers about that. Only Sueddeutscche stood out. Since, only 602 members of Bundestag (620 total) cast a ballot, Merkels coalition would have had a majority with 303 yes votes (311 needed for chancellor majority, obviously). After some whining, the opposition with the exception of the left wing Die Linke voted for the package (487 total).

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Reinhart-Rogoff in the German media

So the Reinhart-Rogoff paper "Growth in a time of debt" was replicated and there were several issues with it. I personally think mistakes happen and it is definitely not R-R's fault that politicians in Europe jumped their paper and showed it off as ultimate proof that their austerity ideology was without alternative.

Other parties that just loved the paper were the German newspapers. They for the most part supported Merkel's Europe policy and R-R really helped to pretend that science was behind them. Let's see how the four newspapers reacted to the news that sometimes mistakes are made and results are weighed and interpreted in a way that affirms the personal believes. There is a reason why double-blind experiments are used in medicine, it should therefore not have come as a huge surprise.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Failing Cyprus

Cyprus has not been rescued. Our latest attempt at kicking the can failed. We missed, fell over, broke our wrist. But we are unable to admit that, so we will get up and pretend nothing happened. The island is now supposed to find some additional € 5.5 billion. The most likely source will be imposing even higher losses on deposits, but with only 40 % left it probably won't be enough. Other ideas, like privatisation, seem ridiculous, since it would be stupid to assume that any one will invest in a country that is about to face a depression.

Meanwhile, the German Bundestag has become a amateur re-enactment of the Brüning government in the early 1930s.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dijsselbloem wants an actual Banking Union

 The Eurogroup president Dijsselbloem called for a real banking union in the euro area. Which is good:

Other elements, on which we must press ahead, are the Recovery and Resolution mechanism for banks, a European resolution fund, the joint Deposit Guarantee scheme.

Even better is that he also recognized high unemployment as the most important challenge at the moment. Sadly, he still thinks austerity aka balanced budgets is the way to go, to reduce unemployment.

The Future of the Euro

The Cyprus rescue, the political situation in Italy, and the unacceptable unemployment levels in Spain and Greece make it absolutely clear the approach of can kicking will lead to nothing. The situation in the euro area is getting worse and worse, but at the same time the European Commission, Germany and now even the ECB do not seem to plan to end their policy of making only the smallest steps possible at the very last second. This has to change and it has to change now.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Electoral Campaign in Germany

Germans will elect a new Bundestag on September 22nd and the current euro crisis might lead to four more years of Merkel as chancellor as strange as it might seem for an outside observer. Domestically, the current CDU, CSU (Christian conservative "sister" parties) and FDP (liberal democrats) coalition does not have much to show at all, but Germans are happy with Merkel's handling of the situation in Europe. In the meantime the SPD (social democrats) with their candidate Steinbrück seem to have given up any hope at becoming the party in charge.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Direct Translations of German Words

Something different: Germany, the land of poets and thinkers. Well, not always, sometimes we are also pretty uncreative, a few examples of direct translations of German words:
  • aircraft - fly thing (Flugzeug)
  • entrepreneur - under taker (Unternehmer)
  • bicycle - drive wheel (Fahrrad)
  • unicycle - one wheel (Einrad)
  • (watch) television - far view(er) (Fernsehen- Fernseher)
  • telescope - far pipe (Fernrohr)
  • dictionary - words book (Wörterbuch)
  • vehicle - drive thing (Fahrzeug)
  • motorist - force driver (Kraftfahrer) [official language]
  • zeitgeist - time ghost (Zeitgeist)
A train leader (Zugführer) can be both a train operator ond a platoon commander.

Some words we use are kind of weird:
  • citizen - bailer (not quite bailsman) (Bürger) - I don't get why we complain about having to bail out other countries since it is even in our name.
  • contract - live in harmony/agree (Vertrag) from vertragen
We are sometimes pretty creative with English words. Guess what the following seemingly English words mean if used in German(answer below the fold):
  • Handy
  • Public viewing
  • Oldtimer 
  • Beamer

Weidmann Manages to Talk About Crisis Without Mentioning Unemployment

Bundesbank President Weidmann was interviewed about the current crisis by DRadio, today. In this lengthy interview full of generalities and buzzwords he did not once mention unemployment. The most pressing issue for the people in the crisis countries. But to make up for this significant lack, we get unnamed structural nature/causes five times. Interestingly he now wants a banking union. He just redefines what that is supposed to be. In his new definition it has two primary parts:

Friday, April 5, 2013

New Search Engine - In Accordance with Upcoming German Law

Finally, somebody programmed the first search engine that will be legal after the Leistungsschutzrecht is introduced. Leischure only shows those single words that the new law will allow, making searches so much more interesting. You just never know if the result has anything to do with what you were looking for, what could be more awesome than that!1!!1

Of course, no one knows what "single words or smallest text excerpts" means, it could be like hmmm... two words! Some even claim snipplets would still be allowed, but that would just mean that the law does not make any sense whatsoever.

Didn't write in a while

I haven't written anything in a week. Sorry for that. News in Germany was also very slow over Easter. I think my last post trying to show that there is a more positive resonance in the German media for the anti-euro-party AfD after the Cyprus "rescue" began than before, even though I made the horrible mistake of using an old interview, showed some discussion worthy points. For example: the FAZ actually had a rather positive comment about Lucke shortly before the final Cyprus deal(Yeah, I checked this time I got the year right). I am actually still seeing a more positive overall reception of the AfD at the moment.

In other news: the neo-Nazi NPD has significant financial problems. I have written about the attempts to ban the party which, as it turns out, might not have been necessary at all. Neither a bankruptcy nor a ban will make the ideology go away, so this is one of the few times, that I agree with FDP party leader Rösler who stated: "One cannot illegalize stupidity." In the end, they will either found a new party or become part of another fringe group.

Again, sorry for the silence on my part, I will get back to a schedule of writing at least one post a day.