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The scant media bandwidth in Germany that is not being consumed by the World Cup is dominated by this week's parliamentary debate on the 2006(!) national budget. Other big (as in hot-button) topics include health care "reform", revisions to Hartz IV, corporate taxes and the anticipated effects of the recently ratified 3 point VAT increase. Foreign policy initiatives are filed under "other business".

The English-language press these days is trying to castd Merkel in the role of a Bismarkian "honest broker". Bismark made this work through the weight of his personal authority. But Merkel (to her credit!) is no Bismark.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 05:11:27 AM EST

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