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Merkel's rival Steinbrueck says euro zone austerity too severe | Reuters

(Reuters) - Former German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck, who is running against Chancellor Angela Merkel in next year's election, said austerity measures being imposed on struggling euro zone countries were too severe.

In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS), Steinbrueck said austerity measures were pushing some countries to do too much too soon. He said there would be massive protests in Germany if such a heavy dose of austerity were to be imposed so quickly.

"The savings measures are too severe, they're leading to depression," said Steinbrueck, 65, a Social Democrat (SPD) who was finance minister from 2005 to 2009 in Merkel's right-centre grand coalition government.

"Some societies are being forced to their knees. Budget consolidation is in some ways like medicine. The right amount can save lives while too much can be lethal."

Steinbrueck noted that some countries were being forced to make spending cuts that amounted to five percent of their gross domestic product (GDP).

"In Germany that would amount to 150 billion euros (of spending to be cut)," Steinbrueck said. "You can imagine what the protests would be like on German streets with that."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:16:52 PM EST
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by paving on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 07:55:28 PM EST
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Is Steinbrueck turning into a crass Keynesian in his old age?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 08:27:12 PM EST
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Peer Steinbrück Stumbles in Effort to Unseat Angela Merkel in Germany - NYTimes.com

In another memorably odd line in the interview, Mr. Steinbrück said he did not find money "erotic."

Mr. Steinbrück is hardly the first politician to earn speaking fees, but the sum raised eyebrows, particularly in a left-leaning party whose members still call each other "comrade" at official events. And it made his calls for higher pay for the chancellor all the more surprising.

With reports showing a shrinking German middle class, a raise for the chancellor, who currently receives about $390,000 a year in total compensation, would not seem like a particularly winning campaign issue. In the interview he pointed out that many bank managers earned more than the head of Germany's government.

maybe that would be normal in italy but in germany... surreal.

sometimes poltics seems like a room full of little boys you know shoudn't be playing with matches.

monti and merkel may be terrible leaders, but they do come across as adults, if delusional ones.

i'm starting to see why mig's predictions about merkel's political longevity make sense. :(

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2013 at 08:27:46 AM EST
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