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Your timeline nicely encapsulates how little has changed in the dominant political and economic ideology despite four more years of recession or anaemic growth.  If anything, Governments have doubled down on the austerity approach, and electoral growth has been by parties of the far right who want even more austerity.  As Einstein is reputed to have said: "Madness is doing the same thing and expecting a different result".  Or as Talleyrand is said to have put it: "They have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing".

What is marvellous to me is the sense of entitlement: German savers are said to be entitled to a return on their savings.  And on whose backs is this return to be generated?  The relatively impoverished workers  and unemployed of Greece? Spain? Portugal? By what god given law is anyone supposed to be entitled to interest on their savings, when all they have done is put it into a bank or a relatively risk free investment.

The truth is, they are getting no return on their investment because their governments and banks are refusing to invest it productively on their behalf. It's always somebody else who is supposed to do the work and take the risks...  Maybe one day the "Swabian housewife" will realise that her alleged thrift is not only impoverishing her neighbours, it is ultimately throttling the growth potential of her own family as well.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Apr 25th, 2016 at 04:02:07 PM EST
Frank Schnittger:
By what god given law is anyone supposed to be entitled to interest on their savings, when all they have done is put it into a bank or a relatively risk free investment.

We have done more than that: we have given up the core of the public pension system for that interest on our savings, and it was exactly what our SPD and CDU and FDP governments told us to do in order to keep our pensions safe. Was that a lie? Bismarck's pension system gave pensioners a little amount, but they still depended on support from their children. After the war there were many old people who no longer had any children, so something had to be done. Adenauer reformed the Rentenversicherung and from then onwards pensions (at least men's pensions) were high enough to maintain a decent living standard without having to ask children for support. This was one of the core features of the German welfare state, and one of the main reasons why the concept of social market economy was so popular. What the NHS is for the identity of the British state, is the Rentenversicherung for the identity of the Federal Republic.

We have been told that firstly we cannot afford this any longer. Secondly that our pensions are safe. That a new reform was necessary. And that our pensions are safe. That we would have to save privately in addition to the public pension, and then our pensions would still be high enough to live from.

If this is not true, and our pensions are not safe, it must either be the fault of the governments that dismantled the pension system, and lied to us, and took the social out of the social market economy, or else it is the Greeks' fault. It is an absolute necessity for our elites to punish the Greeks, and not to stop the discussion of how one can step up the punishment of the Greeks even more. This must be the only thing to occupy our thoughts.

by Katrin on Tue Apr 26th, 2016 at 06:27:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is it that public benefits like housing or old age pensions which could be afforded in much less prosperous times are suddenly becoming unaffordable now?

For every saver, there has to be a borrower. But with Governments and private citizens in peripheral countries already under water with debt, where are the additional borrowers to come from to provide an income for additional savings?

You can't at the same time flay the Greeks for borrowing both too much and too little. And if their economy crashes, you may lose not only your interest income but your savings as well.

Deutsche Bank is more or less bust, thanks to it's ill advised speculation on derivatives, trying to achieve a return on savings that was simply not sustainable.

There will be no return to high interest rates soon, and anyone who tries to tell you different is lying. In fact you could be lucky not to lose some of your savings as well, without a cast iron European wide savings insurance scheme.

And who will fund that?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Apr 26th, 2016 at 12:18:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
You can't at the same time flay the Greeks for borrowing both too much and too little.

I am not so sure of that. We are longing for the good old times when we could invest in Bundesschatzbriefe and they carried good interest while lauding the debt brake and the black zero, too. We are beyond logic, I think. If we weren't, it would necessarily be time for something drastic, and we are not prepared for that.

by Katrin on Tue Apr 26th, 2016 at 01:16:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You just need to lend your hard earned money to nice, hard working people who will pay it back to you with good interest, unlike these feckless Greeks.

That no such people do actually exist is of no importance for politicians. Deutsche Bank, on the other hand, has to deal with that reality. The hard way.

by Bernard on Tue Apr 26th, 2016 at 04:24:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is it that public benefits like housing or old age pensions which could be afforded in much less prosperous times are suddenly becoming unaffordable now?

How else is the Ueberklass supposed to get the more it so richly deserves without taking it from the rest of us?

by rifek on Tue Apr 26th, 2016 at 07:36:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe they should call it 'Qualitative Squeezing' instead?

'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 Wed Apr 27th, 2016 at 02:21:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Qualitative Fingernail Extraction"?
by rifek on Wed Apr 27th, 2016 at 03:33:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the ECB is certainly not asking Germany to provide the funds for QE! NO! They are just printing the money. If Germany dares to object the ECB can always say: "well, then, please tell the general public that you are preventing us from defending the payment system." As others here have so often noted defending the payment system is the most fundamental job of a central bank. After all, Euros are the liability of the ECB and only the ECB can print Euros - err - effectively.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 28th, 2016 at 11:10:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, a 0.75% return when the inflation is down to zero or even negative, is better than 3% return when the inflation was 2.5% (simple arithmetic), but it does look too low for most people anyway...

Not everyone in the EU far right is calling for more austerity: in France, the Front National is actually calling for an end to austerity, increase of minimum wage, along with, of course, protectionism, "buy French", kick the foreigners out of the country (the dark ones, at least), re-establishing the franc and getting out of the EU itself.

It explains part of their success over a large part of the younger, unemployed or underemployed people (also: remember redstar?). Or course, that's what they say now, before getting to power. Both Le Pen père and daughter are billionaires, thanks in part to dubious inheritances and it's difficult to see them getting any seriously after the 1%.

Remember that Hollande was promising left wing policies when running for president 5 years ago. Caveat emptor...

by Bernard on Tue Apr 26th, 2016 at 04:19:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Both Le Pen père and daughter are billionaires"

Not to defend them but that's millionaires with an m.

Unless you count in a pretty exotic currency of course.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Apr 27th, 2016 at 05:27:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Such as french Francs?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Apr 27th, 2016 at 05:33:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most reports would state that this would be a long way from being enough, although I found one that claimed a much higher figure than the others, one that would have put it above a billion francs indeed.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Apr 27th, 2016 at 08:55:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess that must have been the random first one Google found for me.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Apr 27th, 2016 at 08:59:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Francs are de rigueur with the Le Pen, of course. We don't know exactly how much does the clan Le Pen has stashed away: the French fiscal authorities are looking at their real estate assets, that have curiously been under-evaluated. The "Panama papers" are also hinting at some nest egg stashed away.

I suppose they'll have to get the presidency to have access to "real money"...

by Bernard on Thu Apr 28th, 2016 at 03:39:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Same in Austria. The FPÖ also promises a plebiscite on TTIP and other good things. Not that they delivered last time. Still, the other parties look pretty weak. Especially the government. And in the end they'll just blame the refugees for their losses.
by generic on Thu Apr 28th, 2016 at 06:09:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"(also: remember redstar?)."

Where the fuck is redstar, anyway?   ⭐️  Hanging out with poemless?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed May 4th, 2016 at 06:25:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe one day the "Swabian housewife" will realise that her alleged thrift is not only impoverishing her neighbours, it is ultimately throttling the growth potential of her own family as well.

Wouldn't count on it.  She's a chemist, so to her, synergy just produces extra toxicity.  The world outside of a lab is truly a mystery to her.

by rifek on Tue Apr 26th, 2016 at 07:43:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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