Monday, January 30, 2012

Angie gets pushback on her finance Gauleiter demand for Greece

It's encouraging to see that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's anti-democracy proposal to appoint a financial Gauleiter to rule Greece on behalf of the EU, more particularly on behalf of Germany, and even more particularly on the behalf of private banks, is getting significant resistance from various other European leaders. For some reason, they are not really excited about the idea of such an arrangement.

This is a Spanish cartoon about sacrificing their national constitution to the Goddess Angie of the Market. But it could apply to every other country that signs onto to Angie's austerity policies, as well:

Angie's Post Democracy 2.0 proposal would be about as direct a case of letting giant banks rule the country of Greece as it would be possible to get. A pure financial dictatorship. The only way it could be more direct would be if they just designated a committee of Bank CEO's to run the country. And even then, they would probably appoint some kind of Gauleiter like Angie is recommending.

Philipp Wittrock in Debatte um Sparkommissar.Merkel besänftigt aufgebrachte Griechen Spiegel Online 30.01.2012 reports on criticism coming from leaders in Austria, Greece, Luxembourg,

Since the current Greek government is a Post Democracy 1.0 regime of debt collectors installed at the insistence of Germany and France, though with technically legitimate democratic forms, it wasn't a given that they would put up any kind of a stink about it. But I guess that was too crass even for what is already a government of debt collectors for private banks.

Even Angie's FDP coalition partner Foreign Minister Guido (Guido Westerwelle) is trying to distance himself from her Greek Gauleiter proposal. But despite Guido's public comments, Wittrock reports that Angie was still pushing the proposal on Monday!

It's remarkable to me at this stage, though, that Angie's out-of-control, destructive policies aren't getting more explicit public resistance across the board from other EU countries. No doubt, it's a reflection of the deeply corrupting and crippling effect that the neoliberal ideology of globalization (and it's well-healed backers) have had on European politics, just as it has had in America.

Jan Strupczewski and Luke Baker Report for Reuters in EU leaders struggle to reconcile austerity, growth 01/30/2012 on the summit. It's rather bizarre that an article like that one doesn't mention Angie's Greek Gauleiter proposal until far down in the article, and then only half-report it:

Germany caused outrage in Greece by proposing last week that a European commissar take control of Greek public finances to ensure it meets fiscal targets. Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said that to make his country choose between national dignity and financial assistance ignored the lessons of history.

The German idea won cautious backing from the Dutch and Swedish prime ministers.

"We need to have things in place for monitoring that they are really doing what they are promising," Swedish Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt told reporters on arrival.

But Merkel played down the idea of placing Greece under stewardship, saying: "We are having a debate that we shouldn't be having. This is about how Europe can be supportive so Greece can comply, so there are targets."
You wouldn't know from that report that other countries were expressing concern and opposition to the idea. They do allude to the bad economics behind the proposal that the summit is apparently set to approve for new, more rigid austerity requirements to be written into treaty commitments, another terrible idea of Angie's that can only make the debt crisis worse:

With Britain standing aloof, most of the other 26 EU leaders were set to approve a fiscal pact to write balanced budget rules into their national law, despite economists' doubts about the wisdom of effectively outlawing deficit spending.

"To write into law a Germanic [sic] view of how one should run an economy and that essentially makes Keynesianism illegal is not something we would do," a British official said.
Outlawing Keynesian measures is exactly what Angie is seeking to do. But we also should wonder why a "British official" needed anonymity to say that, since it's straightforwardly true. And also why Reuters would grant anonymity for that. They would have little trouble finding well-known economists to tell them the same thing. Maybe it's because they thought the "Germanic" crack would make good copy but the "British official" didn't want to be quoted by name sounding like a petty nationalist.

See also: Sven Böll et al, A Bluffing Game: European Politicians in Denial as Greece Unravels Spiegel International 01/30/2012; Micheál Martin, Fiscal pact fails to address problems at root of crisis Irish Times 01/30/2012; Eurozone crisis live The Guardian.

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