December 1, 2011

A More Perfect European Union

By Mr. Curmudgeon

Some Europeans are downright testy over the impending meltdown of the European Union. They aren’t angry at Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain or Italy for borrowing money they have no hope of ever paying back. They’re mad at Germany for refusing to hand their deadbeat neighbors at least one trillion dollars to float the spendthrifts a while longer.

“I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity,” said Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski to Bloomberg News.

Bloomberg columnist Clive Crook couldn’t agree more. “The German government sees itself as standing up for fiscal and monetary rectitude. The euro area’s problems, it believes, have been brought on by lack of discipline in countries with lower standards. This is true, of course – yet one wonders how much scorched earth Germany thinks is needed to drive the point home.”

Translation: “You’ve made your point, now pony up the cash!”

Occupy Wall Street is more than a dyspeptic street carnival in a city near you – it’s a global frame of mind; when sustaining the entitlement state gets rough, the entitled ruffians get going.

“You must agree, the German government’s logic is perplexing,” Crook continued, “Its citizens are understandably furious at the thought that their taxes might bail out profligate governments elsewhere in the euro area. Therefore, let’s move to closer political union.”

By a “closer political union,” Crook and others mean a pan-European political and economic system that is more answerable to unelected bureaucrats and less so to its people.

The last time continental Europe saw a similarly close “political union,” it took 4,126 landing craft carrying 156,000 allied soldiers to begin the bloody task of dismantling it on D-Day.

The term “entitlement” is bandied about by politicians and community organizers as a weapon against the so-called “greedy.” The greedy in this case are those who have something entitlement politicians would like to borrow and never give back. But as the economies of the world sink under a sea of red ink, we come to find that sustaining the weapon called “entitlement” requires stronger, independent government and weaker, less free citizens. Freedom, entitlement politicians say, is killing us.

If I recall my history, Hitler was a product of his time … which just happened to coincide with a global economic depression. In 1933, Chancellor Hitler introduced the “Reinhardt Program” to Germany, which funneled tax “investments” into waterways, railroads and highways … you know, infrastructure.

On paper, it appeared the German economy was improving. The nation’s construction workforce rose from 666,000 to 2 million. But from 1933 to 1936, German exports decreased by 9% and stockpiles of raw materials fell dramatically. The German economy was about to experience a double dip.

One faction of Hitler’s economic team recommended a free market solution; the other advised diverting more tax “investments” in the direction of a decidedly different kind of infrastructure program … building a war machine.

Hitler knew the German people might view his shifting such a large portion of the economy away from real job creation unfavorably. So he issued a memo to his rubber-stamp legislature to find a scapegoat in case his new investment strategy plunged the German nation into economic privation.

Hitler asked for a “law providing the death penalty for economic sabotage and 2) A law making the whole of Jewry liable for all damage inflicted by individual specimens of this community of criminals upon the German economy, and thus upon the German people.” If his second stimulus failed, it was someone else’s fault.

Hitler got his second stimulus package and plunged the world into war. You see, he didn’t have to worry about his people. Der Führer acted independently … very much like our Federal Reserve.

Most decent Germans would like to repay the debt they owe a world they dragged into war by not repeating the mistakes of the past. That requires strengthening, not diminishing, consent of the governed under the rule of law.

Entitlement-state enthusiasts would rather scapegoat hardworking and thrifty Germans as “greedy.” That’s because, for entitlement-state enthusiasts, it’s – “Today Germany, tomorrow the world.”

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