Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 23, 2002
WAR/POLITICS: German Shell Games

People complain about the timing and completeness of corporate disclosures in the U.S., but check out this doozy: Germany's peacenik Social Democrat prime minister Gerhard Schroeder finishes in essentially a tie with his opponent, each garnering 38.5% of the vote (remember this when some Euro-snob pundit gripes about Bush not having an electoral mandate), and Schroder wins the tiebreaker because another team in his division (the Greens) won more games in the NFC . . . anyway, notice this item buried at the end of UPI's report:

"Even more challenging than repairing the rift with Washington is the looming crisis with Germany's partners in the euro, Europe's new single currency. Germany delayed publishing its budget deficit figures until after the election, fearing it would breach the maximum level allowed under the rules of the eurozone's Stability Pact. If budget deficits exceed 3 percent of gross domestic product, an offending country faces fines of up to 0.5 percent of GDP. In Germany's case, that means fines of up to $10 billion.

The German economy is heading back into recession, and the higher spending on paying for more and more unemployed. Combined with lower tax revenues, this spending means the Stability Pact is almost certain to be breached. And even though France is also seeking some relaxation from the pact's tight rules, other members of the euro currency have said they refuse to change it, fearing a loss of credibility in world currency markets."

(Emphasis added). In other words -- leaving aside the fact that the EU apparently operates under something very similar to Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement ("Ach, General von Schroedergrabber, you spent too much on your bureaucrats, we must fine you for breaching the luxury tax!") -- the German ruling party has been hiding the government's finances to pull the wool over the world's currency markets, at least until after the election. Say what you will about American politics, even Gray Davis couldn't pull off something like this.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:27 AM | Politics 2002-03 • | War 2002-03 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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