Angry Citizen

“Citizen full of anger,” has been chosen words of the year 2010 by the Society of German Language and it has already been rejected by the ‘angry” citizens,’ because it does not reflect the reason of their discontent. People from all strands of life are protesting, because they feel that they are not being heeded by politicians.

Nobody wants to hear about expensive projects and promised tax cuts, but rather about resolving the debt crises and the climate change issues. Our economy is booming, however we will take out the 2nd-highest new debt in our history in 2011. During the last 20 years we only managed once to accumulate less than 20 billion euros of new debts during the course of a budget. Interest payments are now regularly above 35b euros a year, the provinces and local authorities not included.

But bingeing will become more difficult now – the newly introduced, constitutionally enshrined, debt break starts to take effect. Debt break – mind you – means you still can borrow but not openly binge. In Europe, binging already was forbidden by the Maastrich criteria in 1992 to keep the euro stable and credible. Germany was the first to ignore them, inviting all others to do the same.

Now the party is over, but nobody has realized it, because somebody has asked the DJ to play a new song. As a consequence, Greece is paying excessive amounts of interest rates after being rescued. Spain, Portugal and Ireland have to pay more interest nearly on a weekly basis despite the so-called rescue umbrella, where debt payments are guaranteed by the other member states. So why should we suddenly trust a politician now to be prudent, when he never managed to before. Would you believe an alcoholic stopped drinking only because he is considering it? Merkel pretends that this is no business of hers, but I suggest that she has a quiet word with Mr. Ackermann (German Bank) to see whether the banks will waive part of the interest. I suspect this is a daydream, but it would be a start.

Not all is bleak. Congratulations, you’ll have a royal weeding this year and a lot of envious Germans will watch on TV. After all, we abolished our monarchy, by mistake, as hindsight teaches us. How many more tabloids could we fill? But, we have aristocracy ourselves: Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Minister of Defence, and his wife Stephanie, the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie of German politics. It is speculated that he will be the next Chancellor, thus they have started to make use the PR machine.

I had been full of praise for Mrs. zu Guttenberg – who herself does not engage in party politics – for her book about abused children, but now? Both went – together with a famous chat-show host – on a surprise visit to Afghanistan. Those visits really should be called we-can’t-properly-protect-you-visits-therefore-we-don’t-advertise-them-in-advance, or can you imagine Obama arriving for a surprise visit in Germany?

Whilst her husband was interviewed, sitting on a platform in front of neatly lined up tanks, helicopters and soldiers, I guess, she was visiting abused soldiers. A cheap political stunt causing Angela Merkel to react immediately; the naughty boy had to go with her to Afghanistan for a second time within the same week, kind of a surprise, surprise-visit. Remember Karl-Theodor! You nearly fell from public grace once, after being liberal with the truth! Ask your aristocratic friend, Prince William. They have made a family tradition out of falling from grace.

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