Aren’t We Just the Greatest…

A call for humility.

Currently, Germany is again totally in control. Everything is just nice in our country. We give all kinds of good advice all over the place, we threaten others with sanctioning. And we even have a(n almost and/or soon) balance federal budget. The sun smiles upon Germany and everything is rosy.

Except: is that really so?

Well, there is the ESM, which is currently again predominant in the press. “The Federation” (Germany) guarantees  to the tune of 190 billion Euros (link). And so far, nobody could explain to me how this is supposed to work out. Mind you, I can actually well imagine that the amount of money will increase before long. There was a time when 280 billion Euros were discussed.

There are other public guarantees (Öffentliche Bürgschaften – always several billion Euros) for banks and similar enterprises of the “finance service sector”. However, this is not exclusive, since there are also some for weapons exports – as this example (Beispiel) shows.

Unfortunately, I found no listing of all guarantees made by the Federal or State Administrations, for instance for “financial service providers”, or even for the total extent of guarantees. The sum total is probably quite a huge number.

As far as I know, guarantees are not mentioned in the fiscal budget (just like they are not mentioned in an enterprise balance sheet) of the FRG. Regardless of the fact that you need not be a merchant in order to know that giving guarantees is something that seldom works out well. But there is more to get thoughtful about.

I heard from Herrn Ramsauer – when he was still minister of transport – that one in every three bridges in Germany is already or will soon be in an acute state of disrepair. Well, this is nothing special, because, after all, infra-structure has to undergo maintenance and renovation.  Except that we have an awful lot of infra-structure. Just think of all our streets. Then there are the ancient railroads and an ailing energy supply network.  And I never heard of any extra money saved for this kind of emergency. Neither did I ever hear of our technological debt being taken into consideration.

Not to mention that our “external balance” (for instance if costs are shifted to the detriment of our environment) have never been taken into account at all.  But then, this, too, will no longer function in the foreseeable future. Just think of the detrimental effect of nuclear energy, for instance the “nuclear disposal zone” at Schachtanlage Asse. In comparison, the “all-time costs” (Ewigkeitskosten) resulting from coal mining almost seem negligible.

Talking about a “balanced budget” in this situation is something I find rather infamous. And I feel that I, as a citizen, am being made fun of! And I ask myself if the politicians who praise themselves and their policy so self-pleasingly simply do not know better or if they actually want to “play me for a sucker”. Have they really not understood how serious the situation is – or is it just that they do not want to see? Because, after all, the earth is a disc, isn’t it?

(Translated by EG)

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