Friday, July 29, 2005

Good news for Germany: new Leftist coalition inaugurated

The Left has a new coalition of the clueless to vote for in Germany this September. The coalition is made up of ex-communists from the old East Germany and some radical defectors from the SPD/Greens. Not very surprising to see Oskar Lafontaine, a political gadfly these days, pop-up as one of the new coalition's heads.

Anything that gets Schroeder, the second worst Chancellor in German history, out of power can't be all bad. Perhaps the coalition will take enough votes from the SPD/Greens that Merkel's CDU/Free Democrats can achieve an absolute majority.

The coalition's prescription for a stronger, better Germany: Tax the rich, raise wages, and cement the welfare state in German society. That'll keep the wolf from the door.
[...] "We need a new culture," [Gregor Gysi, the best-known of the Democratic Socialism leaders] said, outlining the new party's program. "We need wage increases. We have to see social costs as something positive, and taxes have to be fair" - meaning, as he explained it, that there have to more of them on the rich.

Gysi's straightforward description of the Linkspartei program - higher wages for workers and higher taxes - is the sort of prescription that most economists think would turn Germany, already stumbling badly, into Ukraine - without Ukraine's optimism about the future.

But what disturbs many mainstream Germans is not so much the program, because nobody thinks the Linkspartei will ever have the occasion to implement a program, but the cultural phenomenon that the new formation represents: its reliance on false economic premises, its soak-the-rich demagogy and the whiffs of anti-foreign populist rhetoric emanating, in particular, from Lafontaine.

"It's an unsettling sign that Germany is doing badly enough to have generated a political reaction reminiscent of Weimar," Schneider said. In fact, he continued, Germany today is a very long way from turning into the Weimar of yesterday. And yet, the emerging similarity is bothersome. [...]