Tuesday, February 24, 2009

SOLVING THE FINANCIAL CRISIS : GERMAN-STYLE


By : Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (deceased 1898; resurrected 2009), Imperial German Parliamentary Leader; Inventor of Modern-Day Pension Fund System; Statesman; Critic of Weak and Vacillating Political Action

I am here at the request of the so-called “American Treasury Secretary” named Geithner. According to my preliminary briefing, I understand that your Nation faces a financial crisis. I am informed that your securities markets collapsed following a widespread public credit deterioration (weitverbreitetes öffentliches Kreditverderben). Please forgive me if I sometimes use German constructions to explain myself. Your weak and insubstantial English at times does not possess the conceptual clarity to correctly analyze the problem. In such situations I will also write in German to express my true meaning.

Let me say first that I am glad to be here. I promise to bring effective German solutions to your American crisis. We will overcome this crisis with discipline, sweat, toil, strength and determination. I will not stand for anything other than total victory (Endsieg). In Germany, I united a Nation and forged the greatest economy ever seen in Europe. I have encountered worse problems than yours. I will restore your Nation to prosperity. And I will punish the falsifiers (Verfälscher), rogues (Schurken) and banker terrorists (Bankier-Terroristen) who brought this calamity upon you. None shall escape my justice.

I understand that your financial markets collapsed because you extended too much credit. Your Geithner tells me that any peasant could obtain a loan to buy a mansion or a plasma screen television. Then your banks were surprised that these peasants could not pay back their loans. Why? Your banks should have known that these people could not pay their loans. In Germany, the Staatskasse does not give loans to people who cannot pay them back. If a German cannot afford a television, the Staatskasse does not give him money to buy it. Your American banks did not have discipline. They loaned money so they could boost their stock values and conceal their liabilities. They acted like banker terrorists and scoundrels (Lumpe). In Germany, I made sure that banker terrorists did not rule our people. I firmly brought them under my control. Under my plan, I will carefully monitor banks to ensure that they are honest. I will create a Bank Supervisory Committee (Bankaufsichtsvorstand) to carefully check their books every month. I will tolerate no fraud or misrepresentation. If I suspect that a bank is loaning money to boost its own accounts despite a borrower’s poor financial health, I will call that bank before the Bank Discipline Board (Bankdisziplinaufsichtsrat). I will impose fines on these scoundrels and publicly declare them Banker Terrorists. Borrowers do not deserve to suffer for the machinations of Banker Terrorists. Under my regime, aggrieved borrowers will have a right to cancel unfair mortgages with Banker Terrorists.

I will take swift action. Your so-called “Congress” takes far too long to act. I will immediately discipline the banking industry. We do not have time to debate. We must advance all along the line. We will not retreat. You rapacious Bank Terrorists (Ihr raubenslustigen Bank-Terroristen)! You deserve to be disciplined. How could you let your greed blind you to the good of this Nation? Didn’t you see that the People could not afford the homes you sold them? Instead, you thought about yourselves. Yes, the government now gives you bailout money. But you will not get away so easily under me. You will publicly appear before the People on national television and beg forgiveness for your greed. I will personally reprimand you for being undisciplined rogues and have you whipped for insolence. We will not solve this crisis unless you Americans change your greedy ways. I will make an example out of these greedy Banker Terrorists and ruthless Money Pirates (willkürliche Geldpiraten).

In Germany, I invigorated the economy by intertwining government aid with economic enterprise. I knew that I could not allow private labor barons (Arbeitsbarone) to do what they wanted all the time. That is why I instituted rigorous government oversight in business. I imposed minimum wage and child labor laws. I permitted collective bargaining and I even provided State health insurance because I knew that private business would not. I created a government pension fund in 1884 so that old people would not go into poverty. The Imperial German government understood that it represents the People; and we had an obligation to care for the people. Yet here the government does not do enough to care for the people. You let businesses run free and let workers go without medical care. You merciless industry captains (Ihr unbarmherzigen Industriehauptmänner)! You wonder why the Nation is in crisis. I will tell you: Because you only thought about yourselves! You have no discipline. You did not consider how your actions would affect the People. You have no sense of honor or shame. Yes, the government needs you. But you also have obligations to the government and the People. Under my regime, I will scrutinize you. No longer will you be concerned solely with profit. Now you must publicly account for yourselves. If you do not, I will have you paraded shirtless in front of your workers and flogged. That will put some discipline into you, you greedy scoundrel (Du gieriger Lump)!

Recently your government agreed to pay $782 billion to help floundering banks and companies. You also allocated funds to provide for increased government health care and unemployment insurance. This is a good step, but you must do more. If you had been more disciplined in the beginning, you would not have been in this position. But there is no use debating the past. Today we confront a Depression and we have no time to bicker. We will overcome this mess with blood and iron. That means we must stand up to the problem and bravely fight it. That means the government must spend money in order to save the People from ruin. What good will your government be if the People are destitute? They will overthrow you unless you do something now.

Your Republicans do not seem to understand that. Are you mad? You do not want the government to take action to confront this economic crisis? You do not want to spend any money? How do you propose that we rescue banks and employers? By sitting around and talking about tax cuts? You cowards! I do not like spending money, either. But in these circumstances we do not have the luxury to fantasize about unbridled free market virtues. Yes, it would be nice to cut taxes to allow more enterprise. Yet if we do that now, the People would starve. I believe in reason. Reason dictates that we take immediate, reassuring action to help the People. The People must believe in their government again. You, on the other hand, want the government to do nothing to ease the People’s plight. Rather, you want to send a philosophical message that spending is bad and tax cuts are good. You idiots, this is no time for abstract philosophizing! We must act. I did not philosophize in the War with Austria or France. I did what was necessary. Furthermore, I understand that at times we must spend money even if we do not wish to spend money. This is no time to advocate small government. Small government allowed these Banker Terrorists and Money Pirates to ruin your economy. Surely you do not advocate allowing them to do it again? Step aside, you unreasonable cowards. I have a Nation to save.

I have a conservative reputation. You Republicans probably cannot believe that I am siding with your President Obama on these matters. I may be a conservative, but I am not stupid. In fact, I believe that your President must go further to clean up this wretched free market mess (unverschämte Freimarktschweinerei). In Germany, I created a large, activist government. I introduced government spending programs that would make your conservative blood boil. I did this because I understood that government does not rise and fall with the wealthy; it rises and falls with the entire population. Not everyone can succeed in a free market economy. That is why the government must provide a safety net to protect those who fall through. If the government does not care for its People, Depressions like this will shake popular support. Why do you think I allowed for pension funds, health care, unemployment insurance and welfare? I hated to spend money, but I did not want a revolution on my hands. Capitalism is a good system, but unless you mix some socialism in with it, your government will fall with the stock market. By caring for the People, you can immunize your government from popular dissent. And why is the government here if not to represent and defend the People? Don’t you Americans believe that? I will force you to start acting like you do.

I will restore public faith in the government through discipline and strength. You summoned me to help save you. I will root out the Banker Terrorists and greedy Money Pirates who advanced themselves at your expense. I will harshly discipline dogs like Bernard Madoff who destroyed your faith in the stock market. Put simply, I will bring order to your lawless financial markets. You have seen what happens when you allow Banker Terrorists to police themselves. Never again. Under my regime, I will swiftly bring these pirates to justice. With discipline, you soon will be able to borrow money without fear. You will again be able to shop for items you can afford. You will be able to pay your rent and go to the doctor when you must. And through wise government intervention, you will have employment.

Do not fear government intervention. I have the strength to do what must be done in this crisis. Unlike your slow-moving Congress, I will scrap ideas that do not work. Unlike your Republicans, I will not cling to free market aspirations because those aspirations almost sank the whole ship. If government must spend money to rescue the Nation, then I will spend money. This is not undisciplined; this is reasonable. I may be harsh, but I am fair. To business owners, bankers and commercial men, I say you have nothing to fear. You will still make your profits. I will simply closely watch you to make sure you do not pillage the People. Finally, if your Supreme Court tries to stand in my way, I will discipline each Justice by forcing them to stand before the Nation and individually explain why they are obstructing our recovery efforts. This is a life-or-death struggle; we do not have time to ruminate. We must act now without worrying about what some American jurist has to say about it.

I will not allow this Nation to disgrace itself. Rather, I will break it back into line like an unruly soldier. Americans, this financial crisis will not destroy you. With blood, iron and effort, I will establish a new financial order. This is no longer about petty profits and free market excess. This is about total victory for all (Endsieg für alle). Achtung! Ein neuer Tag dämmert auf! (A new day is dawning!). Are you ready for it? I am here to crush the Banker Terrorists and Money Pirates who ruined your lives. Rally behind me for discipline and German solutions that work. Would you rather suffer with half-measures, political bickering and vacillation? Certainly not. You want jobs, health care and a stable stock market. I will give them all to you—quickly. And I will punish all who threaten to undermine the new economic Reich.

Enough discussion. We must get to work now.

1 comment:

SteveW said...

Hmm, and who watches the money pirates in the government? Enron executives and Madoff go to jail. The inventors and perpetrators of the social security system - a far larger ponzi scheme and/or shell game than these - are hailed as heroes even as the system collapses. It's still considered a badge of pride to cling to FDR and Reagan. Even members of the other party grudgingly give credit to these two, even though they are largely responsible for social security (insanity) as we know it.

The government complains that banks stopped lending. To get banks to lend again, the government will pull 1.75 TT $$ out of the credit markets next year (by the current estimates that always overestimate revenues in a decline, and underestimate revenues in a rise; and last I checked we're in a decline). Seems like that should help. They will save the sinking ship by bailing water out of the front of the boat and dumping it into the back of the boat.