“We’re not doing this for the Greeks, but for us,” said Angela Merkel amidst a cacophony of doomsday scenarios. It’s all about propping up German banks and exporters. For the French, however, the European debt crisis doesn’t seem to exist.
The White House is lobbying European governments to shut up and do something. No more disputes in public. No more disagreements over fundamental issues. The world is collapsing, and it’s time to act boldly. Hank Paulson’s extortion racket is back.
Geithner gets smacked down, and Germany might be threatened by a populist movement to exit the E.U. For the first time ever, a clear majority of Germans no longer sees any benefits to being part of the Eurozone. And two-thirds reject aiding Greece and other heavily indebted countries.
And BMW blinks. With sales of new vehicles approaching 18 million units in 2011, China is the largest car market in the world, far ahead of the US. No major car maker would want to miss out on the opportunities in China. Yet, there is a problem: Pressure by the Chinese Government to transfer the newest technologies.
The right of German religious organizations to terminate an employee for violating their moral codex, even in deeply private situations, has been affirmed by the Federal Labor Court. And they’re among the top employers in Germany! If you’re a divorcee and work for a Catholic hospital, you may get fired if you remarry. Heck, you may get fired for getting divorced.
“We’re on the way to a worldwide financial dictatorship governed by bankers,” said Peter Gauweiler, German Member of Parliament. “We don’t support Greece. We support 25 or 30 worldwide investment banks and their insane activities.”
Marine Le Pen, president of the Front National and one of the top contenders in the 2012 presidential election, said the unspeakable. And the media printed it. And now word is out.
The Bundesbank lashes out at the ECB for its decision to print money and buy crappy bonds of eurozone countries that lived high on the hog for years but are crumbling under a pile of debt. This puts it on collision course with the German industrialists that got rich off those countries. Angela Merkel is caught in between.
The run-up of the Swiss franc entailed a stock-market crash, gigantic hits to wealth invested overseas, and big losses in Swiss pension funds. Companies are reeling. Layoffs and a recession are next. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) flooded the market with francs, intervened in the currency markets, and forced real interest rates into negative territory. Without much success.
And so is obesity. Good food and leisurely meals bien arrosé are considered the glue that keeps families, and French society, together. And yet, chain restaurants have elbowed their way in and now control 20% of the total restaurant market.