Friday, August 27, 2010

The Krauts Are All Right

I'm greeted by David Brooks in the Times this morning, considering the recovery in Germany, which is far more robust than America's. He concludes that the Obama stimulus was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Amongst the things Brooks doesn't notice about the German recovery are:

1. Germany remains, with respect to China and other places, a high-wage country. So their success disproves the notion that a high-wage country can't retain manufacturing jobs.
2. Germany has far stronger unions than does the United States. So their success disproves the notion that organized labor destroys private enterprise, and that unions are evil.
3. Germany benefits mightily in that, in a continent of trading countries with wildly diverse economies and needs, the common currency is managed largely to Germany's interests.
4. German industry employs large numbers of foreigners under arrangements other than citizenship. This offers an alternative to the demonization of illegal immigrants in this country, which obscures their exploitation by businesses and their actual economic contributions to the country.
5. Germany retains a large manufacturing base, which is actively supported by the government, but remains robustly profitable and in the private sector. This disproves the notion that government should never use tax revenues to stimulate the economy, that taxation inhibits rather than stimulates economic activity, that the 'free market' is the only way even pragmatically, much less ideologically, to deal with macroeconomic conditions.
6. Germany has universal health insurance. It costs a bit more than half what ours does per capita, and delivers care whose quality is, by every measure, equal or superior to ours.
7. German workers enjoy a four to six week paid vacation. AMerican workers are lucky to get a two-week vacation.
8. German college expenses are dramatically lower than those of the United States, supported by tax revenues.
9. The German transportation infrastructure is superior to ours.

Other than that, Brooks nails it, I think.

What a poopyhead...


BlakNo1 said...

I think we've figured out by now that facts mean nothing to the likes of Brooks.

ProfWombat said...

And he's one of the better ones...

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Another difference: German corporations are required to have seats on their boards of directors occupied by members of the work-force/unions.

ProfWombat said...

Woody: yup. And German unions like IG Metall aren't red-baited whenever they actually represent labor in a context the slightest bit wider than wages and benefits for their members.