Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cents and sensibility

There is a place, a place that every conservative politician, every teabagger, every Republican should hate. In this place they have strong labor unions that protect workers, high taxes that are used to pay for universal health care, and heavy regulation on business and industry. According to the conventional wisdom, which no conservative or teabagger or Republican really possesses, this place should have a floundering economy that's mired in permanent recession or worse. This place must be hell on earth. But instead, they love this place but they don't ever want to see it's success replicated over here.

What and where is this magical place you ask? Well, it's a country over in Europe and it's an economic powerhouse even though it has stringent regulation on business and industry, even though it has 'socialized medicine,' even though it's workers are overwhelmingly represented by unions and they get three more weeks of vacation that Americans do.

It's Germany.
That's right people, Germany. By all accounts what with the strong unions, the workers getting more time off than we've ever gotten in this country, the high taxes, the redistribution of wealth, the socialized medicine, and the stringent regulations on business and industry Germany should be a basket case. According to the right wing economic pundits and the Milton Friedman acolytes, Germany should be the little country that couldn't. But guess what? Not only is Germany surviving. it's thriving. And it's doing so because of the high regulations, the high taxes, the strong unions, the universal health care, and the numerous holidays it's citizens enjoy.

The reason why the global downturn hasn't hit Germany is simple, there is still demand in Germany for manufactured goods because German workers can afford them. And German workers can afford them because they have strong jobs, employment security, a strong social safety net, and a government that is forward thinking and creating alternative energy jobs. And also because of the fact that on all German, and most European, corporate boards workers have a voice because it's required by law that workers have a seat at the top table.

Germany is doing so well in fact that the buildings and the memorial monument being built at 'Ground Zero' in New York city are being built with steel imported from Germany. Imagine that, the Germans with their highly regulated industry that relies on 'expensive' alternative energy, high unionization, with their highly taxed workforce, can still export steel cheaper than it can be made in the USA.
So the next time you hear a teabagger, a right wing TV or radio pundit scream about unions, keep in mind Germany is one of the most highly unionized countries on earth and it's an economic powerhouse. When they say that fair and equitable taxes and socialized medicine will kill an economy, remember that Germany has high taxes and government run health care and it's the economic leader in the western hemisphere. When they tell you that regulation is strangling business and industry, tell them that Germany has much more regulation that we here in the USA do and that German companies lead the world.

For years they said that if you look closely at the design of a bumblebee it shouldn't be able to fly and yet it does. Well, now I'm telling you we can have a fairly taxed country that has single payer health care for all and one that regulates business and industry in the interests of the highly unionized people. And we actually had that country once, we had it starting in the aftermath of the Great Depression and we kept it going until we allowed Reagan to dismantle it starting in the 1980's. We can do this, we can learn from the successes of post war Germany and we can be great once more.


Christine said...

Well said. But you forgot to mention they have the best beer in the world too.

dguzman said...

You brilliant ape, you.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I have great love for Bavaria especially at this time of year. I wish people could learn from their lessons and reward themselves for their hard work, not their corporate masters.