ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Monday, May 23, 2005

Germany's Schroeder

This from the Wall Street Journal(subscribe to see the entire thing and other great content from WSJ). It appears that my previous post has been confirmed by events. I remind everyone - the SPD losing in Northrhein-Westphalia is tantamount to the Dems losing NY, MA, CT, and VT - a total rejection of the party:

BERLIN – German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder plans to hold a parliamentary confidence vote by the beginning of July, the chairman of his Social Democratic Party said Monday, a move that would mean new elections must be held by Sept. 18 if Mr. Schroeder loses.

Mr. Schroeder on Sunday called for early national elections after his party suffered a stinging defeat in a state vote in a traditional stronghold.
The call for early elections is a risky political gamble by Chancellor Schroeder to stay alive politically amid stagnation and mass unemployment in the world's third-largest economy. The surprise move by Mr. Schroeder, which would bring his administration to an end a year ahead of schedule, came after voters in Germany's biggest state, North Rhine-Westphalia, kicked the Social Democrats out of power after 39 years of continuous rule – a sign of how the center-left party has lost much of its traditional support through its failure to revive the economy despite a series of painful overhauls.

Sunday's defeat robbed the national government of crucial votes in Germany's upper house of parliament -- where state governments are represented -- giving the opposition conservative Christian Democrats even more power to block legislation. It also made clear voter discontent with the national government in Berlin, which opinion polls showed was a main reason for the regional defeat.
But the chancellor's party has yet to spell out whether it will run on a pro-business ticket, sticking with the market-oriented overhauls of the welfare state and labor market it has pursued for the past two years -- or on a business-bashing platform, blaming corporations and foreign investors for high unemployment. During the past two months, the party has veered toward the latter course in a bid to win back its traditional supporters among Germany's industrial work force and lower-income groups, who feel they have paid the price for the weak economy and for cuts to the welfare state.

Isn't it sad that the parties of the Left can't decide whether to be "pro-business" (which they recognize as the long-term solution to economic ills) or to pander to the workers and bash business (throwing them some raw meat while still pursuing free-trade policies). This explains much of the Left's difficulty getting traction - they can't decide what they stand for on any given issue.

Brian adds:
There's another aticle in the WSJ that illustrates this high cost of labor that Europe (and Germany in particular) has to deal with to drive growth and keep high quality businesses in the country.
Profitability in the services business [at IBM] was hurt in part because of high "fixed costs" in Western Europe, particularly Germany, Mr. Joyce said. The services business's largest cost is labor, and an ability to rapidly add, subtract or move people in response to changing market conditions is critical for success in the business.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler