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Comments

Are people living on social welfare implemented in the US-stats as they are in Germany?

As I was writing more stats have been added - I've meant the unemployment stats.

concerning your statistics on unemployment usa vs. germany, is the method of counting the same? us numbers are usually beautified in contrast to german numbers.

Note from David: I have heard this argument so often... Fact is the German unemployment figures were "beautified" until about a year or so when the government decided to try to become more truthful. Official German unemployment figures still don't tell the full truth, but they are closer to reality now than before.
If you actually believe that German unemployment situation is close to or better than the U.S. situation, and differences are just rooted in the American underestimation of the "true" stats, you need to see a doctor. Now.

You have hit on a major reason for German anger towards the United States. German media from the national level down to the smallest local newspaper continually emphasize how bad it is in the U.S. compared to Germany. Germans are better educated, more cultured, have a richer history, a superior economic/social model, more holidays, build better cars, have a better health care system, less violence, less poverty, etc. And if you don't believe it, you can see for yourself in the photo essays published in Spiegel and Stern. But whenever the numbers come out perception clashes with reality. How can a country that is truely multicultural but composed of dimwitted gun totting superficial smiling idiots who can't even vote for the right President consistently outperform Germany and the EU in virtually every meaningful economic category? Go figure. Worse, how can such a nation be more influential on the world stage than all of cultured Europe combined? McSchnitzel anyone?

@david: ...and differences are just rooted...
i never wrote or assumed that. i was just wondering, why you combine two statistics into one from two different sources, without dropping a note on the method of data acquisition.

One of the most important and self-declared aspects of "socialism" is to care for the social weak - the unemployed people. David, using the Spiegel charts, you state the German socialism failed and continues to fail. The statistics clearly show that the gouvernment wasn't able to turn the trend. But since 1998 the problems displayed in the charts didn't increase significantly. Overall I'd say the gouvernment was able to keep them on a constant level. This is some sort of doing to. Saying they failed ignore this.

And now the question why I'm writing this. What socialistic about the German socialism is the amount of care and the live situation of the unemployed. The previous poster already compared the duration of benefits. Can anyone name numbers about the US monthly benefits for unemployed people? A comparison would be interesting.

Overall the social system and the fact that it could be kept until today is one of the big advantages I see in this country. A gouvernment only slowly lowering the level of support while keeping the system is a success in my opinion. Of course this social safety is a personal preference. But if you don't share it you shouldn't compare the economic outcome without weighting the goals of the politics behind.

So my impression is based on the goal of economic liberty and individual and corporate possibilities the USA is a highly successful nation. And based on the goal of keeping the wealth of the social weak Germany is still successful. That this system might not last is another question. Failure of the gouvernment would mean both an economic crash and the failure of the benefit system. None of this applies.

I found these charts to be interesting. It would appear as lars has pointed out things are not nearly as bad as they would appear.

There is in fact social justice in Germany and all Germans should be very proud of this accomplishment.

It would equally appear it is possible for the current economic situation to continue indefinitely and the average German’s life would not change at all.

So the current discussion about unemployment, GDP, national debt, etc at this point in time should not be a significant factor in the pending national election. Probably more important is European and foreign policy, efforts to obtain a UNSC seat, the implementation of Kyoto, investing more in R&D, improvements to education, and job security.

It would seem the party which has done the best in these areas is in fact, the spd.

@Lars: You say it isn't a failure when the numbers keep "constant". Well, it seems however like even the SPD doesn't agree with you here. I want to remind you on what Schröder himself said before the last election: "If we don't cut the unemployment in half, we do not deserve to be re-elected."

Further more: You say we could "uphold" the social system and this was a good thing. Well, did we? Is it? What we are upholding here is a mechanism that has brought and will continue to bring down our country if left in place with only little or inconsquent changes. Our social system is the REASON for this number of unemployment. The reason isn't Globalization or global changes. It is our system which is not flexible enough to adopt to those changes, it tries to ignore them ("Go away!"), and this is a failure of the system.

You reasoned that we can be glad about the fact that our system keeps social support up for the unemployed for a longer period of time than, say, in the US. Well, what you seem to overlook here is that it would be WAY higher social justice for people to actually find work. Life for the unemployed - at least those long-term - is miserable, and the system can't change this. Instead, it made it worse now with Hartz IV etc. So, while the support in the US might be shorter, people will also have better chances to get out of what is a miserable condition. While we run a Welfare-State that actually tends to REDUCE those chances and the whole economy in the long-run. And tends to BRING people into the situation where they have to rely on state-support in the first place. I cannot see how this is to be seen as some kind of "achievement".

It's true, the statistics are different in Germany and the USA. You should use the standardised OECD statistics, e.g.

http://www.oecd.org/document/39/0,2340,en_2649_34487_35104743_1_1_1_1,00.html

The numbers are not that different and the critics are silenced.

@Niko

Given the US statistical method for determining unemployment (census of about 110.000 people), working for one hour per month means "employed". Here in Germany we would call that "Schwarzarbeit", "Nachbarschaftshilfe" oder "geringfügiger Zuverdienst" and the corresponding person would still be considered unemployed and entitled for full unemployment compensation.

Niko,

Review the standardised OECD statistics.

Then let them spin it anyway they want to.

Besides they are only numbers.

As stated in my previous post, am not sure this is as bad as it looks for Germany.

We have a saying here - Just keep on keeping on.

That might be the best course of action right now. Or why change horses in the middle of the stream.

It would appear that the spd has a good plan of how to attack all of the current issues. None of this would be a problem had the US not gone into Iraq.


there is an interesing book called Amerikanische Verhältnisse.. compares the two systems.

highly recommended.
I hear the old 'social justice' line being used. Can anyone tell me what the hell that means?

I am an American who lives in Germany. yes, the American system is harsher.. but it isn't quite the Zerrbild you are led to believe.

I was unemployed in Michigan in 1996. Got comparable levels of unemployment benefits as what I received when I was unemployed in Germany. And yes after six months in the US that was it- no more money.
But as an able bodied single male, I really had no excuse not to work after that. Even if it was just at McDonalds. and to be honest I was (and am) ok with that.

What is socially just about a poorly paid janitor who is working (i mean in Germany btw) subsidizing some laid off white collar worker for years on end?
the lower paid working person subsidizes the more affluent unemployed person ( a white collar person would get more unemployment because of his higher income). that was what it USED to be like in Germany. THAT was social justice?

Hartz 4 changed that to an extent thank goodness.


There is a safety net in the US as well. But you cannot use the safety net as a hammock like you (at least before Hartz 4) used to be able to do in Germany.

In difficult economic times this six months can often be extended, btw..

the length and amount of unemployment insurance varies from State to State.

Hartz 4 was a start. they needed to make things easier to fire someone here.

oh well what the hell do I know, I am just a cowboy capitalist.

@Niko
havent you heard about Bush's plan to make the unemployment numbers look better?
he encourages businesses to hire people for one hour a month.
/sarcasm off

And I always here from the Germans that the AMercians work MORE hours than them. Wish I
had been able to find a one hour job when I was working in the States..
/sarcasm off

Believe me when an American employer hires someone, he wants them there as much as possible.
I speak from experience.
I had to fight with employers just to get another week off (unpaid even)

THAT is a major disadvantage of the American system and is the major reason I am here.. URLAUB!

@ Martina:

If you want to look at the GDP change by year and not quarter, this is what you get since 2001:

USA: 2001 0.8; 2002 1.6; 2003 2.7; 2004 4.2

GER: 2001 1.2; 2002 0.2; 2003 0.0; 2004 1.6

Of course in 2001, the USA experienced September 11, which did put a damper on the economy to put it mildly. Other than that, the US economy's GDP grew at a yearly rate of between 2.5% and 4.5% from 1992 to 2000. Just look at the charts attached to the links in the posts. You will have an awfully difficult time convincing yourself the German economy is outperforming the US economy.

@ amiexpat

Right on. Of course there are advantages and disadvantages to both systems. And what works in Germany might not necessarily work in the US and vice-versa. But we are fed-up with people using the term "amerikanische Verhaeltnisse" and immediately assuming things are so bad and unjust in America compared to Germany. Usually the people who use the term "amerikanische Verhaeltnisse" in a derogatory manner are the most ignorant about America. And in many ways, things are much better in America economically and in many other fields for that matter.

That doesn't mean, however, that Germany doesn't have numerous aspects that might appeal to you more or are simply better. Take beer for example :)

@Ray D.

Why do you emphasize GDP growth-rate so much. Having a shrinking population and half of that population is over 50 now, where should that growth come from? Will over fifties start building houses? Will they need a new car every 3 years, just to buy a box of beer in the supermarket?.

BTW, the average worker will be in "Vorruhestand" at the age of 54 now. That means this half of the population is in pension!

Joe wrote: "There is in fact social justice in Germany and all Germans should be very proud of this accomplishment."

Two points, first please define social justice. What's usually called 'social justice' is neither social, nor justice.

Second, if social justice already reigns in Germany, why do so many Germans still call for even more social justice. Everyone from the SPD, Greens, PDS, WASG to whomever, calls for more social justice. Are they mistaken or do they just not recognize the existence of social justice in Germany.


A few comments about the realities and economic/cultural philosophies of American unemployment

I would say that for at least since the beginning of Clinton's administration, the US has had virtual no unemployment. That has been about 14 years now. What I mean is that there have been more jobs, then workers. Hence, tens of millions of legal and illegal immigrants.

Another thing, the US population continues to grow, and get younger, yet job growth, that is the total number of jobs, continues to grow. David, you might want to chart the increase in jobs over time. I am of the impression that in Germany there has been very slow growth in jobs, hence tensions over keeping an existing job.

Another thing. If you are healthy, you are expected, after a time, to find a job, any job. Everyone who can, is expected to support themselves and is not entitled to live off the work and sweat of others.

If you can't find a job because the area's local industries have collapsed, changed, outsourced, whatever, move or get used to eking out a living in a dying town.

If you are born, or become disabled or severely injured on or off the job, working or not, the US has life long programs, housing, health care for you. These programs are often abused.

In general, people are still expected to work and provide for themselves. Government is expected to only keep or created the economic environment, but isn't responsible for you. Not working and receiving even deserved and earned unemployment benefits is still looked down upon. It is true that after a long period, after you unemployment checks/program stops, you will be dropped from the unemployment statistics. The idea is that you have had your chance, the state has helped you, but now you choose not to work and should not be counted as one of those who are looking for work. This is fair and honest.

Jobs are so easy to get that people often use unemployment as a vacation period, choosing not to return to available jobs until their benefits expire. Often, they collect unemployment benefits while working a under the table cash jobs. Many people are job snobs and prefer to live off the work of others than lower themselves to a job they feel is beneath them. It has been my observation that these feelings amongst these types of people are in error as the jobs are usually better than the person.


Lastly the discussion about not working would be pointless if economic growth would exceed workers. I think we all agree that working is better than getting a check from the government that is taken from the efforts of someone who is hard at work.

I understand the success and desire and now a slight addiction to the German model for Germans. But now is a different time and Germans and Germany need to change and bring it's considerable labor talents to grow new industries and services that will make Germany and the world a better place. There is no law of physics that limits economic growth and prosperity. German reformation need not, nor would I expect it to copy American behavior.

@Ray D.

you and I are on the same page.
I agree with you on the Zerrbilder..
everybody thinks they know everything about the US
I remember I was talking to someone (German) about how I got laid off.
I mentioned (off the cuff) that I got unemployment
benefits and a decent severance.
He was incredulous!!
severance? in America?
unemployment insurance? in America?
the land of social darwinism?

he - an educated white collar German - did not want to believe me.
If I could get six weeks vacation in the US I would be on the first plane back.
this web site gives me a place to vent as I am too polite to dish out what I am given in person..

@ Ray D,

"Take beer for example :)"

This spring I was in Bochum. Beer was running me 300 euros a day.( I had a lot of instant friends, whom as luck would have, liked beer too!) I was like a crack addict parachuted into Columbia. Next time I will be prepared!

@Paul from Florida

Still watching MIAMI VICE? Yes, everybody in Florida drives in a Ferrari and wears white Armani suits.

And there is an abundance of jobs too. Maybe you should tell this crap to the black people and the hispanic immigrants in their rotten trailer parks. And that you will take them away their food stamps.

Preferably you should do that after dusk.

Listed below are 15 commonly-held myths about social, economic, health and environmental conditions in the United States, followed by facts that debunk the myths. The facts have been gleaned from the Pocket World in Figures 2005, published by the The Economist magazine.

Myth # 1: The U.S. ranks low in human development.
Fact: On the Human Development Index, which measures literacy, life expectancy and income levels, the U.S. ranks above Japan, Switzerland, Denmark, Holland, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Austria, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and 38 other countries.

Myth #2: The U.S. is uncompetitive in global markets.
Fact: The U.S. is the world's biggest exporter, twice as big as Japan and three times as big as China. It also ranks first in manufacturing output, with 80 percent more output than Japan and more than twice as much output as either China or Germany. And it is surpassed in per-capita Gross Domestic Product by only Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland, all of which are tiny, lily-white countries. The social-welfare countries of Germany, France and Italy have a per-capita GDP that is only 66 percent, 67 percent and 57 percent, respectively, of the per-capita GDP of the U.S.

Myth #3: Because the U.S. doesn't produce enough scientists and engineers, it has lost its edge in innovation.
Fact: It ranks first on the Innovation Index, which is a measure of human resources skills, market incentive structures and the interaction between the business and scientific sectors. It also ranks first in the number of Nobel Prize winners in economics, medicine, physics and chemistry. The first-place rankings are in spite of the U.S. ranking fifth in R&D spending as a percentage of GDP and dropping to 10th place on the Index of Economic Freedom.

Myth #4: American roads are congested due to a lack of mass transit.
Fact: The U.S. ranks 42nd in the number of vehicles per kilometer of road. Germany, a country with a lot of mass transit, ranks third.

Myth #5: The U.S. is the most car-crazy country.
Fact: It ranks 12th in the number of cars per 1,000 people, surpassed by such countries as New Zealand, Luxembourg, Iceland, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Australia.

Myth #6: The U.S. has a high rate of auto accidents.
Fact: It ranks 31st in the number of people injured per miles traveled. Italy, Canada, Belgium, Israel and Germany have more injuries.

Myth #7: The U.S. ranks low in educational achievement.
Fact: Only one nation, South Korea, ranks higher than the U.S. in the percentage of the population enrolled in post-secondary education, in spite of the U.S. having a large number of immigrants from third-world countries.

Myth #8: The U.S. leads in breast cancer, lung cancer and diabetes.
Fact: It does not make the top-20 list in deaths per 100,000 people for breast cancer. The top five countries for breast cancer are Denmark, Iceland, Belgium, United Kingdom and Hungary. The U.S. ranks eighth in lung cancer, surpassed by the Netherlands, Italy, Croatia, United Kingdom, Denmark, Belgium and Hungary. And it ranks 14th in diabetes, surpassed by such countries as Canada, Spain, Italy, Greece and Singapore.

Myth #9: Americans don't read books.
Fact: The U.S. is tied with Singapore in fourth place for book sales per capita. Japan, Norway and Germany rank first, second and third, respectively. France is in 17th place.

Myth #10: American teenagers watch the most TV and drink the most alcohol.
Fact: The U.S. ranks tenth in the percentage of 15-year-old males who watch TV four or more hours a day on weekdays. Ukraine is in first place. The U.S. does not make the top-14 list in 15-year-olds who drink alcohol weekly.

Myth #11: Americans are heavy smokers and drinkers.
Fact: The U.S. does not make the top-20 list in per-capita smoking. Greece is in first place. In beer consumption, the U.S. is in 11th place; and in alcohol consumption, it doesn't make the top-23 list. The Czech Republic ranks first in beer consumption, and Luxembourg ranks first in the consumption of alcoholic drinks.

Myth #12: The U.S. leads in crime.
Fact: The top ten countries for serious assaults per 100,000 people are in rank order: Australia, Sweden, South Africa, Belgium, Ghana, Swaziland, Fiji, Jamaica, Netherlands, United States. The top ten countries for theft are: Australia, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Norway, Belgium, France, Austria, United States, Germany, Iceland.

Myth #13: The U.S. leads in defense spending.
Fact: When measured as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, the United States does not make the top-39 list. North Korea is first, Israel is tenth, and Singapore is nineteenth. Most Arab countries are on the list, and many rank near the top. For example, Saudi Arabia is fifth, Kuwait is sixth, and Jordan is eleventh.

Myth #14: The U.S. leads in threatened species.
Fact: It is in 21st place in mammal species under threat and in 10th place in bird species under threat. Indonesia, China, India and Brazil rank in the top five in both categories.

Myth #15: The U.S. leads in sprawl and deforestation.
Fact: It ranks third in the amount of forested land and second in the amount of land under protected status. It doesn't make the top-48 list of nations with the highest rural population density. __________
Mr. Cantoni is an author and columnist. His new book, Breaking from the Herd: Political Essays for Independent Thinkers by a Maverick Columnist, retails for $18.95 but can be purchased directly from him for $10. You can contact him at either ccan2@aol.com or haalt1@aol.com.

What most Germans need to realize is that by 2025 60% of the evr shrinking population will be retirement age. What will the other 40% do, faced with an ever increasing Tax burden and increasing poverty? Those are facts, not myth. The US, on the other hand will continue to experience growth both in GDP as well as population.

Just as an aside, I am retired and would not want to trade our retirement system with that of Germany. Just one Question: How many Millionaires are there under the German retirement system vs. millions of them in the US?

@ Annon,

Where you've been sport? Actually, I spend my summer in Massachusetts at the lake house, and drive a Chevy. I hate suits and dress in old boat shoes, shorts and t-shirts.

Anyways my little pet,

Florida population since 1950, up 600%

St.lucie and Cape Coral were among the top 10 fastest-growing cities in The nation.
From April 2000 to July 2003, Florida added about 485,000 housing units.

Florida unemployment rate, June, 3.9%

I confess, you got me. In truth I wear a Colonel Sanders suit, live on a plantation, whip minority slaves and Miami isn't the banking capital for all of Latin and Southern America, and if you should ever fly into any of the 9 international airports just in Florida alone, don't let all those nice, detached homes with pools and boats in the yard fool you. It is all painted on a lightweight screen that is poled over huge hectors of open sewage, tin shacked, tire burning slums.

@?
Ever had a look in the classified ads of the Miami Herald? You explain me how come that a craftsman with a hourly wage of §6.95 will affort that "nice, detached home with pool and boat in the yard"?


I'm curious.

BTW a earned the same amount as a postgraduate student at the USF, but this was twenty years ago.

@I

"Ever had a look in the classified ads of the Miami Herald? You explain me how come that a craftsman with a hourly wage of §6.95 will affort that "nice, detached home with pool and boat in the yard"?"

Craftsmen? $6.95 hour?
Carpenters, plumbers, electricians, boat riggers are getting 25$/hour or more. Beginning mechanics 14$ with full benefits, uniforms, paid vacations and raises in 90 days. Boat captains on yachts 60K....

Typical two car garage, two bath, three bedroom detached home in Florida, BRAND NEW, 5 grand down payment, 800$ a month to own.

If you don't bleieve the unemployment numbers then go the OECD.ORG where they used standardized stats.

The fact is that German unemployment is at post war highs. Indeed, as I mentioned in numerous previous postings - Wirschaftsblunder!

@Kalifornia Mike

post war highs - unfortunately this is true.

Remember Dr. Kohls "flourishing landscapes". Subtract the 25% unemployment rate of McPom et al. and the transferred EUR1.5T and you would have about the same rate like in the US.

Or as Möllemann used to say "Die Wirtschaft wird in der Wirtschaft gemacht".

Could we have same graphs for 1992-1998
I mean, when socialist Kohl ruled Germany and republican Clinton in the US?

@querdenker..
clinton was a pragmatist.. he implemented welfare reform... clinton quote 'the era of big government is over'.
clinton also had problems with the ICC and Kyoto (it wasn't just big bad Bush).
to classify Clinton as a democrat in the mold of Kerry or Dukakis or Mondale.. well sorry doesn't cut it.

amiexpat you are right
But now big government is back.
Look at government spending.
If the German government had the same possibilities of spending our GDP would be up as well.
It's not the only point of course.
But many problems Germany has no go back to problems not taken on in the 80s and 90s

@anonymous: You know I'm getting really sick of this bullshit with the downtrodden minority business. I don't know whether you're German or American or Black or White or Hispanic. But whatever you are, you're either blind or you don't want to see what's in front of you.

You act like every Black and Hispanic is living at poverty level, and collecting food stamps, while only the Whites have it made. That idea is so laughable and so far outside my experience, that it isn't even funny.

I'm Hispanic. I was born, bred and raised in Texas. I now live in a little town outside of Houston, but I started my academic career in an historically *BLACK UNIVERSITY*. Big shock, bet you didn't know that there were historically Black colleges and universities, did you? We have three right here in Texas that I know of.

I saw plenty of nice cars and nice clothes, and met Black and Hispanic people whose parents were professional people like doctors, lawyers, etc. And guess what...just because a Black person drives a Mercedes, that doesn't mean he's a drug dealer. There is a strong middle class and upper middle class Black and Hispanic population who are conservatives. These people are *not* the exception to the rule, nor are they Kiss-Ass Uncle Toms as you liberals are so fond of labeling any member of a minority race who has the temerity to be both a Conservative *AND* a Republican.

This has nothing to do with the topic at hand, I know. It's just that I'm sick and tired of people referring to every Hispanic they see in a picture as an illegal immigrant. I noticed this when people were talking about the oil rig workers in the Spiegel article. They were referred to as illegal immigrants. Sorry to disappoint, but these guys were probably born in this country, have at least a high school education, and get paid about as much or more than the average first-year teacher does in Texas.

And yes, there is unemployment in the US. But guess what...despite the excuses a lot of Black and Hispanic leaders like to make for why the Black and Hispanic population can't get ahead...it's still possible to get a job in the US, if you're qualified for it. I'm not going to say racial discrimination doesn't exist, it surely does, but it cuts both ways, thank you very much.

Now of course, you're going to insult my intelligence by insisting that I've been brainwashed and calling me an Uncle Tom or whatever...whatever label you liberals like to pin on someone who doesn't agree with their perception of what it's like to be a minority. That's fine. But I know who I am, and I know where I live. And it sure isn't in any slum nor do I collect food stamps BY CHOICE. I have a degree in education that took me 15 years to earn, by golly, and even if I owe student loans up the ying-yang, I'm proud of who I am and what I've accomplished, and I'll be damned if some white liberal is going to call ME a downtrodden minority!

Oh, and one more thing: there are RICH Black and Hispanic entrepeneurs who made their money from their hard work, not because they are some kind of sports superstar or some kind of actor/actress. Take a look around and smell the coffee, anon, because for us, the days of blaming Whitey are OVER.

"Germans... build better cars"

Oh, if that was still the case! Amazingly, this is no longer so. German cars nowadays lag American cars like GM for quality and reliability.

Not that I believe that American cars are the best. The simple fact of the matter is Japanese cars, particularly Toyotas and Hondas, are superior to every single auto brand in the world. That's why I drive Toyotas. I'd prefer an American ride, and I'm sure German manufacturers would prefer that I drive a German car. But an auto is a major expense, and I want something bulletproof. Like the Rav4 I've been driving for over 5 years. It has had ZERO defects. I mean NONE.

"Consumer Reports thumbs nose at European autos
Reliability is No. 1 issue in low rankings
Sunday, November 14, 2004

By Don Hammonds, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The reliability of European cars is so bad that not a single one made Consumer Reports' "New Car Preview 2005" issue. In fact, 10 of the highly respected magazine's 11 lowest-rated sedans hailed from across the Atlantic, including high-priced Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and BMW brands.

Germany's Volkswagen came in for particularly hard hits, with most of its products, including the Golf, Jetta and New Beetle, receiving ratings that were far below average for reliability.

Japanese brands, on the other hand, continued to rank at the top, with Toyota, Lexus and Scion dominating the listings. And American brands Buick Regal, which has been discontinued, and the non-supercharged version of the Pontiac Grand Prix won the annual publication's highest reliability ratings."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04319/411168.stm

What happened to precision German engineering? Up until 20 years ago, Germany was renowned for the quality of their products!

Pensive Elf -- bravo.

What are you talking about: European ACTIONS or REACTIONS? Starting with the 20s, who made this unglorious treaty of Versailles. The Germans?...

Posted by: Amihasser | July 30, 2005 08:15 PM
***************************************************
You need to take out your Rancour about the Treaty of Versailles because the US was NOT a Signatory, Our Senate refused to ratify it and we signed a separate Peace Accord with Germany by ourselves later, UH we also "In 1924 Germany got help from USA to pay her
reparations, she received huge loans from the US and Germany was given
more time to pay as well. So the Dawes plan and Young plans were a big
relief for Germany."

Don't get much gratitude in Europe for past favours thoughs, mostly, some people know and remember.

There are 7.5 million black-owned businesses in America.


@Sandy P..
Plus plenty of GOVERNMENT programs to help minority owned and female owned small businesses..
one could argue whethere that is a good thing (I have mixed feelings), but I get sick of hearing how 'Racist' a society America is..
any German programs to promote turkish businesses (specifically)
ah social justice is so nice

Germany has to drop the "social justice," and replace it with justice.
"Social justice" is, after all, just an euphemism for social discrimination and no decent and honest person should be proud of that.
Tomaž

To the thought above - one should take pride in his values. For example, I ending poverty in the world is one of my values.

But one should take pride in what he himself has done and is doing to promote them; but not what he can force other people to do.

What is really "social justice"? It is replacement of justice with phony moral. It is people replacing their own deeds with witch hunt. For example: we need more support for the poor, so let's tax the rich.

This is not justice. This is avoiding responsibility to actually do something and finding a victim and a theory of why the victim should do something or else the victim is the enemy of the "social justice" and has to be punished by doing something. By taking personal responsibility for the welfare state off the majority they stop caring for rational spending; because the rich will pay for it anyway.

If I am not mistaken this phony morals started with progressive taxation. Before Marx's idea people were paying equal amount of tax on every money unit. In today's terms - if tax rate was 10% and one earned 1.000.000 EUR, he paid 10% of each EUR that the institutional environment helped him earn. And if one earned 100.000 EUR he paid the same amount on each EUR earned. The first person benefited 10x more from the institutional environment and therefore paid 10x more tax. Such state could take care for the poor, but not for those who are not poor at all. Progressive taxation started taking care for the middle class and for distribution of wealth (which is not the same as eliminating poverty). By doing this they changed tax from means of financing the state to means of distribution which enabled buying votes or voting yourself better position then other groups.

Along the way "social justice" was introduced and it replaced justice. Suddenly the state was not a service to its citizens who would pay objectively as much as they benefited. The state was the master of its citizens who must pay according to their ability (regardless of how much they benefited from the services). And ability, of course, is subjective. This introduced social discrimination and allowed majority to vote for themselves better conditions and put the burden on political minority. Instead of race or sexual orientation in this case state discriminates on social status - but effectively discrimination is discrimination.

Tomaž

And to conclude ( I appologize for three posts and bad English, I have a horrible headache right now :) ). The so called "social justice" is in fact perversion of justice. It means different justice to different groups of people (based on their social status) and the justice is delivered by the current political majority. This is against the sole concept of constitution, suddenly justice is not for all - it breaks one of pillars of free and democratic society.

No one should ever be proud of this.

If you want to eliminate poverty, have people pay for this state service proportional from what they received from environment (flat tax rate) and then spend as much as you gathered. But without social discrimination. This is an achievement to be proud of - because it treats all men as equal and because all of them are equally responsible for the common goal.

Tomaz

This whole discussion misses one salient point of difference between basic German and American understandings of how to promote economic progress of the individual and the society as a whole.

Germans want, generally speaking, more security for their status quo as high earners. Lower income workers are also more interested in job stability instead of making professional progress themselves.

However, America is built upon another, entirely different philosophy. Here, the majority of high and low earners want to make progress in order to achieve their maximum individual potential as an intelligent being. The status quo is very seldom enough for any American.

That is why Americans work much harder and often reach professional heights (even as fairly new immigrants) which would be an impossibility in a Socialist Europe restricted by hundreds of goverment authorized beaurocratic laws, by-laws, standards, unions and needs for "certification." The almost obsessive desire for "free time" by all Europeans adds another component which stands in the way of an economic recovery.

Just as Islam is hindered from making modern progress by laws of the ancient and strongly outdated couran, Europe has been captured by the old siren song of Socialism and the accompanying government "nanny state." As long as this situation persists, Europe can never hope to compete with the free wheeling market forces and hard competition work habit within the U.S. of A.

It possibly has something to do with the "Protestant Work Ethic" which the U.S. originally inherited from "Olde Europe" but kept very much alive for hundreds of years, while it has almost disappeared along with its religious roots in European countries of its origin.

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida

@LouMinatti: Just as a side note... many of the VW sold in the US are not made in Germany, but rather Argentina or Mexico. Not sure if that has anything to do with it or not. Our recent (and last) VW purchase turned out horribly: In the first 12 months, the car was at the dealer's for over one month for a variety of needed repairs.

/on topic
The problem of "the smothering bureaucracy" in Germany is being covered in a multi-part television documentary these days...

Here is my take on this, having read the whole comments thread so far.

1. If Germany wants a system that has greater stability and income equality than the U.S.--good for them. However, there are consequences to this desire. First, that the German system tends to discourage work and risk-taking more than the American system does. Second, and this is one that Germans have not discussed at all--that entrenching a system where America consistently grows faster than Germany will necessarily make the U.S. increasingly powerful vs. Germany. Germans seem to be wary of the amount of power that the U.S. has, but they are actually contributing to the problem.

2. Using the OECD standardized numbers shows that the U.S. has an unemployment rate of 5.1%, and Germany is at 9.8%. That's not a small disparity.

3. I'd like to see some information on the total number of EMPLOYED in Germany vs. the U.S.

4. If high unemployment really is a fixture of the German system, then I have to argue that it is less social than the U.S. system. Being a young person who cannot find a decent job in Germany puts you on a long-term track that is incredibly bleak. You get no skills, you are not allowed to show any motivation, so when employers do look at you, they don't see anything they really want. So you face the prospect of being perpetually underemployed or becoming some kind of lifelong ward of the state. That has to have a lot of highly negative emotional and psychological effects.

5. Unemployment rates in the Scandanavian countries seem fairly benign, certainly by comparison to Germany. What are those countries doing that Germany is not?

@ amihasser

As Dan Kauffman already pointed out, the US was not a signatory to the Versailles Treaty. It was a delightfully European affair with an all-star European cast: the UK, France, Belgium, etc.

Versailles was modeled along the lines of the treaties of Frankfurt and Brest-Litovsk, acknowledged masterpieces of German statecraft.

And just think of the terrible things that Versailles did: forcing those Polish peasants out of the care of their very own Junkers, demilitarizing the Rhineland, etc. What was really outrageous was stealing the colonies that people like Goering pere had coddled so. One might imagine that Germany had lost the war.

Jeff

I have the nagging suspicion that that´s a really stupid question, but:

How can the annual GDP growth for the US in 2003 be 2.7%, when alone in the third quarter of 2003 there was a 7% growth??

@JeffM: Don't try to argue with "Amihasser". He never bothers to answer. He is a well-known Nazi: His homepage can be accessed under amihasser.tripod.com. He resides in the city of Rathenow, deep inside former communist East Germany. His e-mail address is newagerathenow@arcor.de.

@Ray

Now I have the nagging suspicion that you messed up :-).

As Martina Zitterbart already pointed out:

The values for Germany are GDP % changes from previous period at QUARTERLY rates.
The ones for the US are GDP % changes ... at ANNUAL rates.

I guess that means the numbers you use for the US in your first figure are too big by factor 4.

You should use the OECD statistics, e.g.:

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/0/17/19230458.xls

@ Fuchur

First, quarterly figures are normally reported in annualized form. So, depending on how the annualization was performed, that means actual growth during the quarter would have been about 1.75%. In that case, most of the year's growth occured in the third quarter, which actually makes sense because the tax cut kicked in then.

Second, even if those are not annualized numbers, there is no problem because the annual number would be an average of the quarterly ones. In that case, there would have to have been other quarters with negative growth.

JeffM

The job creation performance of the Bush administration (106,000 jobs per month average) is the worst in recent history. Let's compare:

248,000 jobs per month created under Clinton/Gore
167,000 jobs per month created under Reagan
218,000 jobs per month created under Carter
105,000 jobs per month created under Nixon/Ford
129,000 jobs per month created during Nixon's first term
206,000 jobs per month created under Lyndon Johnson
122,000 jobs per month created under John F Kennedy
113,000 jobs per month created under Harry Truman's second term (1949-52).

Remember, the national population in 1952 was only 157 million, compared to 296 million today.

I do not understand why the Germany government does have the same possiblities of spending as the US government does. In fact, as a percentage of GDP if one were to compare deficits then the Germans are spending more. In fact, the Germany government spends a greater percentage of GDP than the US government. So it is not like the Germans are not out spending the US because they are.

Maybe it is a question of where the money is being spent?

Then again the Germans are spending a lot of money to insure there is social justice. And let's face it a social welfare state is an expensive operation.

So while Germany may lag in job creation, personal wealth, and GDP, it does have a lot going for it. I have yet to hear a German say they are unhappy. That is worth an awful lot.

@ Ray D

I am not disagreeing with your conclusions, but your explanation about the statistics seems a bit confused.

Say GDP in the 4th quarter of 2002 = 25, and actual GDP for all of 2002 = 100, which given the rate of growth in 2002 is probably not that far off.

Then GDP for 2003 would be 102.7 if the annual rate of growth was 2.7%

Based on your quarterly figures as actuals, you would have
1st quarter = 25.000 * 1.017 = 25.425
2nd quarter = 25.425 * 1.037 = 26.366
3rd quarter = 26.366 * 1.072 = 28.264
4th quarter = 28.264 * 1.036 = 29.282
GDP for 2003 = 109.337

Explained your way the stats do not work.

JeffM

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