WSJ: With its new budget, Germany cuts taxes, will continue to cut public-service employees

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    Nov 13, 2011 7:23 PM GMT
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204224604577031704261216824.html?mod=ITP_pageone_3

    BERLIN—As Germany puts the final touches on its 2012 budget, it is becoming increasingly clear that Europe's largest economy is a glaring exception at a time when a worsening debt crisis is forcing other major capitals to pull their belts ever tighter.

    Berlin is enjoying its lowest unemployment in decades and the government is still finding money to spend on infrastructure and income tax cuts and to preserve German influence in the French-German aerospace group European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. by buying shares in the company.

    But in France, Europe's second-largest economy, the government has presented two austerity budgets as it tries to preserve its triple-A credit rating. Greece's government has been forced to slash public-sector wages and shut down vital public services, even closing some hospitals. And Italy, one of the world's biggest economies and a member of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations, is being monitored by the International Monetary Fund.

    Of course, Germany can't escape the global economic slowdown. Growth in German gross domestic product is expected to grind nearly to a halt, falling to just 0.8% next year after about 2.9% this year, the European Commission forecast this week. Yet even as growth slows, Germany remains on track to balance its budget by 2016 and even has money to spend.

    "We now have stronger tax revenues, rising wages and our companies are more competitive. That is why we can consider doing these things now," said Peter Altmaier, chief parliamentary whip for Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats.

    The German parliament put the final touches on the 2012 budget on Friday. Bolstered by strong tax revenues, the final deficit this year will fall to €22 billion from a projected €48 billion. Parliament also cut the forecast budget deficit for 2012 to €26.1 billion from an original forecast of €27.2 billion. Federal spending is expected to be unchanged at about €306 billion.

    Germany's robust job market—unemployment is 7%—is creating a windfall in employment taxes. As a result, federal tax revenue is expected to be €2.7 billion higher next year than previously forecast, at about €250 billion.

    The government is also taking steps to bolster its finances. The new budget earmarks about €5 billion in revenue from privatizations, which could include shares held in telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom AG and the postal agency Deutsche Post AG. And the government will continue to cut public-service employees, reducing the number of government workers by 1,300 to 254,200.

    One area of public service won't suffer, however. The finance ministry will see its staff increase "as a result of increasing tasks involved in stabilizing the euro," the budget committee said.

    Despite its fiscal health, Germany isn't planning significant new spending on major projects, but it does have leeway on spending.

    The government announced Friday, for example, that it would earmark €1 billion (about $1.36 billion) in the 2012 budget to purchase a 7.5% stake in EADS in order to preserve Germany's influence on the board. The stake is now held by Daimler AG, which wants to sell the shares.

    Germany has also found €1 billion for repairs to the national railway system and highways. And in an apparent political trade-off, the government is considering creating a special €1 billion fund to help communities hit by the closure of military bases, a move to buy political support from the states and local communities for a controversial plan to streamline the German military.

    In a nod to families, the government is also considering a new €100-a-month subsidy for parents who send their children to private nannies or day care rather than state-sponsored day-care centers.

    And to thank German citizens for the burdens they have shouldered during the euro-zone debt crisis, leaders of Ms. Merkel's center-right ruling coalition last week agreed to restructure income tax rules in a way that would result in an effective tax cut of about €6 billion in 2013, just in time to give a boost to Ms. Merkel's re-election campaign that same year.

    In the face of growing public outrage over the rise of a new class of working poor in Germany, Ms. Merkel has done an about-face on the issue of minimum wages. Germany has no statutory minimum wage like the U.S. or many European countries. Instead, unions and employers work out minimum pay on a sector-by-sector basis. But there are still many low-paying workers such as florists, hairdressers and sanitation workers, who earn such low wages that they often have to supplement their income with social-welfare payments. In some parts of the country full-time florists and gardeners earn as little as €2.75 an hour.

    In the past, Ms. Merkel has opposed a minimum wage. Now, she is considering establishing a commission of unions and employers who would be charged with establishing minimum wage levels for those industries that don't have them now.

    The issue won't cost the government a single euro, but Ms. Merkel's switch here shows that she believes Germany's economy is strong enough to force small companies to pay employees a liveable wage. The move has drawn opposition within her Christian Democrat party, but is supported by a large majority of German voters.

    As much as national budgets are created to pay a country's bills, budgets are also intensely political affairs. And while the rest of Europe groans under the weight of the debt crisis, Ms. Merkel is using the 2012 budget to demonstrate to her voters that even in the midst of the worst global economy in decades most German citizens have never had it so good.
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    Nov 13, 2011 7:26 PM GMT
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/germany-probes-78-billion-miscalculated-122234340.html
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    Nov 13, 2011 7:32 PM GMT
    meninlove saidhttp://finance.yahoo.com/news/germany-probes-78-billion-miscalculated-122234340.html

    Is that supposed to be relevant to the topic except for occurring in Germany?
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    Nov 13, 2011 7:37 PM GMT
    socalfitness said
    meninlove saidhttp://finance.yahoo.com/news/germany-probes-78-billion-miscalculated-122234340.html

    Is that supposed to be relevant to the topic except for occurring in Germany?

    It is relevant. It has assisted Germany greatly.



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    Nov 13, 2011 7:40 PM GMT

    I happen to be fond of Ms Merkel.

    I also think Riddler, who is hellbent on getting rid of minimum wages, should see this:

    "In the face of growing public outrage over the rise of a new class of working poor in Germany, Ms. Merkel has done an about-face on the issue of minimum wages. Germany has no statutory minimum wage like the U.S. or many European countries. Instead, unions and employers work out minimum pay on a sector-by-sector basis. But there are still many low-paying workers such as florists, hairdressers and sanitation workers, who earn such low wages that they often have to supplement their income with social-welfare payments. In some parts of the country full-time florists and gardeners earn as little as €2.75 an hour.

    In the past, Ms. Merkel has opposed a minimum wage. Now, she is considering establishing a commission of unions and employers who would be charged with establishing minimum wage levels for those industries that don't have them now."

    Good for her. By bringing in minimum wages a whole lot of working people will no longer need social assistance.


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    Nov 13, 2011 7:46 PM GMT
    socalfitness saidhttp://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204224604577031704261216824.html?mod=ITP_pageone_3

    BERLIN—As Germany puts the final touches on its 2012 budget, it is becoming increasingly clear that Europe's largest economy is a glaring exception at a time when a worsening debt crisis is forcing other major capitals to pull their belts ever tighter.

    Berlin is enjoying its lowest unemployment in decades and the government is still finding money to spend on infrastructure and income tax cuts and to preserve German influence in the French-German aerospace group European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. by buying shares in the company.

    But in France, Europe's second-largest economy, the government has presented two austerity budgets as it tries to preserve its triple-A credit rating. Greece's government has been forced to slash public-sector wages and shut down vital public services, even closing some hospitals. And Italy, one of the world's biggest economies and a member of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations, is being monitored by the International Monetary Fund.

    Of course, Germany can't escape the global economic slowdown. Growth in German gross domestic product is expected to grind nearly to a halt, falling to just 0.8% next year after about 2.9% this year, the European Commission forecast this week. Yet even as growth slows, Germany remains on track to balance its budget by 2016 and even has money to spend.

    "We now have stronger tax revenues, rising wages and our companies are more competitive. That is why we can consider doing these things now," said Peter Altmaier, chief parliamentary whip for Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats.

    The German parliament put the final touches on the 2012 budget on Friday. Bolstered by strong tax revenues, the final deficit this year will fall to €22 billion from a projected €48 billion. Parliament also cut the forecast budget deficit for 2012 to €26.1 billion from an original forecast of €27.2 billion. Federal spending is expected to be unchanged at about €306 billion.

    Germany's robust job market—unemployment is 7%—is creating a windfall in employment taxes. As a result, federal tax revenue is expected to be €2.7 billion higher next year than previously forecast, at about €250 billion.

    The government is also taking steps to bolster its finances. The new budget earmarks about €5 billion in revenue from privatizations, which could include shares held in telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom AG and the postal agency Deutsche Post AG. And the government will continue to cut public-service employees, reducing the number of government workers by 1,300 to 254,200.

    One area of public service won't suffer, however. The finance ministry will see its staff increase "as a result of increasing tasks involved in stabilizing the euro," the budget committee said.

    Despite its fiscal health, Germany isn't planning significant new spending on major projects, but it does have leeway on spending.

    The government announced Friday, for example, that it would earmark €1 billion (about $1.36 billion) in the 2012 budget to purchase a 7.5% stake in EADS in order to preserve Germany's influence on the board. The stake is now held by Daimler AG, which wants to sell the shares.

    Germany has also found €1 billion for repairs to the national railway system and highways. And in an apparent political trade-off, the government is considering creating a special €1 billion fund to help communities hit by the closure of military bases, a move to buy political support from the states and local communities for a controversial plan to streamline the German military.

    In a nod to families, the government is also considering a new €100-a-month subsidy for parents who send their children to private nannies or day care rather than state-sponsored day-care centers.

    And to thank German citizens for the burdens they have shouldered during the euro-zone debt crisis, leaders of Ms. Merkel's center-right ruling coalition last week agreed to restructure income tax rules in a way that would result in an effective tax cut of about €6 billion in 2013, just in time to give a boost to Ms. Merkel's re-election campaign that same year.

    In the face of growing public outrage over the rise of a new class of working poor in Germany, Ms. Merkel has done an about-face on the issue of minimum wages. Germany has no statutory minimum wage like the U.S. or many European countries. Instead, unions and employers work out minimum pay on a sector-by-sector basis. But there are still many low-paying workers such as florists, hairdressers and sanitation workers, who earn such low wages that they often have to supplement their income with social-welfare payments. In some parts of the country full-time florists and gardeners earn as little as €2.75 an hour.

    In the past, Ms. Merkel has opposed a minimum wage. Now, she is considering establishing a commission of unions and employers who would be charged with establishing minimum wage levels for those industries that don't have them now.

    The issue won't cost the government a single euro, but Ms. Merkel's switch here shows that she believes Germany's economy is strong enough to force small companies to pay employees a liveable wage. The move has drawn opposition within her Christian Democrat party, but is supported by a large majority of German voters.

    As much as national budgets are created to pay a country's bills, budgets are also intensely political affairs. And while the rest of Europe groans under the weight of the debt crisis, Ms. Merkel is using the 2012 budget to demonstrate to her voters that even in the midst of the worst global economy in decades most German citizens have never had it so good.


    Glad to see at least one country can figure it out.


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    Nov 13, 2011 7:50 PM GMT


    "Glad to see at least one country can figure it out."


    *roars with laughter as C obviously doesn't understand Germany's social contract with its citizens, about which he would scream liberal/socialist if he knew*

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    Nov 13, 2011 7:52 PM GMT
    meninlove said

    "Glad to see at least one country can figure it out."


    *roars with laughter as C obviously doesn't understand Germany's social contract with its citizens, about which he would scream liberal/socialist if he knew*



    Yet more proof it's a sock account.
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    Nov 13, 2011 8:10 PM GMT
    meninlove said

    "Glad to see at least one country can figure it out."


    *roars with laughter as C obviously doesn't understand Germany's social contract with its citizens, about which he would scream liberal/socialist if he knew*

    Not so fast - Germany has historically been to the left of the US, and while maintaining a social contract, it is revisiting and moving away from some of the things the ideologues in the US continually embrace.
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    Nov 13, 2011 8:13 PM GMT
    Christian73 said
    meninlove said

    "Glad to see at least one country can figure it out."


    *roars with laughter as C obviously doesn't understand Germany's social contract with its citizens, about which he would scream liberal/socialist if he knew*



    Yet more proof it's a sock account.

    That is absolutely no proof at all. Completely ridiculous statement. Have you given up trying to defend a failed ideology so you need to resort to this?

    Christopher - if you do choose to report this, please ask Admin to delete only individual messages, not the entire thread. These TOS violations may be a deliberate attempt to get threads deleted.
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    Nov 13, 2011 8:17 PM GMT
    meninlove said

    "Glad to see at least one country can figure it out."


    *roars with laughter as C obviously doesn't understand Germany's social contract with its citizens, about which he would scream liberal/socialist if he knew*



    Their going to cut taxes and cut public employees. That will bring in more revenue to the government. Its like what Bill Clinton did here in 1997 when he cut the Capital Gains tax and reformed welfare. More revenue came into the government.
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    Nov 13, 2011 8:19 PM GMT
    socalfitness said
    Christian73 said
    meninlove said

    "Glad to see at least one country can figure it out."


    *roars with laughter as C obviously doesn't understand Germany's social contract with its citizens, about which he would scream liberal/socialist if he knew*



    Yet more proof it's a sock account.

    That is absolutely no proof at all. Completely ridiculous statement. Have you given up trying to defend a failed ideology so you need to resort to this?

    Christopher - if you do choose to report this, please ask Admin to delete only individual messages, not the entire thread. These TOS violations may be a deliberate attempt to get threads deleted.


    I have reported Christian several times and your right entire threads have been deleted. This time I will report him and give them the thread.
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    Nov 13, 2011 8:20 PM GMT
    CHRISTOPHER34 said
    socalfitness said
    Christian73 said
    meninlove said

    "Glad to see at least one country can figure it out."


    *roars with laughter as C obviously doesn't understand Germany's social contract with its citizens, about which he would scream liberal/socialist if he knew*



    Yet more proof it's a sock account.

    That is absolutely no proof at all. Completely ridiculous statement. Have you given up trying to defend a failed ideology so you need to resort to this?

    Christopher - if you do choose to report this, please ask Admin to delete only individual messages, not the entire thread. These TOS violations may be a deliberate attempt to get threads deleted.


    I have reported Christian several times and your right entire threads have been deleted. This time I will report him and give them the thread.


    Wow. Touching a nerve I see. icon_lol.gif

    Meanwhile, who knew I had the power to get entire threads deleted just by questioning the veracity of a poster.

    Of course, that would require one to notice that the threads that have been deleted are ones I haven't posted on, so there's that...
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    Nov 13, 2011 8:23 PM GMT
    Christian73 said
    CHRISTOPHER34 said
    socalfitness said
    Christian73 said
    meninlove said

    "Glad to see at least one country can figure it out."


    *roars with laughter as C obviously doesn't understand Germany's social contract with its citizens, about which he would scream liberal/socialist if he knew*



    Yet more proof it's a sock account.

    That is absolutely no proof at all. Completely ridiculous statement. Have you given up trying to defend a failed ideology so you need to resort to this?

    Christopher - if you do choose to report this, please ask Admin to delete only individual messages, not the entire thread. These TOS violations may be a deliberate attempt to get threads deleted.


    I have reported Christian several times and your right entire threads have been deleted. This time I will report him and give them the thread.


    Wow. Touching a nerve I see. icon_lol.gif

    Meanwhile, who knew I had the power to get entire threads deleted just by questioning the veracity of a poster.

    Of course, that would require one to notice that the threads that have been deleted are ones I haven't posted on, so there's that...



    Well Christian its called Harrassment, something liberals know how to do well. Its inappropriate and childish behavior. In fact I find it disturbing coming from a 38 year old.

    And yes you did post on those threads, because I checked to make sure the posts were gone and they were as the entire threads were gone.





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    Nov 13, 2011 8:26 PM GMT
    CHRISTOPHER34 saidI have reported Christian several times and your right entire threads have been deleted. This time I will report him and give them the thread.

    Please ask him to not delete the entire thread. Maybe I'll drop a note just to reiterate keeping the thread.

    Christian - the only nerve you're touching relates to undermining threads by accusations not relevant to the thread topics, which has resulted in threads deleted in the past. Surprised that you are stooping to this.
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    Nov 13, 2011 8:29 PM GMT
    CHRISTOPHER34 said
    Christian73 said
    CHRISTOPHER34 said
    socalfitness said
    Christian73 said
    meninlove said

    "Glad to see at least one country can figure it out."


    *roars with laughter as C obviously doesn't understand Germany's social contract with its citizens, about which he would scream liberal/socialist if he knew*



    Yet more proof it's a sock account.

    That is absolutely no proof at all. Completely ridiculous statement. Have you given up trying to defend a failed ideology so you need to resort to this?

    Christopher - if you do choose to report this, please ask Admin to delete only individual messages, not the entire thread. These TOS violations may be a deliberate attempt to get threads deleted.


    I have reported Christian several times and your right entire threads have been deleted. This time I will report him and give them the thread.


    Wow. Touching a nerve I see. icon_lol.gif

    Meanwhile, who knew I had the power to get entire threads deleted just by questioning the veracity of a poster.

    Of course, that would require one to notice that the threads that have been deleted are ones I haven't posted on, so there's that...



    Well Christian its called Harrassment, something liberals know how to do well. Its inappropriate and childish behavior. In fact I find it disturbing coming from a 38 year old.




    No. It's not. At the very limit, it would be construed as mocking. Given the relentless and heinous nature of things you've said about me and others on this site, you're in no position to judge.

    Also, I just reread the TOS and it mentions nothing about mocking someone for creating a sock account. In fact, it says the website will generally not involve itself in disputes between members.

    Finally, I am 38 and don't need to resort to tattling on other members because they question the veracity of my posts.

    It's the fucking Internet. If you're that upset by having your nameless, faceless, completely-lacking-in-any-personal-or-identifying-information profile questioned, the "childish" term is more appropriate for you. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Nov 13, 2011 8:30 PM GMT
    socalfitness said
    CHRISTOPHER34 saidI have reported Christian several times and your right entire threads have been deleted. This time I will report him and give them the thread.

    Please ask him to not delete the entire thread. Maybe I'll drop a note just to reiterate keeping the thread.

    Christian - the only nerve you're touching relates to undermining threads by accusations not relevant to the thread topics, which has resulted in threads deleted in the past. Surprised that you are stooping to this.


    Which threads? I have not once been contacted by the administrators, so I find it hard to believe that they would be deleted threads without any mention to me that I was the cause.
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    Nov 13, 2011 8:33 PM GMT
    Christian73 saidNo. It's not. At the very limit, it would be construed as mocking. Given the relentless and heinous nature of things you've said about me and others on this site, you're in no position to judge.

    Also, I just reread the TOS and it mentions nothing about mocking someone for creating a sock account. In fact, it says the website will generally not involve itself in disputes between members.

    Finally, I am 38 and don't need to resort to tattling on other members because they question the veracity of my posts. ...

    Read the TOS again:
    Promotion of False Information. The promotion of Content that is defamatory or libelous, false or misleading is illegal and strictly prohibited.
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    Nov 13, 2011 8:34 PM GMT
    Christian73 said
    CHRISTOPHER34 said
    Christian73 said
    CHRISTOPHER34 said
    socalfitness said
    Christian73 said
    meninlove said

    "Glad to see at least one country can figure it out."


    *roars with laughter as C obviously doesn't understand Germany's social contract with its citizens, about which he would scream liberal/socialist if he knew*



    Yet more proof it's a sock account.

    That is absolutely no proof at all. Completely ridiculous statement. Have you given up trying to defend a failed ideology so you need to resort to this?

    Christopher - if you do choose to report this, please ask Admin to delete only individual messages, not the entire thread. These TOS violations may be a deliberate attempt to get threads deleted.


    I have reported Christian several times and your right entire threads have been deleted. This time I will report him and give them the thread.


    Wow. Touching a nerve I see. icon_lol.gif

    Meanwhile, who knew I had the power to get entire threads deleted just by questioning the veracity of a poster.

    Of course, that would require one to notice that the threads that have been deleted are ones I haven't posted on, so there's that...



    Well Christian its called Harrassment, something liberals know how to do well. Its inappropriate and childish behavior. In fact I find it disturbing coming from a 38 year old.




    No. It's not. At the very limit, it would be construed as mocking. Given the relentless and heinous nature of things you've said about me and others on this site, you're in no position to judge.

    Also, I just reread the TOS and it mentions nothing about mocking someone for creating a sock account. In fact, it says the website will generally not involve itself in disputes between members.

    Finally, I am 38 and don't need to resort to tattling on other members because they question the veracity of my posts.

    It's the fucking Internet. If you're that upset by having your nameless, faceless, completely-lacking-in-any-personal-or-identifying-information profile questioned, the "childish" term is more appropriate for you. icon_rolleyes.gif



    I've never said anything about you. Provide proof to back it up.

    You have brought up that sock account issue many times, with no proof to back it up. Thats why I said to contact the Administration so you can get your facts.



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    Nov 13, 2011 8:37 PM GMT
    Christopher - I've sent a note asking that the thread be kept.

    This is a pattern Christian has been attempting - the other purpose is to deflect discussion away from the topic at hand. He tried the same tactic in a thread I started about Eric Holder.

    Recommend in this thread ignoring further attempts at deflecting. What Germany is doing is the thread topic we should stay on, including possible relevance to the US.
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    Nov 13, 2011 8:38 PM GMT
    socalfitness saidChristopher - I've sent a note asking that the thread be kept.

    This is a pattern Christian has been attempting - the other purpose is to deflect discussion away from the topic at hand. He tried the same tactic in a thread I started about Eric Holder.

    Recommend in this thread ignoring further attempts at deflecting. What Germany is doing is the thread topic we should stay on, including possible relevance to the US.


    Thanks SoCalFitness!

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    Nov 13, 2011 8:47 PM GMT
    socalfitness said
    Christian73 saidNo. It's not. At the very limit, it would be construed as mocking. Given the relentless and heinous nature of things you've said about me and others on this site, you're in no position to judge.

    Also, I just reread the TOS and it mentions nothing about mocking someone for creating a sock account. In fact, it says the website will generally not involve itself in disputes between members.

    Finally, I am 38 and don't need to resort to tattling on other members because they question the veracity of my posts. ...

    Read the TOS again:
    Promotion of False Information. The promotion of Content that is defamatory or libelous, false or misleading is illegal and strictly prohibited.


    icon_lol.gif

    Socal - If that TOS was to be enforced, almost no one who participates on this forum would still be posting.

    Also, have you reported multiple times other people, including SB and "Christopher" have said defamatory or libelous things about me?