The more I read about the Eurozone failures, the US mortgage foreclosures and the Republicans’ push to cut spending for everyone but rich people, the more I hear Daddy scolding a 5 year old for spending his allowance on something he wanted, but Daddy didn’t like.
Germany is having a field day, running roughshod over the southern European countries that aren’t as “serious” about strict monetary policy. There is also an aspect of the Protestants scolding the Catholics, but I’ll leave strictly religious analogies to someone else. But the social implications of the Puritanical approach to finance are relevant. The US, like Germany is a “Protestant” country psychologically as well - work hard, earn your way, save for a rainy day, etcetera.
But what happens when all jobs have disappeared? What happens when the financial deacons have eradicated those acts of economic faith in which we can prove our worth? We all go to financial hell, and they will pave our way there, because apparently anyone not born wealthy is guilty of original sin. And they are happy to punish us for it.
Yes, I get the feeling we are all being punished. There is a religious vibe to it, as well as a strict parent vibe. We are being judged, and judged harshly, for needing food, shelter and healthcare. And we were set up, Daddy gave us an extra dollar on purpose to see what we’d do with it and since we spent it on things he didn’t like, we have to give it back, with interest. And he really likes that part, taking money from his kids, to teach them a lesson.
When I think of southern Europe, I don’t think of large gleaming cities with acres of corporate jobs and financiers. Sure, there are some cities like that - Milan, for instance, and likely Madrid, Barcelona and the capitols. But the products of southern Europe, the jobs and the national incomes come largely from sources other than exports, banking and corporate jobs, incomes that are based on more volatile sources like tourism.*
Germany is a different type of economy, historically more industrial than rural. This is similar to the rural vs. urban divide in the US, with different needs and opportunities. Anyone not living in a city has little chance to work in a career that is well-paid, with a secure future and an upward track, that American Dream article of faith. The financiers have sold off the factories and farms in the hinterlands and bought up all the small competitors in the fly-over states. The only jobs left are hourly jobs at the corporate stores, like WalMart, at minimum wages, ridiculous hours and no benefits. Is that Protestant penance enough for them?
No, we can only go to bed without supper, after a good strapping. Nevermind that Daddy changed the rules, that he lured us with cash and then blamed us for spending it. Nevermind that he would rather punish us than give us a job to do to earn his trust again. Nevermind that he himself spends lavishly on weekends at Vegas and the horse races, but would rather see us starve and thrown out of the house than allow us to feel confident enough to do without him.
Let’s grow up, people. Greece is thinking of moving away from the Eurozone home, and it will be hard, but they can do it. France just fired their Daddy figure and is making plans to spend their allowance the way they damn well please. Parenting with fear, the Republican way, is being shown for the bullying stance that it is. We have to move away from home sometime, and it’s scary as hell. But the future awaits. There are some Democrats who want to help us go there, without making us feel badly about ourselves. And they want Daddy to pay his fair share to get us there.
*Most of the southern Euro countries have negligible exports that would allow repayment of the forced debt. Greece is 123rd on the list of 156 countries, with 20% of GDP in exports. Germany is 88th, with 33%. Here are some more economic comparisons of Germany to Greece. FYI, the US is 148th of 156, with 11% of GDP in exports