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Merkel hits back at Obama fiscal criticism

DPA/The Local · 24 Jun 2010, 09:05

Published: 24 Jun 2010 09:05 GMT+02:00

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In the wake of US President Barack Obama’s show of concern that Germany’s belt-tightening could put the brakes on the global recovery, a defiant Merkel said her government would not back away from its plan to slash €80 billion from the budget by 2014.

The war of words is likely to continue when world leaders meet this weekend in Canada for the G8 and G20 summits.

“We will implement the efforts that we have agreed on,” Merkel told broadcaster ARD. “I believe that we should not back away.”

It should not be forgotten that Germany had taken on record debt this year in order to stimulate the world economy and domestic consumption, she said.

“Eighty billion euros in a federal budget of €320 billion – if another €10 billion can be saved in the next year because we have good economic growth, then that can only be right for us all.”

That would mean smaller interest payments down the track for Germany’s children and grandchildren, she added.

This week, Obama wrote to European leaders saying he was “concerned about weak private sector demand and continued heavy reliance on exports" – a clear reference to Germany.

Merkel responded in her ARD interview: “On the contrary.”

Story continues below…

Germany’s economy was set to grow by 2.1 percent this year – higher than the average for comparable countries, Merkel said, adding that she had made this clear to Obama in a phone conversation Wednesday.

“I believe that this argument has been heard,” she said.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:06 June 24, 2010 by pepsionice
The results of Merkel's episode will be noted within twelve months.....and this will become a major problem in 2012's election. If gas is $6 a gallon and the unemployment rate is still high....the Obama crew will have problems winning the election. Course, if Merkel is wrong....her election in the next two years will go sour.
12:14 June 24, 2010 by William Thirteen
and of course the 80 billion is the 'planned' consolidation and depends on a number of theoretical numbers - what the sum will be at the end of the day remains to be seen.
12:29 June 24, 2010 by saucymugwump
You tell 'em, Angela! Obama is the pot calling the kettle black. He promised the USA Wall Street reform, but he seems to have forgotten about it. The caps on bank size are history, firewalls between commercial and investment banks are yesterday's news, and regulation of OTC derivatives is no longer important to him. Germany is one of the few successful countries in the world; the USA should emulate it. Obama is proving to be rather clueless on economic reform, not to mention anything to do with employment or EU/Turkey relations.
15:35 June 24, 2010 by Eastard
I am glad to see that some of the voters can tell the difference between doing what is right and doing what is popular. Merkel did the right thing to not extend Grfeece Germany's direct credit line (as before) and simply allow them to ingore the hard realities of their existance... Germany has the right and obligation to take care of their financial business first... ahead if other EU countries or the global picture... especially after contributing so much to such a cause.. I call on the press to encourage & educate those countries that are striking against change that they are truely sinking their own boats and reversing any hope they may have for jobs... It seems like they think their governments are hedging against them.. Protest is good however running off tourists is foolish... It takes much longer to establish a good reputation than it does to make a bad one...

As for Obama, he is trying to look Presidential at all turns versus be a President.. He is quick to elegantly announce simple solutions and clever directions... with Bill Clinton style followup. Hopefully sometime before he is voted out he will recognize that supertankers do not drive like jet skiis.. A country's course is difficult to change... not simple...
19:51 June 24, 2010 by Prufrock2010
saucymugwump --

Perhaps you don't realize that the power of a US president is limited. He doesn't legislate. Maybe you should look to the Senate Republicans who have voted in lock-step to scuttle every proposal Obama has made, and have nearly succeeded. Then look at where these legislators get their campaign contributions. The goal of these bottom feeders is to paralyze the government, win the mid-term elections and make sure that their banking benefactors suck the economy dry. If you're an American, you'll soon reap the rewards of the Republican strategy. What's going on in the Gulf of Mexico is a perfect metaphor for what you can expect. Good luck.
20:18 June 24, 2010 by saucymugwump
To Prufrock2010:

I am well aware of how my government works and also how Republicans have become the party of 'NO!' However, Obama said his top focus was jobs, yet he finds time to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and add women to submarines. These may or may not be good things to do, but the priorities should be jobs, regulating Wall Street, and plugging BP's hole in the ocean. And there is one hammer a president has, especially when the Congress is split : the veto. He could have said that Wall Street reform will happen or he will veto every bill until it does. A few presidents have done this. It is slash-and-burn politics, to be sure, but if Wall Street is not reined in, we may not have a country left.
00:07 June 25, 2010 by Prufrock2010
A president can't veto a bill that hasn't passed, and despite controlling the house and the senate, the Democrats cannot get a good bill passed through the Senate because of a 60 vote supermajority rule. Obama can jawbone all he wants, but he can't threaten to veto every bill because the Republicans would like nothing better than to kill every bill and monkeywrench the entire system. And Obama can't plug BP's hole in the ocean because there is no technology extant to do that. He has done the next best thing, which is to get BP to pony up a $20 billion escrow account to help relieve the victims who will be spared 20+ years of litigation to be made whole. Obama's a pragmatist who is doing the best he can against unprecedented partisan opposition, and while I don't agree with all of his policies (particularly the war in Afghanistan), I recognize that he's not Superman. It is unreasonable to expect any president to repair the damage of the Bush administration in less than 2 years. In fact, it may be irreversible.

Just try to imagine what John McCain would be doing right now if he had been elected. That's a thought too scary even for a Steven King plot.
12:44 June 25, 2010 by frankiep
Prufrock has neglected to mention (or apparently doesn't know) that Obama and his party need absolutely NO republican support in the House or Senate to pass legislation since they hold majorities in both chambers. Get it? If Obama and the democrats wanted something done, and they are on the same page, they currently have enough power to get it done with or WITHOUT republican support. The problem for Obama (and what Prufrock has conveniently ignored) is that enough democrats have been so turned off to Obama's agenda that they refuse to rubber stamp legislation simply because The One wants it.

Translation: Don't go around blaming the republicans and labeling them "the party of no" when Obama cannot even get his own party to support him. If he had the support of his party then he wouldn't have to worry for one second about republicans voting against his agenda.

And as far as Prufrocks claim that Obama is facing "unprecedented partisan opposition", I would just like to know where the hell he was when the last president was in office.
14:26 June 25, 2010 by Eastard
Interesting comments on the Republicans as the party of NO... It is amazing how fast one forgets the Democrats complaining for 8 years on absolutely everything the Republicans did... and blaming Katrina on Bush... America really isn't interested in becoming a Socialist country even if the leader openly wants it. Some of the Democrats who graduated from college are beginning to realize that at some point running around throwing money at everything that moves will actually have to be paid for by someone. Stimulus is not free. Obama is quick to criticize with only surface knowledge.. I would prefer to see him focus on American structure problems and leave Germany alone...
16:08 June 25, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen

If the miserable response to Katrina wasn't Bush's fault, and I am not necessarily saying it was, I would suggest you make every effort to find out whom blame belongs to. For, Katrina was easily the most-botched relief operation in modern history, and this in a nation as affluent as the US. You've still failed to have anyone lined up against the wall for that mess.
01:16 June 26, 2010 by Prufrock2010
frankie --

Since you ask so politely, I was practicing law in California during the 8 miserable years of the Bush administration. Where were you?

I urge you to educate yourself on the U.S. Senate procedures regarding filibuster and cloture that the Republicans have manipulated to force a 60-vote super majority to get any bill passed. Maybe then we can have a rational discussion.

I see from your profile that you are very young and are a product of the American educational system, so you can be forgiven for your lack of understanding of how the legislative process works in the US.
14:13 June 26, 2010 by saucymugwump
To Prufrock2010

I did not write that Obama should/shouldn't veto related bills, I wrote that he should VETO EVERY BILL until Congress passes meaningful Wall Street reform, i.e. shut-down the government. Now that the half-baked measure of yesterday has virtually passed, the opportunity has been lost. Of course, given that Obama has stuck with the twin dolts Geithner and Summers, one can assume that Obama agrees with their limited approach. Obama could have appointed people with integrity, e.g. Brooksley Born, Bill Black, etc, but he appointed retreads from The Committee To Save The World.

Yes, of course McCain/Palin would have been our worst nightmare, but I expect competency in our government; obviously I am usually disappointed. The Wall Street reform bill should have regulated ALL derivatives, not just a few. It also should have set caps on the size of banks, preferably no more than 1% of GDP; 0.1% would be even better.

To Eastard

The response to Katrina WAS Bush's fault. He should have had plans in place to mitigate hurricane damage. It's not like we never see them.
19:02 June 26, 2010 by Prufrock2010
saucymugwump --

The strategy you suggest would be the Republicans' greatest wet dream come true, as they have been trying to paralyze your government since January 21, 2009.

I agree that the banking reform bill falls woefully short of what is needed, but to get any reform bill passed through this Congress will be nothing short of miraculous.

I've given up on the whole mob, which is why I refer to it as "your" government. I don't live there anymore, and I am no longer governed by them.
14:21 June 29, 2010 by frankiep
Another question for Prufrock...

Did you consider it to be "manipulation" when the socialists, who were in the minority at the time, destroyed any chance for Social Security reform (or anything else the last president was pushing for) just a few short years ago? Or is it just a case of being able to dish it out, but not being able to take it?

And you still haven't answered my question. If what the current president is facing is, as you say, unprecedented partisanship, then where the hell were you when the last president was in office? Did you not notice the unbridled hatred, insults, and vitriol the socialists threw at him on a daily basis even when he made efforts to work with them, or did you just start paying attention when the Annointed One took office? Oh, what short memories people have.
17:36 June 29, 2010 by William Thirteen
obviously poor George Bush was the victim of a Dolchstoss!
20:53 June 29, 2010 by wxman
Hey Prufrock, the Democrats completely control a veto-proof House and Senate. There is absolutely nothing the Republicans can do to stop any Obama supported legislation. they have the commanding majority. If things don't go your way, I'm afraid you'll have to find another boogyman.
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