In case you didn’t think there’s political support for austerity.

Lemming economics firmly in place.

German Majority Ready to Help Pay Down State’s Debts, Poll Shows

By Alan Crawford

May 3 (Bloomberg) — A majority of German voters said they are prepared to help the state pay down its debt, according to a poll that provides backing for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s stance during the financial crisis.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they were ready to accept personal sacrifices so that the federal government, the states and municipalities didn’t have to take out new debts, the TNS Emnid poll for the Berlin-based Initiative for a New Social Market Economy showed today. Voter magnanimity didn’t extend to accepting tax increases.

Ninety percent said it was important that the three levels of government are prevented from piling up more debt, with 55 percent saying it was “very important.” More than half the respondents said they would probably or almost certainly vote for a party that advocates savings, even if it meant having a personal impact. Twenty-three percent said they probably wouldn’t vote for a party with such a platform and 16 percent said definitely not.

The results underscore the domestic backing for Merkel’s insistence that deficits must be addressed to get at the core cause of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis even as international calls grow for her to shift away from austerity. The poll results “are a clear message to politicians,” said Hubertus Pellengahr, head of the INSM.

“Whoever seriously sets about tackling the problem of new debt knows they’ll have the majority of voters behind them,” Pellengahr said in an e-mailed release.

Even so, 72 percent of respondents said tax increases were unacceptable to resolve state debts, the poll found. Eighty percent of voters said any cuts needed to reduce debt should focus on administration and 65 percent said subsidies should be targeted. Thirty-one percent identified cultural spending, 27 percent social benefits, 25 percent infrastructure and 12 percent education and research.

TNS Emnid said it surveyed 1,002 voters in April. No margin of error was given.

23 Responses

  1. I don’t understand what people think they’ll do when they get there. Say they eventually get it to zero. What do they do then – have a party?

  2. There you go. Ask a political question and you get a political answer.

    “The results underscore the domestic backing for Merkel’s insistence that deficits must be addressed….”

    I know just how to address them too. Please send all concerns about the rising deficit to:

    Expansionary Austerity Unicorn
    999 Cain Circle
    Uber Dummkopf

    Don’t have a stamp handy? Just have the kids draw you up one!

  3. Might get a different answer if you asked ‘would you be willing to be unemployed?’. Germany is going to learn a few things this year, I think.

    1. @SteveK9,
      It’s easy. Keep all the Moms at home to home school the kids. Everyone behaves. All volunteer fire departments. Take your trash to the landfill. Limit beer drinking to one glass per day. Drive carefully- no accidents please. Try to stay off the roads as much as possible. Take turns volunteering to clean all the public buildings- we need window washers, lawn mowers, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, roofers, janitors, and gardeners. That should leave enough to keep some semblance of a military, just in case.
      There are probably a few more things, but they could start with those.

      1. @chewitup, What I meant was I am guessing they think this means a slightly smaller paycheck, not no job at all … which will be the result for many.

    2. @SteveK9, Learn? They never learned them before, why should this time be any different?

      It’s puzzling that one of the most tribal countries on earth can have so much trouble grasping the concept of fiat currency.

      1. @SteveK9, Yes, but there’s an understandable dark side to that joke. In between the barbarian revolts, civilization consistently tries to destroy the masses. Ask the Celts – if you can find any – how they feel about both Romans & Germani. Not to mention the Iberians, Picts, Sicilians, …. on & on.

        We need a playwright, Fiaticus, to explain that all creation & destruction of “value” is a policy choice, hopefully an adaptive one.

  4. It is interesting, that they support austerity abstractly only – that is they do not want higher taxes, and they agree to cut government spending only for the “administration” and “subsidies”.
    So basically – a normal response of the brainwashed.
    “debt is bad (look at those lazy Greeks)”, “government spends too much (but not on the things that I need)”, “no taxes”

  5. and not only this but they have to have a self-righteous air about themselves too don’t they? Austerity is “better” and “more responsible” more “manly”. We are better humans. We can “take it.” Austerity is sooooo “chic,” so “in.”

    The greatest irony is they THINK they are genuinely “saving” money when in fact they are LOSING their savings!!! What a world….only on Earth and only with humans!!!

  6. The positives about lemming economics is eventually when they go over the cliff, thier failed ideaology will hopefully die with their collapse. You will have a new generation of lemmings to teach MMT and job guarantees too, so look on the bright side and quit trying to save the lemmings who are certain to perish. Be prepared for the phoenix you will ride as it soars out of the ashes 😉 Or at least that is what Soros told me at his last bretton woods redux….

    1. @Willie Lomax,

      Luddite’s have a unique strength in rationalizing “if we’d only have jumped FURTHER out from the cliff … we’d have reached the other side.”

      Some survivors may come out of this fully determined to climb back up and try it again .. harder.

    2. @Willie Lomax, Maybe it will be China. Wish I understood what is going on there better. I keep wondering if their current fear of unemployment will be enough to keep doing ‘the right thing’.

      1. @SteveK9, Based on what i am told the Chinese get it …but the Germans …just try talking MMT to any of them and see the look on their faces …they will certify you insane ..

      2. @walid M, Yet when it comes to physics, ecology, various system sciences, thermodynamics, relativity … Germans dominate. Strangely, most of what they invent they shield their own policy from.
        Having lived there, I can attest that Germans are individually brilliant, yet amazingly tribal when it comes to policy. Their confidence in coordination slightly outdoes their personal recognition of adaptive change, and loyalty to Ordnung usually wins out. Conservative geniuses, destined to fail big before adapting.

  7. It’s easy to give up meat on Friday, when you can have Schnitzel the other six days. Also, the fishermen will thank you.
    That said, the people who track underground or shadow economies, calculated that the last downturn in official German employment caused a whole lot of investment in real estate repair and improvement — a DIY endeavor that doesn’t show up in the nation’s capital accounts.
    These same people estimated that Spain and Italy had shadow economies equal to 25% of the official GDP, while Greece was up to 40%. All those Greeks trading and exchanging without paying tax really miffed the IMF. If people use money without paying for the privilege, how are the middlemen going to get their vig?

    1. @steve m, People do not learn from other people’s bad experience. Some people do not even learn from their own bad experience. Perhaps creatures of habit are deceived by the ease with which they do things and mistake it for expertise. Repetition must make things better.

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