Round Numbers16 Sep 2005
The head of Der Spiegel's Berlin bureau sums up Germany's budget dilemma in the Wall Street Journal: Say it Slowly: 'Zukunftsangst'.
A glance at the state's finances shows how dramatic the situation is: Of 190 billion euros in tax revenues, 80 billion is passed on to the cash-strapped state pension system, 30 billion goes to the unemployed, and another 40 billion belongs to the banks, just to service debt. The rest is not even enough to pay the bureaucracy and to build roads. Ever-new credits are constantly needed so that Germany at least has the appearance of a prosperous country.
Of course the politicians never put it this directly, and the press only very rarely. It reminds me of the quietest room in hell. Everyone stands in a vat of raw sewage up to the lower lip, and the only sound is a mass whisper. "Don't make waves. Don't make waves...."(via vowe)