The newly elected French Socialist president, François Hollande, is warning Germany that Mediterranean ideas of “growth,” not Germanic “austerity,” should be the new European creed. No surprise there — reckless debtors often blame their own past imprudence on greedy creditors, especially if the latter are supposed to be guilt-ridden over causing two world wars.
All over Europe, the gospel is that tight-fisted Germans are at the root of the European Union meltdown: They worked too hard, saved too much, bought too little, and borrowed not at all. All that may be true, in theory. But, in fact, faulting thrift and industry is a prescription for incurring anger and guaranteeing backlash — especially in the case of the Germans, who are now being asked to provide even more capital to help other European economies recover.
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