25 September 2011

Quote for the day (2)

"The teabaggers incessantly tell us that our economy is strangled by government regulations and those mythical all-powerful unions. We're told that if we want to regain our place in the world, we must get rid of pesky regulatory agencies like the EPA, and we must destroy those few unions left -- because life is obviously just sooooooo much better in those southern "right to work" states like Alabama. Paradise on Earth, Alabama is. Okay. So why does Germany, for all of its problems, have a trade surplus? In Germany, the unions remain strong -- so strong that they actually help to run the corporations. Unions are so strong that companies give at least one full month of vacation to workers, who also get double pay in December. (They call that Weihnachtsgeld.) This means that the corporations pay 13 months of salary for 11 months of work. Long-time workers get even more -- 15, 16 months of salary for 11 months of work. As for regulations -- well, ask anyone who has ever lived in Germany: Everything there is regulated to an obscene degree. You can't install a goddamned door in a small office without having to meet the sort of specs one might expect to go into a space shuttle escape hatch. According to libertarian theory, Germany simply should not work. Everyone there should be starving. So again: Why do they have a trade surplus?"

Joseph Cannon on the economic Colossus of Europe (Germany is roughly tied with China, whose population is 15 times larger, for the status of world's biggest exporter)

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