Germany

Why Is Every Attempt to Slow Spending "Devastating"?

German court OKs another euro bailout. Media ridicule opponents.

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Boy, to look at him you'd never guess he was Bavarian.

Germany's Constitutional Court will go ahead with its ruling on another attempted eurozone bailout, dismissing an injunction request from Bavarian lawmaker Peter Gauweiler.

Here's how Reuters describes it:

If the court did back the injunction request against the ESM and fiscal compact, it would have a devastating impact on bond and currency markets, pushing the 17-member currency zone deeper into turmoil by casting doubt on its ability to launch further rescue bids of heavily-indebted states.

You'd think that after more than six years of hysterics, financial beat reporters would be tired of breathless multisyllables. Would a rejection of the so-called European Stability Mechanism (ESM) really have been "devastating" for the people who lend money to European governments, who would presumably be getting a higher interest rate that better reflects the risk they are taking? Would a hike in interest rates be "devastating" in and of itself? Sure, it would bring down the value of existing bonds for people looking to sell them, but it would do the same for people looking to buy them. It would also be decidedly un-devastating for new creditors in the bond market, who would have a much more clear idea of what to expect from their borrowers once the pig-in-a-poke promises of a bailout are removed?

German Constitutional Court in deliberations.

And how about the Munich taxpayers Gauweiler represents in the Bundestag, whose fair share of the ESM cost will almost definitely turn out to be much higher than the fair share borne by taxpayers (if there are any taxpayers) in the ESM's beneficiary countries? How "devastated" would they be if just once they didn't have their future paychecks committed to another of the countless fiscal fabtraptions the European Central Bank has concocted since the death of the euro began?

In the language of post-colonial studies, this is "othering," where you use the commonplaces of vocabulary to make opposing points of view disappear. If Gauweiler and euroskeptics like him have nothing but devastation in mind (and forget for a moment that the historic roster of people who want to bring Europe under unified control includes Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler and Col. Green), then of course we should not listen to their objections, because who wants devastation?

Almost exactly four years ago, a Wall Street Journal representative had some wise words about the paper's coverage of the credit unwind: "'Crash,' 'panic,' 'pandemonium,' 'apocalypse,' those are the words we're staying away from." We could use a little of that Kiplingesque fortitude today. People of good will can disagree about whether the inevitable breakup of the eurozone is a step in the right direction. We can even disagree about whether it's inevitable. But if it's devastating to block another bailout package, fairness demands we also point out that Gauweiler is trying to prevent devastation to his constituents' wallets. Isn't the real news that a politician is for once trying to prevent a ripoff?