Sharp blades in the fight for the next finance minister. The economists Stiglitz and Tooze enter the dispute between Habeck (Verdi) and Lindner (Fdp) and advise not to appoint the liberal. And they collect spicy replicas.
The most important game in the great game of the new German government is played around the figure of the future finance minister. The dispute seems to concern the two prominent men of the so-called minor parties, the Greens and the Liberals, Robert Habeck and Christian Lindner. But the adjective “minors” no longer fits the two forces that took the political initiative in the aftermath of the elections of 26 September, have the preferences of the youth vote behind them and have given the turning point towards the center-left on the thrust of the need for a change of pace after sixteen years of Merkelism and twelve of Grosse Koalition. STIGLITZ AND TOOZE AGAINST FINANCE IN LINDNER (FDP)
The tug-of-war that takes place behind the scenes has been brought to the fore by a public intervention with a straight leg. Because it came from outside, both from the political field and from the national territory. Two world-renowned economists, American Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and British economic historian Adam Tooze, wrote a comment in the German weekly Die Zeit demanding that the next finance minister be not the liberal Lindner. The title: “It would be a mistake to grant his wish”.
The ironic and sarcastic style did not hide the harshness of the intervention: for his own good, Lindner should be spared the “impossible task” of having to apply his “antediluvian budget agenda” to today’s financial situation. Europe and Germany cannot afford this “crash test”, the two economists continue: the problem is that the financial policy agenda of the FDP and Lindner is not just “an accumulation of conservative cliches”, but above all ” they are cliches of the nineties ”.
Better for everyone, and above all for Chancellor Scholz, would be to entrust the liberals with a super dicastery for Digitization, where they could measure all their capacity for innovation, instead letting the Greens, with their policies and strategies, lead the German financial machine for the next four years. THE RISK OF REFURBISHING POPULISM IN ITALY
“The great danger to democracy in Europe is not represented by the interference of strangers or trolls on the Internet”, the attack of the two professors continues, “but by the application at the wrong time of an inadequate budgetary discipline, which a group minority of northern states wants to impose on a majority of European voters ”. For Germany this option would be “catastrophic”, as well as putting itself at the head of the northern states: “The Italian populists could not hope for better than engaging in a public confrontation with the German Ministry of Finance”, conclude Stiglitz and Tooze, which “would be fatal for Italy and bad for Europe and Germany “. THE REPLICA OF LINDNER
There are those who believe that the departure of the two professors can more favor than damage Lindner’s ambitions, especially since no politician likes to give the impression of being subjected to external interference. One of these is Christian Lindner, who replying in an interview with the Rheinische Post to the two economists, without mentioning them by name, said he felt confirmed in his positions in the face of certain criticisms. He calls them “debt economists”, pans them on the left and says they cheer for inflation: “On the contrary, I look very carefully at the risk of currency devaluation and in the United States there could be a turnaround in interest rates to cause of the risk of inflation “. For Lindner, “the ECB’s capacity for action is questioned because some euro countries would have difficulty in refinancing themselves without their help”. “We must not intentionally increase the risk of so-called fiscal dominance, which is why in Europe and Germany we must maintain sustainable state finances.”HANDELSBLATT: STIGLITZ LIKED CHAVEZ
The Handelsblatt, on the other hand, returns the attack to the senders and does it German-style, that is, without humor. Stiglitz’s advice is crazy and more than unusual, he writes in an editorial, recalling that “however exceptional his academic record is, his policy recommendations have been muddled. He has woven economic and political garlands for Venezuelan president and left-wing populist Hugo Chavez ”. Result
Today “Venezuela is a failed state” where “inflation gallops and the people are in poverty”.
Especially the accusation of politics from the 90s did not like the financial newspaper: “At a time when inflation is dramatically rising, the American economist hopes for a German finance minister who spends money with both hands and contracts in exchange huge debts “. FUEST (IFO): A MINISTER IS NEEDED TO INDICATE DISCIPLINE
It will never happen, says Clemens Fuest, president of the most prestigious German economic institute, the Munich IFO. Speaking to foreign press reporters in Berlin, Fuest also maliciously recalled Stiglitz’s sympathies for Chavez, and urged German politicians and economists not to take his provocations seriously. His position is “one-sided” and denounces “a naive and superficial understanding of German politics”.
For the president of the Ifo, Germany instead needs a finance minister who does not lose sight of the needs of budgetary discipline, also to achieve a necessary rebalancing of forces within Europe and in Germany itself with strong currents. pro-debts.
We are not in a phase of infinite resources, Fuest concluded, and there is a need to prioritize the expenses necessary to revive the economies after the pandemic. FINANCES NOW MORE IMPORTANT THAN FOREIGN
The dispute over the Ministry of Finance is also a daughter of the spirit of the times. It has become the key department of the executive, the lever of any future policy. It is also the place of prestige. What was once shunned like the plague, because identified in the tax ministry that put its hands in the pockets of citizens, is now coveted and sought after. Once it was the foreign minister who embodied authority in addition to the chancellor, just scroll down a few names: Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Walter Scheel, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Joschka Fischer. Since the 2000s, the Minister of Finance has taken over, from Wolfgang Schauble to Olaf Scholz himself, who built his incredible electoral comeback on the treasures distributed in the months of the pandemic crisis and promised after the summer flood. Who knows what in the end

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