When this government ran out of words – Handelsblatt Morning Briefing

The Federal Government itself sullied its 100-day anniversary in a unique way by remaining silent and doing nothing. As a reminder, when it came to the pandemic, she rightly emphasized that the debate on it did not belong in the back room, but in parliament. But what about the currently biggest topic that moves and threatens people? So Volodymyr Zelensky actually spoke to the Bundestag yesterday.

The Ukrainian president’s calls for help and his accusations resonated, but the traffic light government absolutely didn’t want to talk about it – after all, it was necessary to go back to business as usual. The agenda is the last security in disruptive times. That was as empathetic as it was undignified, an act to make others ashamed. And that in a country that raged and desecrated Ukraine during World War II, currently does not want to give up Russian drugs oil and gas and is filling Vladimir Putin’s war chest in this way. Dare more progress? Dare more debate.

Apparently, independent media commentators first had to explain to the “agenda team” what they had done here.

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  • Berthold Kohler (“Frankfurter Allgemeine”): “The federal government and the parties supporting it had already received enough beatings this morning – from Selenski, who was universally praised for his bravery.”
  • Georg Ismar (“Tagesspiegel”): “On this day in the Bundestag, this facial expression, the wordless chancellor, becomes a symbol for a low point in his previous chancellorship, he misses a momentum.”
  • Johannes Boie (“Image”): “Selenski’s speech was historic. The reaction in the Bundestag afterwards was a historic low.
  • Ralf Neukirch (“Spiegel”): “Day of Indignity.”

Later that evening on that memorable Thursday, the sad 100th day of a government started with ethical values, coalition representatives like Christian Lindner (FDP) and Michael Roth (SPD) said business as usual was probably a mistake. Without words.

Perhaps off the agenda is a moment of leisure for Mark Twain (also a journalist): “The difference between the right word and the almost right one is like the difference between lightning and a firefly.”

Christian Lindner, Olaf Scholz, Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck (from left): All three coalition partners had to jump far beyond their shadow in the first 100 days.

(Photo: imago images/image enclosure)

Incidentally, it is worth reading again exactly what the anything but wordless politician Zelenskiy said exactly. For example, he recalled having always warned of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as a “weapon”: “You always said it’s economy, economy, economy.”

And now this pipeline has become “the cement of the wall”, this wall between freedom and bondage. Germany’s reluctance to comply with Ukraine’s wish for EU membership is also “a stone for a new wall”. And finally, Ukraine asked for preventive sanctions against Russia before the invasion, “but you preferred to continue to follow the motto economy, economy, economy.”

In the ZDF talk show “Maybrit Illner”, which was in fact “Theo Koll” last night because of the presenter’s corona disease, Economics Minister Robert Habeck admitted to the Gazprom case that there was only “limited solidarity”, we had “ourself hands tied” – and apparently even taped his mouth shut.

Corona, climate change, Putin – three crises too many for decent economic growth. “We are missing three years of growth,” says the Handelsblatt Research Institute (HRI) and lowers the forecast for gross domestic product in 2022 from plus 3.4 percent to just 2.7 percent. The tendency of the German economists is clear. The Kiel Institute for the World Economy even halved its outlook to 2.1 percent. The war makes forecasts difficult, says HRI President Bert Rürup: “Proven past-future symmetries and behavioral patterns no longer apply.”

There would be no model that could even approximate the possible consequences of an escalation of the current situation.

It boils down to Winston Churchill: For him, the expert was a man who could later explain exactly why his forecast was wrong.

We issue a “profit warning” in the big weekend report. Completely different conflicts are emerging behind the current problems arising from the consequences of the war. They have to do with the end of the triumphant advance of liberalism, with the dwindling acceptance of the “way of life” of western countries.

And with the “cluster risk” China: Dax companies generate 16 percent of their sales there, in Russia it was recently a measly percent. Can Russia build a Eurasian powerhouse in the future or will it end up as a vassal of China, which has to supply cheap fossil energy? What about India? Our foray through the individual sectors reads like a blue light report.

Joseph Stiglitz, the American Nobel Prize winner for economics, sees major risks for emerging countries in an interview with the Handelsblatt. In detail he says about…

  • Russia: “We are experiencing a crisis in a completely new dimension. It is not every day that we have a pandemic followed by a Russian war of aggression against a sovereign democratic state in the heart of Europe. Nobody can really estimate the consequences. We’re stuck in the fog.”
  • inflation: “Many economists are now worried about a wage-price spiral of the kind we experienced back in the 1970s. I am skeptical about such comparisons and am much more optimistic than many of my colleagues. Back then the unions were stronger.”
  • oil companies: “You are currently making big profits. If the oil companies raise their prices above production costs, they should be hit with some kind of war tax. The tax revenue can then help fund consumer relief.”

Conclusion: Putin’s war, as you can see, is bringing about completely new redistribution models.

Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz: The economist sees the world economy at a turning point.

(Photo: Imago)

My cultural tip for the weekend: “New York and the Rest of the World”, a collection of essays by Fran Lebowitz, the early work of a journalist discovered by Andy Warhol, which was followed by neither a major nor a late work. The volume that is now being published in Germany is all the more inspiring, with lots of beautiful dabs about the US metropolis that was still little styled 40 years ago, back when the first art galleries were just showing up in Soho.

And so we learn from this Manhattan notebook that “stage mom” refers to a female parent who “instills in the child theatrical ambition and thus greed for success.” You might also want to read up on what “architect mom,” “talk show host mom,” “mortician mom,” “head waiter mom,” or “restaurant critic mom” means.

And then there is Oskar Lafontaine, 78, who was often far ahead of his time, but on the other hand far away from those with whom he could have changed political conditions. The Saarlander accomplishes the feat of leaving parties twice: the first time in 2005 from the SPD, the second time now from the Left Party, which he helped to create himself.

A few days before the state elections in the Saar, he flanked his retirement with his spectacular departure, which guaranteed maximum damage. Together with Gerhard Schröder, Lafontaine once represented the “grandchildren’s generation” of the SPD, two great talents and favorites of Willy Brandt. Now you can see her hunched over, as it were, walking through a landscape of political ruins. Lafontaine gave another big speech yesterday in the Saarland state parliament, this time about the war, and then it was over. His books and sayings remain, for example: “The heart is not yet traded on the stock exchange, it beats on the left.”

Conclusion: But in the middle sits the head, which could also be good for some things.

I wish you a relaxing weekend.

It greets you cordially
Hans Jürgen Jakobs

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