Saturday, 10 September 2011

talk about the euro

It was my first time on a TV talkshow - last week, German ARD had an hour-long program "Menschen bei Maischberger" on "The Euro Crisis - Never-ending horror?". The other guests included the parliamentary secretary at the German Economics Ministry, Peter Hintze, the SPD elder statesman Klaus von Donanyi, Tissy Bruns, Chief Political Correspondent of the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel, Anja Kohl, ARD stock market expert, and Heinz Kammerer, representative of the German banking association. It was certainly educational for me. About half the time, Hinze highjacked the occasion with long sermons about the importance of Euro rescue packages for the political future of the EU. He is an ex-pastor, after all, and uplifting rhetoric that is long smooth phrases and short on analysis comes easily to him; how theology qualifies him to be a major player in German economic policy-making I will never know (compare that to the qualifications of Alan Krueger, serving in a similar position at the US Treasury). Von Donanyi impressed me the most; sharper than many people half his age, at age 83, he had read everything and thought about everything, down to the latest Reinhardt-Rogoff book. I still differed with his conclusions, but he was in a different league from from Hintze... having served in the same capacity under Helmut Schmidt, in the 1970s. Someone should write a bit about the decline and fall of the German political class.

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