German mag laughs at crumbling CA

Der Spiegel cover, Jan. 2013Jan. 18, 2013

By John Seiler

The left-center, establishment magazine Der Spiegel is the Germany’s equivalent of Time magazine. They just delighted in making fun of the decomposition of America, especially in California.

After recalling that the uniform hamburger was invented by McDonald’s in San Bernardino in 1948, when the city was a boom town of prosperity and California gemutlichkeit, the magazine brings up today’s brutal reality:

“On August 1, 2012, San Bernardino filed for bankruptcy. Today this city, located an hour’s drive east of Los Angeles, is one of the poorest, most violent cities in the United States. Once the setting for one of America’s greatest success stories, the city can no longer even afford to pay its police officers and is rotting in its own waste.

“The situation is a catastrophe for everyone who hasn’t packed up and moved away. It is also representative of the bankruptcy of a country that failed to use its prosperous decades to sustain a functioning government. Funds are short at all levels, from Washington to the states to the cities and towns. The US is no longer investing in its infrastructure, weakening the foundation that gives all Americans a chance to have a piece of the American Dream.”

That’s a little schadenfreude there by the Germans. After the destruction of Hitler and World War II, they rebuilt the Fatherland into an industrial powerhouse. About 15 years ago, they also cut back on social services and anti-business attitudes paid for with debt, as both liberals and conservatives agreed that business growth — not debt — was the key to national prosperity.

They might have added that part of the reason the United States is bankrupt is that we blew trillions defending Western Europe from the Soviet Union, even long after Western Europe could have defended itself, as Eisenhower pointed out around 1960. But if you expect much gratitude in this world you’ll be waiting a long time.

“San Bernardino was the third city in California to declare bankruptcy last year. First came Stockton, in June, followed by the ski town Mammoth Lakes. The majority of American cities are deep in debt, and unlike the federal government, they have limits to the amount of money they can borrow. Their residents are feeling the effects….

“San Bernardino, for example, is no longer even able to pay city employees’ salaries. To reduce costs, the city has cut about 20 percent of its employees, with those who remain taking a 10 percent pay cut. The mayor’s staff has been reduced from nine to two, and three of four city libraries have closed, as have two centers dedicated to combating gang violence. The police may soon have to share the patrol vehicles of neighboring cities’ forces — which isn’t particularly welcome news in a city that had over 32 murders in 2012 and that ranks among the 100 most dangerous in the US.

“San Bernardino, population 213,000, is short $45 million for the current fiscal year and is already unable to fulfill even its most crucial obligations, including making pension payments to retired city employees, which were simply suspended.”

Taxes

The magazine doesn’t have much understanding about California and America on taxes. They attack Proposition 13, the 1978 referendum that cut taxes and formed the base of the state’s prosperity during the boom times from 1978-2007.

They also don’t note that, at 54 percent (combined federal and state rates), California’s top income tax rate now is higher than Germany’s 45 percent.

They also praise President Obama’s “You didn’t build that” statement. Yet they don’t point out that America’s success depends on our being more of an individualist country than Germany. Despite our higher-than-Germany taxes, young entrepreneurs the world over still flock to Silicon Valley.

Or at least they have. The state now is so badly managed, as Der Spiegel rightly describes despite its defective analysis, that the young and bold might stop coming.

 

 

6 comments

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  1. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 18 January, 2013, 09:00

    “The situation is a catastrophe for everyone who hasn’t packed up and moved away. It is also representative of the bankruptcy of a country that failed to use its prosperous decades to sustain a functioning government. Funds are short at all levels, from Washington to the states to the cities and towns. The US is no longer investing in its infrastructure, weakening the foundation that gives all Americans a chance to have a piece of the American Dream.”
    ==
    That was awesome, on the money, so true.

    Reply this comment
  2. us citizen
    us citizen 18 January, 2013, 09:51

    ditto

    Reply this comment
  3. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 18 January, 2013, 10:44

    The question never asked (by the MSM, at any rate):

    “….Maybe the mayor of a smallish Southern California city really only needed two people on his staff in the first place?….”

    I went to Catholic grammar school in Ventura County in the late 60s-early 70s. Grades 1-8. Over 700 students. All overseen by: One principal and one administrative assistant.

    Talk a walk into your local school and tell me if you see anything remotely approaching that level of staffing efficiency.

    We’ve been told since the Goldwater era that this whole Big Government construct is ultimately unsustainable. Most of us at CWD understand that. Maybe others will start listening now too.

    Reply this comment
  4. Tax Target
    Tax Target 18 January, 2013, 11:25

    Stop your whining about “investing in the infrastructure”, liberal words for TAXES. If government at all levels sought to use it funds wisely over the years we would not be in this mess. The idea that somehow we can sustain the waste in government now, and add to it with more taxes is LUNACY. Suck it Buckwheat – it’s time to cut the size of government!

    Reply this comment
  5. Sean Morham
    Sean Morham 18 January, 2013, 11:29

    Evan though the German publication has some valid points, a bit of humility should be the order of the day. The butchers in their history are not that long ago. If they would like to give us some aid, it would be of help. The possibility of that happening is less than remote. A much greater probabilty is that sickness in their character will show itself in the next 50 years, and that the USA will have to save the day again for the Europeans, from themselves or whatever threat raises its head.

    Reply this comment
  6. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 18 January, 2013, 12:41

    Stop your whining about “investing in the infrastructure”, liberal words for TAXES
    ==
    Right now 90%+ of ALL tax revenue goes to employees, if it were only 70% we could use the other 20%+ to rebuild the roads highways streets bridges you name it……

    Reply this comment

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