German mag laughs at crumbling CA

by CalWatchdog Staff | January 18, 2013 8:16 am

Der Spiegel cover, Jan. 2013[1]Jan. 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[2], 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 [3]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.”


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[4] (combined federal and state rates), California’s top income tax rate now is higher than Germany’s 45 percent[5].

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.



  1. [Image]:
  2. gemutlichkeit:
  3. schadenfreude :
  4. 54 percent:
  5. 45 percent:

Source URL: