The Corner

Desperate Schroeder

Schroeder loses in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Deutsche Welle has more:

“The loss of NRW could also force Schröder to abandon plans to cut the basic corporate tax rate to 19 percent from 25 percent, a move designed to boost growth but strongly opposed by the left. An extension of the minimum wage to all sectors of the economy and tighter controls on hedge funds are other likely outcomes. SPD party leader Franz Müntefering has been telegraphing the possible return to the left for weeks, launching a scathing attack on “pure capitalism” and likening some financial investors to “locusts”. But the leftist rhetoric has come to late to save the state for the SPD.

The state had long been an SPD stronghold dominated by the coal and steel industry but NRW has fallen on hard times. Unemployment in NRW, a state in which one in five Germans live, surpassed the one million mark to a post-war high this year. The cause of this, disgruntled residents say, is down to Schröder’s controversial labor market reforms, which include jobless benefit cuts.”

And watch for this…

’The election result has ominous implications for the future of SPD and Greens cooperation as well as the future of the government. NRW was the last German state ruled by the Red-Green coalition and the result leaves the increasingly tense federal partnership in Berlin as the final alliance between the two parties.”

Somewhat counter-intuitively, many Greens are more economically liberal than their coalition partners in the SPD.

It looks like a rough ride ahead in Germany. The last time Schroeder was faced with the danger of election defeat he descended into the gutter for crude anti-Americanism of the worst type. That worked. I’d expect free enterprise to be in for similar treatment this time around.

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