March 18th, 2013
11:23 AM ET

What we're reading

By Fareed Zakaria

Germany is both too strong and too weak to assume its rightful international position, writes Brendan Simms in the New Statesman.

“It sits uneasily at the heart of an EU that was conceived largely to constrain German power but which has served instead to increase it, and whose design flaws have unintentionally deprived many other Europeans of sovereignty without giving them a democratic stake in the new order. The question we face now is this: how can the Federal Republic, which is prosperous and secure as never before, be persuaded to take the political initiative and make the necessary economic sacrifices to complete the work of European unity?”

Rocked by the global financial crisis, the Indian government and Reserve bank of India “jointly started a stimulus program that involved duty cuts, easy liquidity, rock-bottom interest rates, higher outlays for social entitlement programs, salary increases for government employees and increased grain prices for farmers,” writes Rajrishi Singhal on Bloomberg.

“Unfortunately, the government hasn’t been as swift in ending its stimulus program. The government’s boost to consumption, especially at a time when demand has exceeded the system’s capacity to supply, fueled inflationary fires. One reason the ruling party has persisted with more funding for numerous welfare plans and burgeoning subsidies could be its misplaced perception that higher outlays for entitlement programs helped it win additional votes in 2009.”

Detention of immigrants, “an arduous, sometimes lengthy and even dangerous experience,”  is not always necessary, writes Edwidge Danticat in the Washington Post.

“Detention is also not a fiscally responsible method of law enforcement: It costs taxpayers as much as $164 a day to detain immigrants, the National Immigration Forum noted in August. Alternatives to detention include home visits, curfew restrictions and electronic monitoring, some of which cost as little as $14 per day, the group says.”

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    Brendan Simms seemed to have forgotten that the Federal Republic of Germany is a democracy. The German electorate votes for the party it sees fit to govern. The winning party rallies behind its leader, who in the end becomes Chancellor. Anybody proposing a political initiative, that provides for "the necessary economic sacrifices to complete the work of European unity” now months ahead of the general election is asking for punishment.

    March 19, 2013 at 9:10 am | Reply
  2. rightospeak

    Mr. Simms is somewhat naive or misinformed. The EU is about to fall apart . It was an experiment similar to the Soviet experiment of socialist states with central planning in Brussels. It will not work because the people of Europe will not be enslaved. The banksters are trying to enslave through debt and propaganda , but some countries are rebelling. Germany will do most likely what is best for Germany and go back to the Mark or stay with euro with few equal economically countries . The EU is doomed -it ruined too many countries and tried to enslave. The history will show that I am right. Germany together with Eastern European contries and some West European contries may join with Russia economically when the fiat money bust happens.

    March 19, 2013 at 11:36 am | Reply

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