He began earlier this year by wanting to "whip" Switzerland for harbouring German tax dodgers. He forecast the demise of the USA as a financial superpower. And now, Germany's Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück (FT profile here), has only gone and again said what plenty think. The key passage from That Newsweek Interview is below - obviously Herr Steinbrück is not gunning for the diplomatic portfolio.

The speed at which proposals are put together under pressure that don't even pass an economic test is breathtaking and depressing. Our British friends are now cutting their value-added tax. We have no idea how much of that stores will pass on to customers. Are you really going to buy a DVD player because it now costs £39.10 instead of £39.90? All this will do is raise Britain's debt to a level that will take a whole generation to work off. The same people who would never touch deficit spending are now tossing around billions. The switch from decades of supply-side politics all the way to a crass Keynesianism is breathtaking. When I ask about the origins of the crisis, economists I respect tell me it is the credit-financed growth of recent years and decades. Isn't this the same mistake everyone is suddenly making again, under all the public pressure? (link)

He might have added something along the lines of "talk about trying to buy an election!" but, perhaps, with one eye on the German €31bn plan, refrained.

But still, it is surely a good thing the "crass Keynesiansm" has been put on the debating table rather than swallowed entirely untempered by every single major economic power as part of their ongoing spectacle of one upsmanship using Other People's Money.

Not that the fiscal boosters will see it that way.

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