ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
This thread has turned stupid.
Check who owes who.
Then find out who is owed this debt, you think the US owes the Palestinians money? ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
The Euro, check German unemployment at 11.1 % vs American unemployment at 5.7%.
Unemployment spread deeper into the German population during
January, throwing 398,000 more people out of work. And officials
see no immediate relief in sight.
There used to be a time when German Chancellor Gerhard Schr?der
had high hopes for cutting the country's unemployment rolls. He
talked of cutting the total to 3.5 million and urged voters to measure
his performance by this standard before they went to the polls in
His high hopes also once seemed to be shaping up into real gains. At
the end of 2000, the chancellor looked back on a period in which
around 550,000 people joined the working world starting in late
1999. And he could look confidently ahead at more gains, fueled by
a blend of tax breaks and other measures he had pushed through.
Barely two years later, Schr?der can only look with horror at the
numbers. On Wednesday, he and the rest of the country learned that
the number of jobless people climbed to 4.623 million in January. It
was the highest figure for the month in five years and a total that
amounts to more than the entire population of the eastern German
state of Saxony. Within a month, the country's unemployment rate
jumped 1 percentage point, to 11.1 percent, as 398,000 people lost
Slump, weather blamed
Florian Gerster, the head of the German Labor Office in N?rnberg who
had the task of spreading the bad news, blamed the increase on the
winter weather and the country's slumping economy. Gerster also
offered little hope that the situation would change soon. Instead, he
said an improving economy would not help the economy until year's
The numbers sent a shock through the country. "It is clearly worse
than expected," Andreas Scheuerle of the DekaBank told the
Reuters news agency. "Those are horrible numbers."
Angela Merkel, who leads the opposition Christian Democratic
Union, said Germany needed a powerful push to overcome the
problem. "And the federal government must provide this powerful
push," Merkel said.
Wolfgang Clement, the Social Democratic
economics and labor minister charged with
bringing down the numbers, responded to
the report in a more sober language. "The
numbers show that the weak economy and
the pressing structural problems continue
to have an effect on the economy," he said.
Analyzing the problems
To Holger Sch?fer of the Cologne Institute
for Business Research, the growing
numbers are nothing new. For years,
economists like him have been analyzing
the problems of the German job market and
been coming to similar conclusions. Part of the current problem,
these economists know, lies beyond the control of the government.
When the economy falls into a slump, employment suffers, Sch?fer
said. And the German economy has been in the doldrums for two
years. It grew 0.6 percent in 2001 and about 0.2 percent last year,
according to the German Statistics Office in Wiesbaden.
The second set of problems, however, has little to do with the ups
and downs of a country's economy. Instead, they are caused by
Germany's highly regulated job market, Sch?fer said. In this
environment, job creation sometimes becomes "the course of last
resort," he said.
One reason that employers are reluctant to hire people is the
non-labor costs associated with their employment, he said. "These
costs know only one direction -- up," Sch?fer said. The costs,
generally shared on a 50-50 basis between employer and employee,
cover such things as health insurance and payments into the
country's pension system. This January, the pension payments
climbed from 19.1 percent of gross pay to 19.5 percent. Some
officials expect that they will climb once again this year. Many
people also are paying higher health insurance premiums as the
deficit of the public health funds climbs.
Regulations on layoffs
Beyond these money issues, other regulations make employers
reluctant to hire workers, Sch?fer said. One such regulation defines
procedures that employers must follow when they decide to lay off
someone. Among other things, these rules regulate the notification
period for layoffs and the payment of severance pay. In larger
companies, employers also must consult the workers' council, which
represents employee interests in a company, before they can lay off
A change in these regulations would allow employers to dismiss
employees more easily during bad times, he said. But "they could
hire people more quickly during good times," Sch?fer said.
Clement, as he noted Wednesday, recognizes the need for structural
reforms and has suggested relaxing this law to make it easier to
dismiss and hire workers. But he encountered immediate opposition
from many of Germany's unions, which are heavily represented in
Clement's Social Democratic Party. In the wake of Wednesday's
unemployment report, the head of the German Trade Union
Federation continued to raise objections the such ideas. "I can only
advise people to keep their hands off such superficial, knee-jerk
reactions," Michael Summer said.
Change in statistics planned
Clement is also planning to introduce one sure-fire way to cut the
rate: He plans to base Germany's unemployment rate on European
Union standards. The centerpiece of the change will be that officials
will count only those unemployed people who are available to take
jobs. Under Germany's rules, a person is considered to be
unemployed if he or she works less than 15 hours a week and is
registered with the country's labor office.
Officials said the change was necessary in order to create a
universal standard within the European Union. The change is
expected to cut the total by more than 1 percentage point.