Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What If the Trump-Merkel Story was True?

It is rumored....no one can say it occurred in a factual way....that when Chancellor Merkel met with President Trump....he laid out the cost of the period now that Germany has not paid 2-percent of it' GDP into the NATO pot.

It may or may not be true.

The rumored cost?  370-billion dollars.  Some say it's with interest.  Some say it's without interest.

It sounds like a great story, but it also sounds like fake news.

The thing about this story, if you start to think about it, is that up until the period of Gerhard Schroeder (the last Chancellor of Germany)....they had been on cutting edge of paying the 2-percent of the GDP into the NATO pot.

So, if this was true, it brings you to one odd question.

Merkel has been Chancellor since the end of 2005.  Where exactly for the past 12 years, did she go and spend the 370-billion dollars?  It wasn't given back to the public or granted as some tax credit.  It was spent somewhere.  So, where?

Eventually, some Germans will wake up and ask....if it's NOT a fake story, then where did the German government go and spend this money?

It might be interesting to know how it got spent.  Maybe into the EU pot?  Maybe for bridges?  Maybe for nuclear energy?  If you just play with the numbers....that's 30-billion dollars roughly for each year that was spent elsewhere.  So, where?

I'm kinda hoping it is a fake story.  If it's true, then there's going to be a problem in explaining the use of the money.


Bruce Twomey said...

Check https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/18/trump-merkel-nato-germany-owe-money-tweet (and any other reputable news sources). Commitment made at a summit in Wales in 2014 was for members to spend 2% of GDP by 2024. Yes, 2024. Not 2014. Not 2004. It's 2024. Any talk of 2% of GDP spending commitment that is retroactive, or that amounts less that 2% were diverted to other uses - THAT is fake news. You're a voracious reader of news. Maybe just a bit less Bild or Breitbart and maybe more Economist, The Guardian, Washington Post, would help elucidate the full picture.

R Hammond said...

At some point, within the Schroeder gov't from a dozen-odd years ago, the Germans were near to the 2-percent point. No one can argue over that. I think the discussion item which people might want to focus at...is with the Merkel gov't and the various coalitions...they've taken a fair chunk of money and done the budget in a different way. It is their right to do so.

I might also point out dozens of public infrastructure projects (the BER, Stuttgart-21, the Hamburg opera house, etc) that all exceeded their budgets by a significant amount, and these all came from the general budgets of their metropolitan area, the state, or the federal government. If we focused on the past dozen years and the money that didn't go to NATO, these massive projects probably make up more than a third of the money.

But my real emphasis is this....is it even necessary to keep NATO afloat in this period of time with this huge amount of money? I think in the 1990s....the downsizing of NATO should have taken place, and by now...it should be half of what we see. Pressing on with this GDP talk should not be the only topic of discussion.