Monday, 22 April 2013

Beware of Americans bearing gifts

Apparently the US finance minister Jack Lew gave his German colleague Wolfgang Schäuble a copy of an Alexander Hamilton biography. As Schäuble will have discovered upon reading the book, one of Hamilton's main contributions was to have the federal government of the newly founded United States assume responsibility for debts run up by individual states. It's reassuring to see that Lew knows his history and understands that the USA as a federal state were not only founded on lofty ideals but also on the need to handle an imminent debt crisis. It's far less reassuring to see that German politicians are unwilling to learn from history (German, American or other) or even acknowledge its relevance. Apparently, Schäuble's come-back was a bland 'things are different today'.

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