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Germany’s Austerity Budget

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An example to be studied by the Bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform?

From Der Spiegel, “German Government Agrees on Historic Austerity Program“:

The German government put together the largest austerity package since World War II on Monday, with spending cuts and new business levies aimed at saving 80 billion euros by 2014. Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany, as Europe’s largest economy, must set an example.

The German government on Monday announced plans to reduce spending by €80 billion ($95.7 billion) by 2014 in the largest package of cutssince World War II. The austerity program aims at reducing the budget deficit and helping to protect the euro as it continues its slide.

“We have to save €80 billion by 2014 to put our financial future back on a solid footing,” Merkel told a press conference on Monday afternoon. She said the budget cuts for Germany, Europe’s largest economy, were a “unique show of strength” that signalled her government’s commitment to tackling the European debt problems that have plunged the euro single currency into crisis.

“Germany as the largest economy has a duty to set a good example,” she said.

The CDU/CSU’s governing partners, the more market-oriented Free Democrats, have been calling for tax reductions.

Der Spiegel has a good map of the government debt in each of the Eurozone countries as percentage of GDP. Germany’s is 78.8 percent, Greece’s is 124.9 percent.

Total outstanding U.S. debt was approximately 88.9% of GDP as of June 1; debt for the first time exceeded $13 trillion.

Looks like Slovakia is the best model — 40.8 percent.