NEW YORK (
) - Being a long-time resident of Germany, I get a lot of questions about how the German people perceive the EU crisis. How do they feel about the sometimes-quite-nasty pressure from all sides to take on the debt of their less productive and less fiscally responsible neighbors? Are they outraged? Are they resentful?
It's interesting because I'm usually reading the news in German while most of my friends in the west are still sleeping. I hear about the day's events and latest developments, and come away thinking that this is a very complicated problem that will take a lot of time, discussion, and compromises to get through, but it will all work out.
It's really only when I turn on the US news that I start to panic about the EU. My impression is that the Americans are more worried about what is going on over here than the people over here. And I have to ask myself: Why is that? Why aren't the Germans freaking out?
Clearly, it's the German taxpayers who will be footing the bill while their neighbors keep piling on debt, spending more money, and asking for bailouts to prop up their systems and keep up their standards of living, despite the fact that they really aren't producing much.
In the midst of this crisis, France recently lowered their retirement age to 60, while the hard-working and thrifty Germans increased theirs to 67. Why aren't I hearing more complaints? Why is there no sense of urgency or panic here?
After giving it a lot of thought, here are the five reasons I came up with:
1. A Resignation That Bailouts Are Better in the Long Run
The German people do have a sense of what the costs would be if the euro falls apart. I have seen estimations of the costs of bailouts vs. the costs of going back to the D-Mark several times in German newspapers. They always tally the bailouts as the cheaper option by far, and most German people seem to accept that as the lesser of two evils.