Posts Tagged ‘Fritz Kuhn’

How long can Germany bear the cost of their Greens?

September 4, 2013

Less than 3 weeks to go for the German elections and the polls put Angela Merkel at 39% with the Social Democrats at 23%, the Greens at 11% and the Far Left at 10%. But polls have been wrong in German elections and sometimes spectacularly wrong:

Reuters:

Eight years ago Angela Merkel stared gloomily at the election results with disbelief when her party crashed to 35.2 percent of the German vote, seven points below the opinion poll forecast.

Her poll lead melted away again on election day four years later, though her conservatives stayed in power despite their worst result since 1949. Indeed her Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), have fallen short of forecasts in the last six elections.

They are leading again as the September 22 vote comes round, but that humbling record explains why Merkel is not letting up, with 56 campaign stops in the month before voters give their verdict.

The chancellor warns in her speeches that supporters will have a “rude awakening” if they place too much faith in polls.

Once highly accurate, voter surveys in Germany have become a less reliable barometer as party allegiances weaken, voter turnout falls, differences between parties disappear and small newcomers crowd the ballot sheet.

The success of the Greens and their profligate policies have been mainly due to the German electorate looking desperately for a “feel-good” factor. My 3 years living in Germany – in the heart of the “old” Eastern Germany – only convinced me that the normally very pragmatic Germans were extremely apprehensive and tentative about touting their undoubted economic successes. They feared to take too much pride in their achievements since it brushed perilously close to Nationalism and all the dark ghosts that evoked. The Green Party – I think – filled this need for somehow “feeling good” about their own achievements in a benign way while avoiding any of the sinister negatives associated with “national pride”.

But this has been an expensive experiment – in money and in jobs. How much longer the Green bubble will continue remains to be seen. It is fundamentally unsustainable and all over Europe it is beginning to penetrate that the cost of “feeling good” for no benefits is a luxury. But German common sense, pragmatism and realism will eventually prevail as the costs of “feeling good” become increasingly obvious.

The Local:

Higher renewable energy subsidies due to be introduced in October will add an extra €40 onto the annual energy bill for a three person household, wrote Der Spiegel magazine in a report published on Monday. 
The cost of supporting German producers of renewable energy is, under German law, passed on to the consumer. The cost per kilowatt hour of green energy is simply added onto their bills. 
Set every October for the following year, this year the cost is set to jump 20 percent from 5.3 cents per kilowatt hour to 6.5 cents, wrote the magazine. 
Perversely, the price hike is necessary because the electricity market is actually being flooded with cheap electricity, wrote the magazine. 
Germany’s green energy producers have been guaranteed fixed rates feed-in-tariffs for 20 years, while recently the electricity stock market price has fallen to its lowest value in years. 
This has led to a widening gap between the falling prices grid operators are able to sell electricity for on the market, and the fixed guaranteed prices they have to pay out to producers of renewable energy. The result is that consumers have to make up the difference.

And consumers can only take so much. My expectation that common sense will prevail is – to no small part – also dependent upon the Greens propensity for being silly. Many of the Greens’ policies are silly without initially being seen to be silly. But calls – by some Green leaders – for a ban on driving cars on weekends and by other Greens for the legalising of incest go beyond silly and enter the realms of “stupid”. It is beginning to dawn on the electorate that the Greens may be a luxury – in money, jobs and in ideas – that Germany can ill afford.

NoTricksZone:

German daily Die Welt writes that one of the leaders of Germany’s influential Green Party is now calling for a ban of car driving in Germany on weekends.

Die Welt writes:

Green parliamentary group leader Fritz Kuhn wants cars of German drivers to be idle on weekends. […] With a driving ban a clear signal against climate change would be made. According to estimates by Kuhn, the citizens would quickly notice, “that you can also get along without cars”.

Fritz Kuhn, the mayor of Stuttgart, cites a ban used in Northern Italy in 150 cities last Sunday in order to fight air pollution. People can use their bicycles or go by foot.

By now readers may be thinking that the German Greens want to ban everything. Though it seems to be that way, this is not true.

There are some things they want to legalize: incest for example. According to FOCUS magazine here:

The incest ruling by the European Court of Justice for Human Rights (EGMR) against a 34-year old man from Leipzig has led to controversial reactions. Green Party politician Hans-Christian Ströbele reacted the most sharply. He wants to permit sex between siblings and other close relatives, and is requesting doing away with the incest laws. It is an isolated relic of another time when adultery was punishable, which we also have done away with,’ Ströbele told news network N24. Paragraph 173 no longer matches ‘in this time of enlightened opinion on marriage and family. It must be abolished’.”


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