Needing to Brush Up on Goethe

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble Photograph by Adam Berry/Getty Images

SPIEGEL: Why are you so uncompromising on this issue?

Schäuble: Because you can’t separate the responsibility for decisions and the liability. This applies to almost all areas, but especially to money. Someone who has the ability to spend money at someone else’s expense will do so. You do it, and so do I. The markets know that. And that’s why they too would not find euro bonds convincing in the end.

Spiegel interview with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, “We Certainly Don’t Want to Divide Europe,” June 25, 2012.

The above is from a truly remarkable interview with the finance minster speaking to a German audience. The tone is totally, totally different than his posturing to the Anglo-Saxon press.

Herr Schäuble’s answer touching on Faust (Cliff Notes!) is either a) poetry, b) impenetrable, or c) Lost in Translation … Lydia Harris: The burgundy carpet is out of stock: it’s going to take twelve weeks. Did you like any of the other colors? Bob: Whatever you like—I’m just completely lost.

Some would say, so are the Germans.

I beg anyone remotely interested in the future of Europe, Germany, and their collective effect upon these 50 United States to read this Spiegel Online interview.

In the meantime, we are at “someone else’s expense” needing to brush up on Goethe. Discuss.

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