Merkel Defends Her Party's Position on Debt

German Chancellor Angela Merkel repudiated the caricature of her party as obsessed with debt, instead telling a crowd of several thousand that her budget record is an act of “generational justice.”
The German leader singled out her finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, as the one who takes most of the flak for belt-tightening in her Christian Democratic Union. She also lauded the spending plans he’s produced. At a rally of about 5,000 people in the western city of Muenster on Tuesday, Merkel was flanked by Deputy Finance Minister Jens Spahn, a Schaeuble ally on the party’s right wing who has challenged Merkel’s more centrist positions.
“Jens Spahn knows how much Wolfgang Schaeuble is derided for being ‘the man who can only think about the balanced budget,”’ Merkel said in a campaign stump speech, before going on to intone her standard position on public debt as a burden on future generations.
“It would be the greatest form of injustice if we hand down ever bigger mountains of debt, so it’s right that we’ve pledged to generate no new debt over the next four years,” Merkel said.
Even as Merkel has been a target across southern Europe throughout the debt crisis for her insistence on austerity, fiscal discipline is a bedrock position within her CDU base. Less than five weeks before the Sept. 24 election, it’s also an issue that separates Merkel’s faction from the Social Democrats, who have called for far more infrastructure spending while not prioritizing balanced budgets.
At a rally on Monday in Bremen, Merkel’s Social Democratic challenger Martin Schulz cited the latest surplus in tax receipts and demanded that more be spent on education, infrastructure and innovation.
In Muenster, a city of more than 300,000, Merkel spoke to a relatively quiet crowd, a departure from several venues last week that featured jeering and whistling anti-immigration protesters from the right-wing Alternative for Germany party.
With Schaeuble overseeing finances, Merkel’s government with the Social Democrats has produced four years of balanced budgets.
Merkel Defends Her Party's Position on Debt Merkel Defends Her Party's Position on Debt Reviewed by Alexander Von Stern on 21:06:00 Rating: 5