How Do You Say 'Pretzel Logic' in German?

In a column for Bloomberg View--EU Pact Could Make Germany's Nightmare Come True--I try to make sense of Germany's approach to Europe's financial crisis. I can't claim I succeed.

With the golden rule [which at Germany's insistence caps structural budget deficits at 0.5% of GDP] in place, the EU's next economic crisis will be an interesting moment. The best and (let's hope) likeliest course for the EU would be to suspend the rule or abandon it outright. That, presumably, is something Germany would resist. Why propose this rule in the first place if you are going to have to abandon it as soon as it starts to pinch? The alternative would be to let the pact stifle recovery and drive up unemployment -- much as the EU's dithering has done in the present emergency, only more so.

Let's suppose that Europe muddles through this time. Next time, with zero fiscal flexibility, persistent underperformance in many parts of the EU, and an ever-widening gap between incomes in Europe's core and its periphery, a stark choice will present itself. Let the euro area and the single European market dissolve, which would be a disaster for Germany as for everyone else. Or form a transfer union that puts German taxpayers permanently on the hook for the EU's backward regions, which is the very outcome that Merkel dreads most.

How do you say "pretzel logic" in German?

I think it's Salzbrezel-Logik.

Presented by

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Global

Just In