German Quagmire

It looks like the anti-American German Leader Gerhard Schroeder is not fairing out so well this election cycle…

German unemployment jumped to the highest since World War II as new rules added welfare recipients to the jobless register, clouding the outlook for Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in elections this month.

The number of people out of work in January rose by 227,000 to 4.71 million in seasonally adjusted terms, including 230,000 new jobless claimants, the Nuremberg-based Federal Labor Agency said today. The adjusted unemployment rate rose to 11.4 percent, a seven-year high, while the unadjusted jobless total passed 5 million for the first time since the war.

Davids Medienkritik explains Shroeder’s quagmire…

Gerhard Schroeder first came to power in 1998 on the promise of more jobs. He told the German people that he should be measured in terms of his ability to put Germans back to work. In 2002, it appeared the Socialist Chancellor was on his way to election defeat. He had failed to boost employment and was trailing in the polls. What happened? Schroeder seized on two major events to squeak out an election victory. First came the floods in East Germany. Schroeder took advantage of his position as a leader and came across as a competent crisis manager. But nothing helped Schroeder more than his flagrant exploitation of German anti-war and anti-American sentiments. Germans fears over war in Iraq gave Schroeder the last minute boost he needed to make it into office. Since his election, the Chancellor’s party has never lead in the polls, and has consistently trailed the opposition CDU/CSU by well over 10 points.

Schroeder’s government has been completely unable to deal with Germany’s chronic unemployment problem in his six years in office. Now German unemployment has reached a new record high of over five million. Yet the situation is not being treated as a major scandal or crisis. Why? Because Schroeder has the vast majority of the mainstream media firmly on his side politically and ideologically. The German media has been so fixated on criticizing President Bush and the Iraq war over the past three years that it has not given adequate coverage to Germany’s ongoing economic debacle. And why would the media want to put pressure on a government that so closely shares its political ideology?

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