While in Australia recently, I had a chance to chat with a German businessman who gave me some insight into forces that are pulling Germany in a decidedly socialist direction. Perhaps you have already heard about the use of questionable tax dodges by prominent German businesspeople. In the U.S., the perpetrators would simply be tried and, if found guilty, go to jail along with the likes of Bernie Ebbers of Worldcom. In Germany, it has to turn into a populist movement. Look for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to back down from her pledge to privatize key industries and make the country more business friendly. The rumors in Germany are that she is considering requiring business leaders in private and public companies alike to disclose their annual earnings. German businessmen are reportedly jumping into the ditches—they say the lower the profile the better. So much for private enterprise.
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