I watched this way cool German TV show called “Money Coach” the other night. At least I think that’s what it was called (can’t find a link). You know, where these families have gone out of control with their money and keep falling further and further into debt and can’t climb out on their own anymore (sound familiar, my fellow Americans?).

Anyway, this money expert coach guy then appears out of nowhere like in I Dream of Jeannie or something and puts the hurts on their spending habits and these folks suddenly realize just how poor they really are and thank the guy profusely and then see him to the door and live happily ever after, sort of.

Well, I couldn’t help but think of Berlin while watching this show. Stop laughing. Why the hell not? The Berlin city government just needs to hire an outsider like that to come in and look at their books (like Dave’s buddy Murray did) and he’ll make the hard decisions and all of these wonderful cultural institutions won’t have to be auctioned off after all and in the end the Vice President becomes the Mayor of Berlin like he should have been the whole time and everything fads to black.

I think it might work. But can you imagine that first conversation?

“Okay. Let me get this straight. You have a 60 billion euro debt and pay 2.5 billion in interest alone. You’ve been accumulating this debt ever since the end of the Cold War, after the money coming in from West Germany dried up, but you’ve never done anything about stopping it. You have one of the highest unemployment rates of any German city and everyone is convinced that it’s going to stay that way. You have twice as many civil servants and other administrators as you could ever possibly use but won’t make any cuts here. You have three (3) major universities, three (3) major opera houses, dozens of theaters and a number of symphony orchestras that you subsidize.

Wow. That last part is really impressive. What a cultural showcase you have here. Goodness gracious. Have you considered trying eBay?”

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

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