Original Source: Zero Hedge
One month ago, when Mario Draghi unveiled his quadruple-bazooka QE expansion, which for the first time ever included the monetization of corporate bonds, the German press, in this case Handelsblatt, had a swift reaction. It did not approve.
Fast forward a month later when the ECB is now contemplating the final monetary gambit, launching helicopter money, and Germany’s most respected (in official circles) financial media, Spiegel, is out with an article titled “Germany Takes Aim at the European Central Bank”, in which – as expected – we read that relations between Germany and the Frankfurt-based ECB have just hit new lows:
There was a time when the German chancellor and the head of the European Central Bank had nice things to say about each other. Mario Draghi spoke of a “good working relationship,” while Angela Merkel noted “broad agreement.” Draghi, said Merkel, is extremely supportive “when it comes to European competitiveness.”
These days, though, meetings between the two most powerful politicians in the euro zone are often no different than their face-to-face at the most recent summit in Brussels. She observed that his forced policy of cheap money is endangering the business model of Germany’s Sparkassen savings banks and retirement insurance companies. He snarled back that the sectors would simply have to adapt, just as the American financial sector has.
This is nothing new: we have been hearing laments by Europe’s biggest bank, Germany’s Deutsche Bank, that the ECB has gone too far for over two months now (initially in “A Wounded Deutsche Bank Lashes Out At Central Bankers: Stop Easing, You Are Crushing Us“). But for Merkel to take her feud in the open, and seeking to once again freeze relations between Germany and the ECB at this fragile juncture for the future of Europe, when Draghi has onceagain failed to stimulate inflation, when he has crushed European banks, but at least has unleashed a massive debt issuance spree, is troubling.
The alienation between Germany and the ECB has reached a new level. Back in deutsche mark times, Europeans often joked that the Germans “may not believe in God, but they believe in the Bundesbank,” as Germany’s central bank is called. Today, though, when it comes to relations between the ECB and the German population, people are more likely to speak of “parallel universes.”
The reason for German anger: rates.
ECB head Draghi doesn’t understand why he is getting so much resistance from the country that has profited from the euro more than any other. Yet Germans blame Draghi for miniscule yields on savings accounts and life/retirement insurance policies. Frustration is growing.
Draghi has pushed the prime rate down to zero and now even charges commercial banks a fee for parking their money at the ECB. He has also bought almost €2 trillion worth of bonds from euro-zone member states, making the ECB one of the largest state creditors of all time.
During his most recent appearance before the Frankfurt reporter pool, he went even further. The idea of pumping money directly into the economy, he said, was a “very interesting concept,” with a helicopter to distribute the money across the country if necessary, as economists have half-jokingly recommended. Doing so is seen as a way of boosting the economy. German money being thrown out of a helicopter: It would be difficult to find a more fitting image to show people that the money they have set aside for retirement may soon be worth very little.
If you want to get Germans angry, really angry, just suggest hyperinflation which is what helicopter money always leads to. They are really angry now; and an angry electorate is something Merkel, who has seen her popularity crushed as a result of Germany’s grotesque refugee experience, does not need…