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Germany Wants to Punish 'Debt Sinners'

Monday, 5 Dec 2011 | 3:19 PM ET
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy
Getty Images
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy

"Merkel und Sarkozy wollen automatische Strafen für Schuldensünder."

That's the headline for the news about Angela Merkel's and Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to rescue Europe in Germany's Der Tagesspiegel newspaper.

Some variant of that headline is all over every paper and news site in Germany. A search for the word "Schuldensünder" in Google News pulled up over 1,200 stories.

What on earth is a "Schuldensünder?"

It translates as "Debt Sinner."

The full headline translated is "Merkel and Sarkozy want automatic Punishment for Debtsinners."

To Germans, it seems, countries running budget deficits are not just following an imprudent economic policy. They are sinners, violators of the commandments of God.

Sheds some light on the German reluctance to come to the aid of other euro zone nations.

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