Germans are right to be worried about their savings because the euro bailouts will make most of them poorer in the long term -- through higher inflation and lower payouts from life insurance and pension schemes. Why can't crisis-hit nations follow the Cypriot example and make rich depositors pay a share?
Nearly half of all Germans fear for their savings -- and with good reason. At times like these, the only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain.
Not even savings accounts are safe, as was recently seen in Cyprus. Such deposits are actually guaranteed to up to €100,000, but the euro rescuers cared little about this as they desperately searched for funds. Cypriot small savers may have escaped this time around, but the realization remains, even beyond Cyprus, that a state teetering on the edge of bankruptcy will resort to all available means to raise money -- and a guarantee is only worth something as long as the entity that stands behind it remains solvent.
Nothing is safe from being seized by the state, no savings account, but also no house or apartment. The Germans experienced this after World War II, when they were charged an extra real estate tax in the form of compulsory mortgages. Governments have even banned the possession of gold during currency crises, forcing citizens to exchange the precious metal for the national currency.
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