Joyless Germany's Ode to Woe

Scandal, strikes and a deep economic funk combine to depress a nation

It was arguably the bleakest week for Germans since the nation unified in 1990. First came a report by six leading economic institutes predicting that the country's gross domestic product will shrink as much as 2% this year, marking the worst recession since World War II and saddling Germany with high unemployment and its biggest budget deficit in modern times. Then the metalworkers' union went on strike in eastern Germany, demanding 26% pay increases. Nearly 40,000 of them had walked off the job by the weekend, and union leaders threatened to call out a total of 330,000 if employers don't show...

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