Angela Merkel Plays Frau Blucher

Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor of Germany, in the hemicycle of the Council of Europe, april 2008.
ichel Christen /

This post by Jill Schlesinger originally appeared on CBS'

When I can invoke Mel Brooks, it's a good day. Remarks from German Chancellor Angela Merkel reminded me of the legendary character Frau Blucher, (played by the wonderful Cloris Leachman) the much-maligned, truth-speaking caretaker in "Young Frankenstein,"  who inspired spontaneous neighs from nearby horses.

For years, there was an urban myth that the reason that the horses neighed was that "Blucher" meant "glue" in either German or Yiddish...and you know horses and glue.

Anyway, it turns out that there's no larger meaning to our favorite Frau and there shouldn't have been any concern about Chancellor Merkel's comments about Germany's 80 billion euro cuts in spending over the next four years. In what seems to be pretty evident, Merkel simply said that lessons from the debt crisis must be learned -- in other words, after years of binging, it's time for that painful payback hangover.

Somehow, investors seemed to view this as newsworthy, when in fact, it's the simple truth. Yes, I know that there is probably a very good case for Germany not to be too crazy as it navigates this tricky part of the journey, but I can't help but think that Merkel is on to something that may not be too popular: there is indeed a price to pay for countries that assume lots of risk and live beyond their means.

Does that sound like anyone you know?

Image by Flickr User Council of Europe, CC 2.0


Jill Schlesinger is the Editor-at-Large for CBS Prior to the launch of MoneyWatch, she was the Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. In her infancy, she was an options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York.

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    Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Emmy-nominated, Business Analyst for CBS News. She covers the economy, markets, investing and anything else with a dollar sign on TV, radio (including her nationally syndicated radio show), the web and her blog, "Jill on Money." Prior to her second career at CBS, Jill spent 14 years as the co-owner and Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. She began her career as a self-employed options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York, following her graduation from Brown University.