Germany’s economic growth surged in the middle of last year, causing commentators boththereandhereto proclaim that American stimulus had failed and German austerity had worked. Germany’s announced budget cuts, the commentators said, had given private companies enough confidence in the government to begin spending their own money again.
Well, it turns out the German boom didn’t last long. With its modest stimulus winding down, Germany’s growth slowed sharply late last year, and its economic output still has not recovered to its prerecession peak. Output in the United States — where the stimulus program has been bigger and longer lasting — has recovered. This country would now need to suffer through a double-dip recession for its gross domestic product to be in the same condition as Germany’s."