Dysfunctional, Datfunctional, Main Thing Nothing Works

And costs everybody else in the country a whole lot of money. Berlin, my kind of town. My kind of town??

Berlin

Berlin, the capital of Europe’s most successful economy, is surprisingly badly governed. The new airport, the city’s biggest flagship project, missed its seventh opening date earlier this year and may not open until 2021, ten years after it was originally supposed to. The jobless rate is among the highest in the country. Schools are dismal. Courts and police are so overworked that hundreds of millions of euros in fines and taxes have not been collected; and the city failed to keep tabs on Anis Amri, the jihadist who killed 11 people with a lorry last Christmas, despite warnings about him three weeks earlier…

Astonishingly for a capital city, Berlin makes Germany poorer. Without it, Germany’s GDP per person would be 0.2% higher. By comparison, if Britain lost London, its GDP per person would be 11.1% lower; France without Paris would be 14.8% poorer…

“We have a deeply held suspicion of anything that smacks of efficiency and competence.”

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German Of The Day: Sozialabgaben

That means social welfare contributions. And that comes out to be some 900 billion euros in Germany annually. These are not voluntary contributions either, folks.

Sozialabgaben

This is 29.3 percent of Germany’s GDP. GDP here standing for Grotesque and Deranged Payments, by the way.

Diese Leistungen entsprechen den Angaben zufolge 29,3 Prozent vom Bruttoinlandsprodukt (BIP/2015: 29,2). Nach einer Prognose wird Ende kommender Legislaturperiode die Billionen Grenze überschritten. Die Sozialausgaben werden dann bei 1,1 Billionen Euro liegen.

PS: The word “social” is a code word for “here’s something for free” over here, too. Just in case you were wondering.

Discountrepublik Deutschland

Verblüffender Befund (an amazing finding)? I don’t see how it could amaze anyone here – anyone who has ever gone shopping in Germany and then compared those prices to those you would pay in other European countries, that is.

Prices

Germans apparently aren’t aware of the fact that they have some of the lowest Lebenshaltungskosten (living costs or cost of living) in all of Europe. Of their immediate neighbors, it’s only cheaper to live in Poland and Czechia.

What is really amazing I find, however, is the fact that the Germans are able to enjoy these cheap prices while still having a higher per capita GDP than a lot of the European countries with a higher cost of living (Belgium, Denmark, France).

Beats the hell out of me. Hey, es darf eben nichts kosten here.

Verbraucher in Deutschland bekommen für ihren Euro mehr als die Menschen in den Nachbarländern. Lediglich bei den Nachbarn in Polen und Tschechien sind die Lebenshaltungskosten niedriger.

Where are all the nervous Germans when you need them?

What’s a 6 percent contraction in the economy, anyway? We’ve seen worse.

Everything's A O K...

Well no, actually we haven’t. But we’re not worried. Not us. Not yet anyway. We’re calm, perhaps too calm, but calm all the same.

“One reason that we are only seeing small protests is that politicians will not reveal the true cost of the crisis until after the parliamentary elections… Perhaps there will be a new wave of cost-cutting welfare reforms, like those which spawned the unpopular Hartz IV scheme.”

“Three months ago, the German government was forecasting that G.D.P. would contract by 2.25 percent in 2009. But since then, Berlin has suffered from plummeting demand for its products as its foreign customers rein in spending.”

PS: Why do I get the feeling that everybody in Berlin is about to RUN INTO A WALL again?