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.”

Advertisements

How Poor Is Germany?

Why Germany is so poor it can’t even put its two cents in the conversation.

EU

Poor? Germany is so poor it scams the Nigerians.

Germany is poor. It’s so poor it drives a Poor-shh.

And to top these jokes off, Germany is so poor that German states like Brandenburg will continue to need aid from the European Union for, like, well… Forever.

Remember: “The state (or in this case the über-suprranational-EU-state) is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.”

Brandenburg darf aus Sicht von Finanzminister Christian Görke (Linke) bei künftigen notwendigen Haushaltseinsparungen der Europäischen Union nicht belastet werden.

Berlin Is So Poor…

Poor? The city of Berlin is so poor that it can’t even afford the bullets for its policemen anymore.

Taser

Berlin’s plans to arm police patrols with taser guns would make it the first German state to implement extensive use of the electroshock weapon.

Makes good economic sense to me. Because then all they have to do is just hook them up to solar panels to recharge overnight.

Spätestens seitdem ein Beamter im Juni 2013 einen geistig verwirrten, bewaffneten Mann im Neptunbrunnen in Mitte erschoss, wird die politische Debatte um die Anschaffung der Taser geführt – auch und vor allem im Kontext des grotesk schlechten Zustands der Berliner Schießstände, an denen Polizisten den Einsatz ihrer Waffen in regelmäßigen Abständen trainieren müssen. In den vergangenen zwei Jahren hatten viele Beamte gar nicht mehr mit scharfer Munition üben, sondern lediglich ein Laser-Simulationsschießen als Ersatz absolvieren können.*

* That big long German sentence says, among other things, that Berlin cops don’t even have a decent firing range so they have to practice using laser simulation shooting.

Poor But Sexy, But Poor

Those were the days. Berlin used to be just (arm aber sexy) poor but sexy.

Poor

Now Berlin is poor but sexy, but poor. At least when it comes to trying to earn a living here.

The German capital pulls down the per capita income for the entire country. According to Eurostat (the European statistics office), Germany’s gross national product (with an emphasis on gross) would climb 0.2 percent if they could just find a way to factor out losers like us here in Berlin.

Poor? Yo capital is so poor it can’t afford to pay attention.

Die Hauptstadt drückt auf das Pro-Kopf-Einkommen der gesamten Bundesrepublik: Das Bruttoinlandsprodukt je Einwohner würde um 0,2 Prozent steigen, wenn man Berlin und seine Einwohner ausklammert, wie das Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (IW) auf Basis von Daten des Europäischen Statistikamtes Eurostat errechnete.

German Poverty?

Nice try. This is another one of my favorite German myths. You can claim that poverty exists here all you want but everybody knows that poverty only exists in the real world and has nothing at all to do with this country. Or could it be that I am the one with an “unrealistic” definition of what poverty is?

Poverty

Report: About 3.1 million wage and salary earners in Germany had an income below the poverty threshold, according to Saturday’s edition of the Saarbrücker Zeitung newspaper.

You have to understand how Germany works to know that this is ridiculous. For one thing, nobody has to work in Germany if he or she does not want to – ever. They get their rent paid and a low monthly allowance (and then work illegally on the side in a lot of cases) indefinitely = for life, if they want to (everybody know how or knows someone who does).  Many people choose to live this way (I know a few personally). Their welfare system is called Hartz IV, by the way. So like, are you a victim of “poverty” if you choose to be? In a country that has the money to pay your way, I mean?

And you must also understand how a German defines poverty in Germany: “Every second low wage worker, some 1.5 million Germans, would not be able to pay for a one-week holiday per year outside their own four walls. About 600,000 workers were forgoing having their own car because they could not afford it.”

OMG. It’s certainly a cold, cruel world out there when you can’t fly off to Mallorca twice a year like everybody else does and/or keep your expensive German sports car on the road as God intended you to (even though you don’t believe in God, but still).

“The number of workers who earn scarcely or marginally more than the government unemployment benefits (Hartz IV) is alarmingly high.”

PS: Speaking of poverty, get your free copy of Dumb Deutsch here. Offer ends Monday.

The Spiegel Says: US-Amerika One Big Debtor’s Prison

More and more Americans are being punished for their poverty: Above all in rural areas judges have been putting delinquent debtors in prison as of late. This medieval practice is illegal, unconstitutional – and widespread.

“Diese Unsitte verbindet man mehr mit der Zeit von Charles Dickens als mit dem modernen Amerika.”

PS: Speaking of deplorable customs and disturbing developments – and good fiction – when are these deplorable refutations of sacrosanct scientific certainties ever going to stop?! I mean, what ever happened to the ozone hole? It’s not there anymore or something.

Ozone

Well it’s One drink of wine, two drinks of gin… and I’m lost in the ozone again.

Environmentally Motivated?

Berlin is more of a hartes Pflaster (tough pavement/place) than you might think (these guys are everywhere).

More and more locals are scouring the city’s streets and bins for empty glass and plastic bottles, which they can turn in to collect a cash deposit. Many of the bottle-collectors say they are forced to do it to make ends meet.

Consumers pay the deposit when they buy drinks in shops and supermarkets – eight euro cents ($0.10) for glass bottles and 25 euro cents for plastic ones. They get their deposits back when they return their empties.

Initially, it was mainly homeless people, alcoholics and drug addicts living on the streets who collected the bottles. But recently, it’s been Berlin’s financially troubled pensioners and long-term unemployed who have turned to collecting the discarded bottles as well.

Nothing Nouveau on the German Front

This is a very complex article, I grant you, a lot like that other one I mentioned recently, but with a little bit of effort I think I can somehow manage to summarize it for you thus (and I quote, more or less):

American society is breaking apart.

Everything is spiraling further and further into the abyss.

The American people are going through a Kafkaesque odyssey, the humiliation of which is hard to comprehend.

Help is not in sight, our government and our society have abandoned us.

Wall Street is preoccupied with chasing new profits again.

That old myth about working your way up, of bootstrap success and its ultimate prize, homeownership, has evaporated.

The middle class, America’s backbone, is crumbling.

The American Dream has turned into a nightmare.

Nothing’s going to happen because the political swing to the right is extremely hurtful and absolutely disastrous to the interest of the weakest.

Becoming unemployed is a devious trap. And on and on and tra, la, la until the amen part.

Like, you had no idea, did you? My fellow Americans, I mean. So there you have it. Yet again. And no, the O Word didn’t appear in this article either.