We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Vorsprung durch realpolitik

The European ‘social model’ is nearing the end of the road:

Jobless Germans could be forced to surrender anything but the cheapest of cars to keep their benefit payments flowing, if a plan by conservative politicians goes ahead.

The latest bid to make drawing Germany’s traditionally generous social benefits less attractive would see the long-term unemployed forced to shun high-end “Vorsprung Durch Technik” Audi convertibles, BMWs and Mercedes S Class cars for distinctly lesser models.

Those who live by the state will die by the state.

10 comments to Vorsprung durch realpolitik

  • Bring back the Trabant!

    I don’t think that link was meant to be a mailto:

  • Quite right, Tim. Now corrected. My bad.

  • Realpolitik should be capitalized.


  • This news item is perhaps more related to an earlier thread on Conservative tax policy, but is interesting nonetheless.

    It would appear that the Labour party in Australia is now considering scrapping tax altogether for those on the lowest rate (15% up to $25k) and the top rate (45% above $150k).

    The tax debate is so much more advanced over here. High taxes are universally considered a bad thing. Why is this not the case in Europe?

  • Nick M

    It is in Estonia and a few similar places where they are doing very well from things like “flat tax” but in the UK… Apparently stability (is that the same as stagnation) is deemed more important. It’s down to controling the money supply by taxing us. The alternative way to control inflation by raising interest rates is political suicide because of the number of people deeply in debt with mortgages and all the rest. Credit has gone completely mental in the UK and now we are all paying the price – even someone like me who doesn’t owe anybody a penny.

    I am not an economist. I will gladly bow to the wiser heads here, but that’s the way it looks from my vantage point.

  • A typically statist, snooping, nanny response from the state and one that will IMHO be easily avoided.

    Why not do what America now does and introduce a 5-year lifetime cap on welfare? This removes the concept of “lifestyle choice” and makes people husband their benefit resources for a time of real need. People will then know that if you are drawing benefit it will not be for ever and you must REALLY be in the deep.

  • The dole can afford Audis? Wow, when they call Europe’s welfare state “generous”, they aren’t kidding.

    – Josh

  • MiMo

    Honestly this kind of step is another futile attempt to limit “misuse” of an overly generous welfare system. Result will be – in fact, it is already that way – that any “experienced” recepient of welfare payment will register his car under the name of an underage child, or some other relative or friend. That way, they will officially not have a car at all, and still keep their Merc.

    Years ago, a colleague of my father who had worked at a welfare office for a while told us how a man who was on welfare walked in and demanded a special payment for buying new winter clothes. The man was dressed in a new and apparently expensive winter coat. When the welfare officer asked him about it, the man replied with a grin: “This is not my coat, mate, it belongs to my neighbour.”

    When the officer asked his boss about it and suggested to check if that statement was true, his boss was outraged: “We have to respect the privacy of these poor people!”

  • german

    For those of you who think that you can buy high-priced cars from the money received through German welfare payments: you get a maximum 345 Euros monthly (it can be less depending on your assets – they expect you to erode them – and that’s exactly what this car-thing is essentially about) if you are a receiver of “Arbeitlosengeld II” (arbeitslos = jobless, geld = money) which is essentially everyone that is jobless longer than one year (you get higher payments before that depending on the job you had previously).

  • The USA five-year limit is easily evaded by moving. Welfare isn’t national, it’s block-granted to the states who administer it, and they are on their own systems that don’t communicate with each other.

    I live in a tri-state area. Some po folks can move not-too-far and get 15 years of welfare.

    There’s 50 states x 5 years each state, that’s 250 years of welfare a person can receive under Clinton’s welfare reform.

    Do ya think he left out interstate interoperability and accountability to leave this “out” as a red meat toss to his leftie base?

    The real cash cow is SSI disability payments. If you can keep your kid from reading, get “back pain” or a psych problem (“crazy check”), Social Security disability is far more lucrative and it lasts a lifetime and there’s no 5 year rule.