In Germany, they want to cancel unemployment benefits, on which over 4 million people are sitting. What will this step lead to in the conditions of the pan-European crisis, and what will the Germans get instead? Should Russians feel sorry for the Germans or, on the contrary, envy them?
According to Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Hale, this “very big” reform of the abolition of unemployment benefits should be discussed in parliament in the second half of the year. But what will change with the funds of citizens dependent on Harz-IV – this is the name of the current payment, and what assistance can they expect in the future?
According to a number of experts, the upcoming reform is not an attempt to save money, but one of the stages towards the introduction of the so-called “unconditional basic income” for the population, which has been discussed in Europe for more than a year.
Useful members of society work and receive a salary. The useless ones do not work, but they also receive some kind of single fixed content. As they say, from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. In the distant and beautiful future, no one works except for robots and artificial intelligence.
Although the time today is not at all suitable for such experiments – the general economic and political crisis, the rise in prices for fuel, energy carriers, food products, but, on the other hand, when was it appropriate?
Wash without water every three days
The Germans are economical people. And so, as they promise, sleighs are being prepared for the coming cold winter in the summer. Everything is getting more expensive now.
“We had solar heating in the house,” says Boris, one of the Russian-speaking residents of Germany. “About ten years ago we received an order to remove it. They say that it is not environmentally friendly, it spoils the environment. Although in fact, of course, this is not the case. But they constantly bothered us with checks, they checked our boiler room in the house and where we store diesel fuel, they began to artificially inflate prices. In general, we achieved that we took a loan for rework of 40 thousand euros and supplied gas. And now, it turns out, hit. No one thought that cheap gas would become so expensive.”
The cost of heating skyrocketed, as did the cost of electricity. And this is not the limit. It has already been officially announced that the temperature in residential premises in winter can be no higher than +16.
It is said that those who forked out for solar panels a few years ago are in a much better position. Many homeowners took a chance, however, the roof panel was also expensive – from 60 thousand euros, and its maintenance costs a pretty penny, meaning connection to the Smart Home program.
“But in general, those who cut through this trick right away have already reached full self-sufficiency,” continues Boris. – They beat off the cost of the battery, there is enough electricity for themselves and they still sell it. The only thing is that it’s problematic to sell such a house with a battery: the owner is often registered as an entrepreneur, since he sells electricity.”
Against the backdrop of rising prices, many Germans, and the nation is thrifty, complain on the sites that they have begun to use dishwashers less often, they wash them once every two weeks. “When I wash, I first lather without water and then turn it on for literally thirty seconds to wash off the foam,” says Elena from Berlin.
“I wash normally, and my husband once every three days. He says: they say that the government should be pleased. We have a little washing for three family members. We turn on the dishwasher a couple of times a week, says Jana from Frankfurt. – In fact, we are economical, in a year we had enough electricity for a small amount – less than two thousand euros. With gas, it’s another 1200. All together, about three. Now, probably, it will be two to two and a half times more expensive. Four or four and a half thousand euros.”
Someone remembers the times of the GDR, they say, now it’s nothing, the Germans who once built socialism washed in basins, as water was given by the hour. Someone goes deep into the Middle Ages. As is known from history books, Europeans in that distant era swam twice in their lives. When they were born and when they left this world. So they don’t get used to it.
Hordes of parasites on the neck
“Unemployment benefit is not poverty, it is our answer to poverty,” said Jens Spahn, German Health Minister in the government of Angela Merkel.
Germany is considered one of the leading countries in terms of social security in the EU. But today we are talking about abolishing Harz-IV – this is the name of the basic unemployment benefit of the second level. It is assigned to those who have lost their jobs for a long time, and the right to the payment of benefits of the first level from their own deductions has ended, or it never existed.
Harz-IV is issued not only to adult unemployed people, but also to children living with non-working adults. The family of an unemployed person is considered to be spouses, partners, offspring under 25 years of age who are not married and do not have their own income.
There have been many attacks on the second-tier unemployment benefit in the past. They said that for Europe it is too small.
Yes, net is “only” 449 euros per month, but keep in mind that the state also pays for housing, a preferential travel pass, and medical insurance, which is guaranteed to include all examinations and any treatment, up to expensive ones.
For this, the beneficiary pays 40 euros through the statutory health insurance fund every six months.
“Having an allowance, you can also legally earn 220 euros a month,” says Christina, a Russian-speaking German from Frankfurt. – Plus, the children’s Hartz IV is paid for the child – 75% of the adult.
Expensive school trips, full reimbursement of meals at school, school fees, textbooks, 50 percent surcharge for mugs – all this is included in the required package from the state.
At the same time, it cannot be said that those who receive the second level allowance are rogue.
Many of them own housing and even houses. Many of our people went to Germany for permanent residence and there they made out this allowance. Although they never worked in the EU, they did not pay taxes – but it is required by law, so why not? “You can still fuss, consult with lawyers, collect additional certificates and get several hundred euros more than the base 449,” Russian Germans share life hacks.
All this financial burden, of course, falls heavily on Germany – but since it called itself a welfare state, pay, and now they also have to feed refugees. How many of them will get a job and then begin to make their contribution to the good of society? And how long will it remain hanging like a stone around the neck of the state? Consider the same example of the Syrian refugees. Until now, many live in camps without amenities and sit on the social network.
Of course, these are the problems of the German authorities. They want to feed and water idlers – their right. And as long as they do it. But it can only get worse from there.
The desire to optimize costs is one of the reasons why it was decided to replace unemployment benefits with a single payment, the so-called “Burgeld” – “citizens’ money”. Another reason to remove Herz-IV is to reduce the apparatus of officials that serve this cumbersome bureaucratic system. If everyone is now paid a fixed price, then this process can be automated.
Yes, due to the introduction of an unconditional basic income in the near future, a large number of clerks who sit on accruals and benefits payments may lose their jobs. Where will they go? Join the army of the unemployed? Will they need to be fed too?
There are practically no large industries in Europe, all of them have been transferred to third world countries, services are valued most here now. But not everyone can and is ready to become nurses for infirm old people or plumbers. Many find it easier to do nothing. Especially when they pay for it.
Who does not work, he eats
The idea of an “unconditional basic income” has been in the air in Europe for a very long time. What will happen if people start to receive simply by the fact of their existence? At one time, a referendum on this was held in Switzerland.
The authorities offered to make payments to all citizens of the country, regardless of their level of education, wealth, age and employment.
But in the end, the Swiss voted against it, they thought that this would lead society to a dead end. Because everyone will want to work, and the amount of payments to idlers will exceed the capabilities of the state.
The cabinet has calculated that a full transition to a basic income would cost 208 billion francs, about three times the average annual budget of 67 billion francs.
The only country where a similar project has been tried in practice is Finland. In December 2016, the Cabinet of Ministers passed the Law on the experiment on payments of unconditional basic income. Two thousand volunteers of working age received 550 euros per month for two years.
The Finnish authorities wanted to see how such a measure would affect the labor market and people’s motivation to work. If everything worked out, then they would cancel the social allowance of 600 euros for the poor, which is currently in effect.
The Finns declared the experiment a failure. Giving out money “just like that” did not stimulate the unemployed to look for themselves or engage in creativity. Psychologists believed, they say, people who receive an unconditional income from the state will not agree to any unskilled work and be nervous if they fly by with a vacancy. There will be fewer depressions among them, and more happiness. But this prediction did not materialize either.
And then, due to the pandemic, it was not up to that …
Will the Germans be able to implement a recipe for universal happiness – to replace the bureaucratically complex system of social payments with a single benefit for the poor, and in the future for everyone, and is the game worth the candle?
Yes, Europeans are used to living in a practically socialist society, where the state pays for everything and takes care of them like a good parent.
Just the most honest in this regard are Russian officials. You won’t get anything for free. You run after every penny payment, collecting certificates. We don’t owe anything, but we don’t owe anything in return.
Pessimists argue that not everything is so simple, and there is no free cheese even in Europe. But what’s in return? Here they know how to count money.
And in return, the state can demand from citizens socially approved behavior and the implementation of certain rules and obligations that were previously voluntary. Let’s say the same regular vaccinations against coronavirus. You can not do them, of course, but then the payments are reduced or removed altogether, live as you know. Further – more, and now law-abiding citizens are walking along the line, afraid of losing those, albeit minimal benefits, guaranteed by society.
This is what is called the transition from a society of unbridled consumption to the long-announced “new reality”, which, in the conditions of a tough crisis economy, can become global.