Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ich bin ein slacker

Lazybones R them...unless they're immigrants;
Berlin has attracted layabouts for a long time. This is partly because of the city's peculiar history, for West Berlin residents were exempt from military service throughout the lifespan of the Wall. Berlin's Tagesspiegel newspaper once estimated that some 50,000 young men moved to the city for this reason). In those heady days, the eastern end of Kreuzberg...was literally a dead end, a carless junkie's paradise fenced in on three sides by the communists. And even then, West Berliners hated that influx of draft-dodging stoners.
This disdain is re-manifesting itself today with a simultaneous animosity towards two ill-defined but related hate-figures: the "immigrant" and the "hipster."
Except that the immigrants are there to work;
...few economic migrants bother with the economic sinkhole that is Berlin with its 11.7-percent unemployment rate. For another thing, Germany's welfare system is not nearly as generous as the media tells you - the Hartz IV benefit is enough to scratch out a living on, but you have to constantly be applying for work to get it.
And thirdly, in 2011 Chancellor Angela Merkel's government did its best to disable the European Convention on Social and Medical Assistance, which Germany signed in 1953 and which guaranteed that all EU citizens be treated equally by the welfare system. The policy has worked and the stats show that the German welfare state is still mainly a German-only zone: the new European immigrants, the Romanians, Bulgarians, Spanish, Greeks, hardly claim anything from the social welfare system. Barely 10 percent of Spanish people in Berlin claim benefits, well below the 20 percent for all of Berlin. 
They do the work Berliners don't want to do?

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