Friday, January 25, 2013

Taxes and Cuts

There's a meeting coming up next week....of an odd variety.  The German government....or I should say the people who fund the German government....have come to realize that it's spending a fair amount of money.  And of course, money doesn't grow on trees.  So there's a meeting to discuss various ways to save or cut on cost of the German government.

The attendees?  All of the significant political parties of the Bundestag (the Parliament).

Around the end of March....the cabinet officers of the current government....will meet up and present their budgets and announce the direction they are going.  The final decision on the budget?  Well....roughly a hundred days later....more or less.

As an American looking over at the German government budget's hard to see where any cuts would be accepted.  Generally....year after year....the military budget of Germany is cut, and everyone just agrees that various pieces and parts won't be funded much anymore.  Eventually, in a decade or so....the German military will be mostly a National Guard-like system, and never deploy outside of the country because they just don't have the resources.

At that point, it'll be rough going for budget cutters because their number one spot to cut....will be mostly gone, and then it'll have to go after the social issues.

Cutting on university cost is always disagreeable....because it makes the future look like the US system where kids all have to pay to attend, and you can't have that deal in Germany (so they say).

Cutting on road-building is always disagreeable....because Germans expect high-class roads, and the corruption of the political parties mostly funds itself off these road projects.

Cutting on social programs gets a large discussion going over how you are screwing the poor.

Cutting on refugee help usually gets everyone identified in support of such cuts as 'evil'.

So the budget guys typically retreat to some place....invent another tax layer (thinly transparent), and just agree that this isn't the year to make any significant cuts.

If it sounds like the US kinda works the same way.

If the German government wanted any advice from me....I'd personally advise to cut the TV tax guys down to five channels, and give them seven years to flip over to advertising their way to operational costs. It's a good thing that the tax guys never ask me for advice.

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