Around twenty years ago....most Germans came to whine about welfare and the trend of "over-paying" welfare cases. Things got bad enough, that even the SPD agreed that things couldn't stay the same (it was a shock when liberals agree on stuff like this).
So they talked over the old system, and how things could be fixed. To be honest.....this talk took years. Around 2003, they finally came to an agreement. It would be slowly implemented, and in January of 2005....it'd be in full effect. The new name? Hartz IV (four).
The basic deal is that you get 394 Euro per adult in the family (figure roughly $480) per month, with housing (utility cost too) and medical covered in a separate deal. There's some extra money for kids, and there's a potential to get extra funding for things if you suddenly come up and admit drastic issues.
To be honest, it was a major cut, and for two or three years after implementing it.....the network news journalists and the newspapers thumped on the government officials big-time. People who'd been on long-term welfare woke up in a shock....realizing the cuts made and their lifestyle went down a big step. In some ways, as the government officials had predicted.....folks got bold and accepted employment....just to get out of this marginal hole they'd been in for years.
Well....this all comes up now....because a German court got dragged into a new debate with Hartz IV. You see....this Spanish family came into Germany.....the "freedom of borders" rule allows for this as folks seek better employment in the EU, and they couldn't find work. So they stayed.....walked up to the local welfare office, and asked for Hartz IV. Initally, they were turned down. Later, the court ordered the temp deal of allowance.
Now, the court has made a final ruling on this. The EU rule says you must provide for all within your state....if you provide regular plain welfare. This includes Spanish unemployed that show up, Italian unemployed that show, Greek unemployed that show up, and even Dutch unemployed that show up.
Naturally, you can guess the general feeling in Germany this morning as this ruling is read, and political folks get kind of hostile. They didn't build Hartz IV for non-Germans. They never envisioned it being used in such a manner, and kinda sit there.....pondering....just how big a problem is this going to become.
My humble guess is that a dozen political figures will sit down with welfare office officials.....and start to discuss some radical change. It won't happen in 2014, or even 2015. Discussions like this usually take a year to get the right idea put forward, and then a year or two of discussions.
Basically, welfare in Germany (I predict).....will come to an end by 2016. It'll end up being a rigged up deal where you must apply for a German-only public service job....which is mostly fake but you probably end pretending you work for eight to twenty hours a week. This is about the only way that you'd stop some flooding of two-hundred thousand unemployed Europeans crossing the border and asking for German welfare.
The big picture.....once you make a four-star gimmick that everyone thinks is great.....it usually attracts everyone to get in on the action. Sadly, it's like building a great Disneyland operation in your local town where residents get in for half-price. Later, a bunch of folks move into the town, demand the half-price deal, mostly all unemployed....and you wonder how the park and the town itself can sustain and survive.