German politicians are kinda like American politicians....they come in.....chat about the poor state of pay, and then vote themselves a payraise.
Today, it got passed, and it's official.....a new deal for members of the German Bundestag.
The old rate was 8252 Euro per month.....yeah, roughly $10,000 a month.
The new rate? 9,082 Euro per month....figure around $11,000 a month.
This all becomes necessary because of this high cost of living in Berlin. A guy just can't make it on $10,000 a month....having two residences...and enjoying the good life of Berlin. There's booze requirements, fancy dinners, lunches with French people, fine coffee with Italian movie makers, lusty and bodius ladies, the finest brats in the world, and cinema experiences with Swedish movies that cover....well....artsy stuff from Sweden.
It was apparently a tough sell for the Bundestag to pass this deal. Some felt there was just too much corruption going on....too many cop investigations....problems in life. So, there's a slight hook to the deal. If you are a Bundestag guy and get caught in a corruption deal (not kid x-rated stuff, or assault, or car theft, or drunken driving, or robbery).....just plain corruption....then you could get up to five years.
Course, no one said much.....because it means UP to five years. The odds are.....you wouldn't do more than three months in some state half-way house or just get prohibition. The news media will gloss over the deal. It's a fair amount of money.....but the big guys who cover the 8PM news for ZDF....are probably getting at least 7,000 Euro a month....so they won't feel it's a bad deal.
The little guy on the street? Well....that's different. Most Germans are hovering between 2,000 and 3,000 Euro a month. Most will say they aren't happy, but feel lucky that they have a job. Some will state the obvious....they haven't had but one raise in five years, and it was barely two percent.
The regular German will grumble about this.....talk about it at the pub. The bus drivers will agree. The trash collectors will agree. The baker will agree. Even the hookers will probably agree.
But, since they moved the whole government deal to Berlin.....you have to deal with real costs in the life style you lead. Nothing is cheap there. A simple studio apartment, with no balcony, no parking, and maybe 400 square feet, but near a S-bahn station...would cost you around 400 Euro. You want fancier digs....add on another three hundred Euro....and parking maybe seventy-five Euro. You want the upper side of town....fancy three-bedroom place....with a garage for two cars? You could be talking 3,500 Euro.
So, when the topic comes up, and your German associate gets peppy...you can understand why, and just buy him another beer to help him get over it.