I admire German political figures....because they usually do their homework, and when they pump out some new program idea.....they know the vast impact completely. There are rarely shockers where funding issues or limitations are later discovered....to the disadvantage of the German tax-payer.
So, this past week....some smart guys sat down and really poured over the new SPD idea of retirement at age 63 for the typical German worker. Over the past five months since the idea got tossed out there....most CDU and FDP political figures questioned the whole thing and how Germany could possibly afford a vast sum as they imagined.
From the public? Oh my....they got real peppy and excited over the idea of retiring two years earlier than the iron-clad rule of the past. There are tens of thousands of folks in a state of mind already geared toward this new and yet unapproved retirement plan.
So, the smart guys came to the gimmick. Basically.....it's a very small group of German workers that this would help or fall into play for. Yeah, the SPD guys did their research well ahead of time, and know that it's a small amount of tax revenue to make this happen.....yet, it'll be some successful policy agenda that they can brag about in the next election.
You see....part of the gimmick centers on when you were born. You had to be born before 1 January 1953, and now be sixty-three.....get into the first row of possible retirees. If you were born after that date....no special deal and you have to add two months more, for each year.
Based on the numbers that Focus (the German magazine) crunched....there's only twenty-three million Germans who got into the first row of possible players. But, then....there's a second factor which got tossed into the mess. A number of the twenty-three million.....are already retired. Ha! Focus says around 17.2 million. So they can't play this game.
Who is left? It's around five million (more or less).
Then, you get to the final factor....you had to have forty-five years of paying into the system. You can't count unemployment or sabbatical periods. No one has a clear picture of the numbers in this final filter....but I would imagine that the majority of Germans have at least one year of unemployment from older generation, and that means sixty-four would be the earliest they could retire.
How many make it through this final filter? No one in the media has those numbers. Only the government has access to the data and could talk in public about this, and they don't seem to be too talkative. I can only take an educated guess and humbly think it's around 300,000 Germans. Maybe even less than that.
Might all this pep and excitement in the German public sector over retirement at sixty-three.....affect just 300,000 of the eighty million? Yeah. Course, for the 300,000.....it's a big deal, and maybe you will celebrate with a big backyard bar-b-q for the friends and neighbors. The rest of them? They are sitting there on the balcony and wondering how they missed the filters on this early retirement deal.
So, hours and hours of forum chatter on German TV over this BIG issue.....with lots of experts talking over the limitations, or practical nature of early retirement, or the impending disaster for tax-payers. And now? It might just be a "little fart in the wind"? Yeah.