Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Payment-in-Kind Story

Over the past week....the new German national rules have fallen into place over refugees and asylum-seekers, and there appears to be some hesitation by individuals states on how the rules will be implemented.

This got brought up this morning via ARD (state-run Channel One).

One of the big problems over the past year or two was the 'pocket-money' that was handed out to each individual who was in a waiting situation for their visa.  You are set to get roughly five Euro a day.....adding up to 145 Euro on average per month.  It's not exactly a big chunk of money.

The German government feeds and shelters you.  They generally provide laundry facilities and clothing.  So the money is intended for little things.....like newspapers, phone-cards, sodas, beer, railway tickets, candy, condoms, cigarettes, chewing gum, etc.

If you went to any German.....they'd tell you that 145 Euro a month wouldn't cut it for themselves.  By the time you figure up a cup of coffee, a pack of smokes per day (5.5 Euro), a newspaper, and maybe a late-afternoon candy bar....they've spent ten Euro a day easily.  Even German teens will tell you that they'd need 150 Euro a month minimum....for the various things in their lives.

What was complained about prior to the rule changes was that guys were pocketing the money....not spending it.....and sending it back to their homeland.  So the Germans got into the middle of this and wanted things 'fixed'.

So, now....you are supposed to get payment-in-kind....which mean no more cash.  For each state, this means some type of bureaucratic device has to be created and used....similar in some ways to 'chits' (WW II period) where a voucher was given to you to buy X number of things.

Stores might not have an issue with vouchers....but the device is not practical for buying bus or train tickers.  Berlin (the state) is discussing the idea of a special ticket just for refugees....costing thirty Euro a month and it'd just be deducted from your pocket-money sum.

Based on commentary....I'd say most German states are discussing how it'd work and it's another case where the Berlin leadership invented something that won't work nationally....but looks good on paper.

As for really limiting the refugees with how the money might be spent?  No.  If some 18-year-old Syrian guy wants to buy four cases of beer for the month with his money....he can still do so.  If some 40-year-old Nigerian gal wants to buy three cartons of smokes with her monthly money....she can do so.  The only limits I can see is virtually no brothel operation will accept 'payment-in-kind', and accumulating the money to save up....into the next month.....probably won't work with the way this is designed.

So, when you hear commentary within your German state over this refugee pocket money.....it's a Berlin-directed thing and your state leadership is frustrated over how to make it work.

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