Monday, June 13, 2016

The German 'Pandora's' Box

I am forever consumed by history, consequences, and lessons learned.  They all fit in some manner into one clumsy package which most people would prefer to overlook or avoid pondering upon.  German history, European history, and American history all fit into this 'Pandora's box' which is usually left in the shadows and we avoid talking about things.

Looking back over the past three years in Germany, the immigration issues, the political spiral, the news media acting as fraudulent cheerleader, and a public trust shaken over apparent consequences.....I will note ten simple observations that most Germans don't really think much about or want to ask questions about.

1.  No matter what agency or statistical unit is doing the math.....the German public at present is at 81-million (more or less) and in roughly twenty-five years....they will be sitting at 65 to 68 million (more or less).  It doesn't matter if it's the government statistics office, some university, or some private foundation.....they all go and describe Germany in two decades as much smaller country.  The survival game?  It has no must allow immigration to occur (smart immigration, stupid immigration, troublesome immigration.....take your pick from the three).  No political figure, even the Chancellor, is willing to take ten minutes and really lay out some enormous gut-wrenching truth and slap 81 million German across the face a dozen times and just say it....because of your trend toward good birth control.....we are screwed, so like or not.....immigration is the only choice ahead.

2.  Go drive around the rural regions of Germany (any of the 16 states) and look at empty store-fronts, and what appears to be empty houses.  Thousand of communities in Germany are downsizing as each generation passes on.  The jobs aren't there, nor is that anything of 'civilization' that attracts younger folks to stay there.  The shift to urban is going on, and most rural areas over the next two decades will likely shift to half the population that they currently have.  Go and ask how recruitment drives are going for hiring teachers out in rural areas of Germany.  Go ask how banks, grocery stores and drug stores are decreasing their footprints in rural areas.  Some towns existed for 150 years with a bank, and suddenly now find themselves without a bank, and even the nearest ATM machine is couple of kilometers away now.

3.  The German state-run news media turned themselves into a puppet-like creature.....trying to be some pretender intellectual and craving the public support to go in one particular direction.  They seem shocked now that the public labels them as liars and notes some of their news productions as frauds.  The public even reaches the level now of questioning the monthly media-tax and the governing board over the state-run TV empire.  Oddly, the state-news folks consider themselves as being part of the nation itself and it would be unthinkable that they suddenly were told to downsize or correct their behavior.

4.  There is this odd law-driven way that Germany manages immigration.  There is one single federal office handling the paperwork.  But beyond that point....they are dumped on the doorsteps of each of the 16 states.  Each state has to figure some method of distribution, shelter, and care.  Some smart method of funding or running a national program?  No, that would mean the federal government would be running that, and they really don't want the responsibility.  So they sit and shuffle these people around, and each state cooks up their program.....which means they might fiscally responsible at 100-percent.....fiscally ill-planned to over-spend by 200-percent.....or work up some corrupted shelter deal at 300-percent the smart costs of doing the immigration care game.  If you ask the Berlin federal folks, they have no real idea of the actual day-to-day costs, and they barely have any idea of how many people are in the first part of the care-funnel or the last part of the care-funnel.  A million here, a billion'd expect some audit, but then no one wants to admit foolish mistakes costing tens of millions.

5.  If one wants to talk about immigration and significant numbers of new residents in Germany, then you have to talk affordable housing.  If you bring up the top twenty urban areas of Germany....virtually every single one has a significant problem in finding adequate housing at an affordable rate.  Note, ALL of this was known and discussed prior to 2013 when immigration started to become an issue.  When you address a dozen newly arrived immigrants and ask about where they want to go.....the answer is always an urban area with jobs.  So, where will the new immigrant find adequate affordable housing?  Yes, it is an amusing question to ask, and an amusing answer....they probably won't find affordable housing, unless they move 20 to 40 kilometers outside of these large urban areas.  Various political junkies sit around now and debate affordable housing....wanting to drag the government into various deals.....all lay the cost of such a move onto?  Well.....yeah.....the tax-payer.  Normal investment groups don't see trusting profits off funding and building affordable housing units.

6.  If you talk to ten Germans on will get ten different views.  If you talk to some intellectual or political generally get one single view (it's not a success but it's not a failure).  Hostility within German society brews over various immigrant groups.  Crime statistics are up, but it was up before 2013 and the big numbers achieved (1.1 million in 2015).  Cops will say it's driven by East European gangs working on a process-driven and smart agenda, and they need massive help to put it down.   German see two different views of the Muslim community.....with some able to blend in and be part of the community.....with others acting in a separate distinctive manner and likely never to be part of the community.  Schools handling this integration flow with kids?  The state-run news tells some positive stories.....some German teachers quietly on their own say that they are simply baby-sitting the kids and getting them to some level to dump on society.  The incoming crowd who are university educated and have a craft?  I think they will have the best of odds of making it in Germany.  The incoming crowd with no university degree and no craft?  Deemed appropriate to be burger-flippers and mower-operators....with the jobs at the bottom of the barrel.

7.  The cost factor?  Most Germans over the past six months have begun to ask stupid questions.  The general answer is that by'll be around 90-billion Euro spent.  By the Berlin talk, half will come from the federal government, and half from the states.  New taxes?  You'd think that they'd be talking about this but no, they merely slip around the topic.  So what they intend to just take money from various infrastructure plans, and try to make it for four years, with the pot as it is.  If more people arrive?  Well....that would be curious to ask about but it's usually avoided by state-run TV news and the political folks.  Can Germany slip 20-billion out each year for this cost?  Probably so.....they were crazy-stupid-enough to pay billions in waste for BER (the Berlin Airport) and 250-odd million for the Kassel Airport renovation, so maybe there's tons of waste that they can attack.

8.  The political one-sided animal.  In the midst of all this talk and frustration....Germans have come to realize that most of the political parties in the Bundestag....are hyped up and generally pro-immigration (CDU, SPD, Linke Party, Green Party) with the CSU leaning somewhat against the current agenda.  In the shadows rests the AfD Party, which is absolutely anti-immigration.  The chatter from the big-name parties and the state-run news media on the AfD?  It's mostly negative, hints of Nazi-this or Nazi-that, and skipping the topics which drove 20-percent of society toward the AfD.  To be kinda honest, the AfD isn't totally innocent and their slant on things might deserve more talk and consideration.....but then they don't have any real competition (they are like the one and only ice cream shop in Tucson and they can market their best cup at twice the regular price).  Various groups within the SPD, Linke Party and CDU are practically begging their leadership to find a more practical vision, limit immigrants, and wisely spend federal funds.  So far, their voices barely are heard.

9.  Most every country in Europe is exploring right-wing tendencies and openly hostile on numerous topics.  More than half of the German population have some fundamental issue with the EU (they won't condemn it but they really have some heartburn).  Most Germans hate the continuing saga with Greece and it's hour-by-hour bankruptcy tirade.  Most Germans have a negative view of Turkey.  Most Germans would list their woes and priorities in life.....quiet differently than the news media or intellectuals chat about.  There is a disconnect going on between the Germans in the heartland, and the federal political geeks in Berlin.

10.  So you come to the end of this whole consequence game.  Germans are awful clever people, at least they spend a fair amount of time trying to convince you of this wonderful trait that they have over everyone else.  Germans have spent centuries becoming some Germanic state that people from lands faraway.....have fantasized and dreamed of making it as their homeland.  If you wrote the formula down which has been used to create this Disneyland-like park.....there would be hundreds of thousands of codes written into this....some logical....some illogical....and it'd require you years and years of effort to grasp the fundamentals to this marvelous amusement park.  You come to this one odd part of the whole game of pondering......if the immigrants really sat down and analyzed the heck out of Germany, it's economy, it's cost of living, it's rules, it's politics, it's gimmicks.....then they compare it against 185-odd countries in existence, and rate it as one of the last countries that they'd want to waste a decade of their life trying to fit into it.  That's the silly part of this whole story.

Just something to think about.

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