Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The 750 Story

It doesn't get discussed much....at least with the common German.  The German news media might have mentioned it a couple of times in the past year, but it's rare.

After the September federal election in Germany....the Bundestag (the Congress) will reshape itself from 630 members....to 750 members. Additional cost?  Focus put up a piece today and suggested that the cost is around 120 million Euro more on the government.

The necessity to add on 120 extra members?  It's not something that is readily explained.  You can dig around through forty-odd news items and it's simply noted as something passed....without much discussion....and no one can stop this until after the 750 members are sitting.

For me, the curious question is where the extra 120 folks would sit in the 'big' room.  Journalists tend to say that enough seats can be added and the 750 will all fit into that massive room.  The office space required?  Well....that's another topic. The government will have to procure at least one significant-sized building and flip it into Bundestag member office space.

What is quietly said that various new committees will come out of this deal....which means more political chatter over new committees investigating topics in the name of fixing broken things.  What committees?  Unknown.  There'll probably be a committee on beer-purity.  They might even have one committee to just permanently truth-commission VW on diesel engines.

How did they arrive at the magic number of 750?  No one says that part of the story.  It's a nice round number and maybe Merkel just said that a couple of years ago and no one ever challenged it.

More representation for the citizens of Germany?  Well....yeah.  But most would tell you presently that the Berlin crowd are mostly out-of-touch with common regular Germans, as it is presently....so how would another 120 extra folks fix this?

The pay scale for Bundestag members?  It's just over the 9,000 Euro per month point.  Toss on travel pay, an allowance for quarters in Berlin, and a office allowance, and it's probably near 12,000 Euro a month for each member.

What I suspect will happen?  From 2017 to 2021 will be an awful long period, with continuing public frustration in Germany over various topics, and a desire for some massive change to likely come by 2021.  The Merkel-led government will not find any long list of solutions for the general public. Some political party (it won't be either the CDU or SPD) will make downsizing the Bundestag a major priority by 2021.  My guess is that they will suggest going to roughly 500 members.  And this suggestion will attract a number of voters.

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