If you watch German news daily....view the various topics on public chat forums on ZDF/ARD (the two public networks)...and read the various daily newspapers, you come to rate poverty in Germany as now being one of the top three political issues.
The blunt truth is that poverty in Germany over the past thirty years, has been a major topic and rarely if ever....disappears from public view. It might slip from number one to number six or eight....but it just never disappears as a major problem, and it usually returns to number one or two after a couple of years.
As an outsider, I have a different view of poverty than most Germans. I've traveled around the country and simply viewed the landscape, the public trends, acceptance, and political anxiety over solving this. In the minds of most intellectuals and politicians.....the fix is simple....just more money.
I go back to the core of this topic and offer the these four observations:
1. If you end up in some patchwork-family situation, with marginal parental leadership and guidance....you don't get coaching or advice on making wise decisions. As crappy decisions are made into a life-long path for your parents....you tend to follow the same path, and your kids will eventually follow your crappy path as well.
2. As much as the school system in Germany is often bragged about....if you don't latch on and hang tight....you won't get any real advantages out of the schooling system, and you will end up with some marginal job that pays just enough to survive. These people go for the next forty years....doing some marginal effort...just making enough to live, and then wake up at age sixty-five to realize their pension is barely enough to cover two-thirds of their needs....thus requiring some food charity to cover the rest.
3. As much as the social system will brag about their people, and the efforts they make to lift up troubled people....I don't give them much hype or grade them in a positive way. A lot of these people need eight hours a day of absolute coaching, with some kind of decision-making wisdom dumped upon them. You've got parents who just can't parent....stuck there with three kids....letting them roam freely and without any real guidance.
4. Finally, to the ghetto topic. Crowded inner-city lifestyles aren't working, and they serve more as a breeding ground for kids to latch onto other troubled kids as their best way ahead. You can go into Berlin, Frankfurt, or Hamburg and find various ghetto establishments....either starting to bloom, or in full bloom. In Kaiserslautern, I was surprised to find two single areas of town where a couple of buildings in each area was maintaining the status quo of ghetto family life. We aren't talking about one generation, or even two generations....but they were working on three generations.
So I opened up the ARD news pieces for today, and here is the new hot topic for the Berlin leadership....more money. Merkel, with the CDU-SPD team...will work to pour around twelve billion Euro over the next four years....mostly aimed at kid and child programs. Free Kita or child-care? To some degree, it'll happen.
Fixing the issues? By the time you figure the various programs, the manpower necessary, the buildings and structure cost...probably a quarter of the twelve billion will be eaten up. On paper, they applaud the efforts and maybe the journalists will go away for two years to allow the programs some breathing space. By 2021? Don't worry....all this chatter will return as the same issues remain.