There's hardly a day that goes by with German public news these days without some report or mention of Hartz IV (the German welfare program). A decade ago.....it was hyped a good bit by the news folks as a lousy program, but the general public didn't buy into the story or theme. In recent months.....the trend has reversed, and the public now believes Hartz IV is doomed and bound to be replaced.
The newest story? ARD (public German TV, Channel One) discussed the issues with young Germans affected by Hartz IV.
One in seven German kids under the age of 18 are dependent on Hartz IV, with the newest numbers or statistics that have come out.
Where the recent increase comes from? Well....they readily admit that the incoming number of migrants and refugees....which usually end up on Hartz IV....pumps up the recent increases. If you went back five years ago....before the migrant episode started up....it was one kid in eight who were in the welfare situation.
Using the German gov't numbers.....roughly two million German kids (under 18) were on Hartz IV at some point in 2017. It's a hefty number.
The gut feeling with most Germans is that Hartz IV is on some path in 2018 to be changed by the SPD Party (the ones who invented Hartz IV), and likely tossed/rebranded/redesigned. The new product for German welfare? Likely to have more cash infused into it, which means a tax issue by spring of 2019. This two to four extra billion that will be needed for the new brand name of German welfare? It'll have to come from the wealthy or middle-class.